The Prajna Paramita Sutra on the Buddha-Mother's Producing the Three Dharma Treasures, Spoken by the Buddha

Chapter 31: ~DHARMODGATA~

The Coming and the Going of Tathagatas

Dharmodgata: Tathagatas certainly do not come from anywhere, nor do these go anywhere. Suchness does not move, and Tathagata is Suchness. Non-production neither comes nor goes, and Tathagata is non-production. One can conceive of neither coming nor going of reality-limit, and Tathagata is reality-limit. This same can be said of emptiness, of anything which exists in according to facts, or of dispassion, of stopping, of element of space. Tathagata is not outside these dharmas. Suchness as these dharmas is Suchness as any and all dharmas, and Suchness as Tathagata is simply Suchness as any and all Tathagatas. Here is no division within Suchness. Simply before even one, throughout and after all is Suchness. Such is neither two, nor three, nor one divided into many. Suchness does not even pass beyond counting, as it can not be counted to begin with and thus certainly is here nothing to end with. Neither is Suchness one, nor other than one by which to determine any singularity, nor two nor three nor apart from these. Nothing of or by any concept whatsoever can Suchness relate to or be related to, yet Suchness is greatest of anything conceivable and infinitely beyond, even...'this'.

A man, scorched by the heat of summer, during the last month of summer [513], at noon might see a mirage floating along, and might run towards it, and think "here I shall find some water, here I shall find something to drink." What do you think, you children of good family, does this water come from anywhere, or does this water go anywhere, to or from the Eastern great ocean, or the Southern, Northern or Western?

Sadaprarudita: No water exists in this mirage. How can its coming or going be conceived? This man again is foolish and uninformed as, on seeing the mirage, he forms the idea of water, as here is no water. Water in its own being certainly does not exist in that mirage, any more than merely in his thought that it does.

Dharmodgata: Equally foolish are any and all these who adhere to Tathagatas through form and sound, and who in consequence imagine coming or going of any or all Tathagatas. A Tathagata can neither be seen nor determined from any form body. Dharma-bodies [Dharmakayas] are such Tathagatas, and the real nature of dharmas neither comes nor goes. Here is no real coming or going of the body of an elephant, horse, chariot or foot-soldier, tree or even a rock, which has been conjured up when magicians perform. Just so, here is neither coming nor going of Tathagatas which, as with all things, neither have any granting given nor even, any conjuring whatsoever. A sleeping person might in dreams see one Tathagata, or two, or three, or up to one thousand, or still more [514]. On waking up, however, they no longer see even one single Tathagata. What do you think, dear children of good family, have these Tathagatas come from anywhere, or gone to anywhere? As Tathagata means 'one thus gone', in this relative sense in so doing one cannot thus come. But, what's not too frequently understood, is that Tathagata also means 'one thus come', and likewise in so doing can one not be thus gone. Yet, such is this fact in principle and truth, that in, or as Suchness Tathagatas neither come nor go, at once within and throughout these three times...and at once here stand on naught but pure undifferentiated awareness as space outside of and through any and all dharmas. Such is this difference of purely equanimous stance the same as this fathomless station of all dharma.

Sadaprarudita: One cannot conceive as in any dream any dharma whatsoever as having the status of a full and perfect reality, for any dream is deceptive.

Dharmodgata: Just so Tathagatas teach all dharmas are as a dream. These who do not come to naturally and wisely know all dharmas as these really are, which is to say, as a dream, as Tathagata points out, these adhere to Tathagatas through their name-body and form-body, and in consequence these imagine Tathagatas come and go. These who in ignorance of true nature of dharmas imagine a coming OR going of Tathagatas, these are just foolish common people...not as yet diligent to truth, and presently as is as good as any and all times these belong to birth-and-death with six places of rebirth, and these are far from these revelations of perfection of wisdom, far away from dharmas of a Buddha - yet experience these dharmas within each and every breath, as close as pure life itself.

On the contrary, however, these who know all dharmas as a dream, i.e., as they really are, are in agreement with the teaching of Tathagata, these do not imagine the coming or going of any dharma, nor its production or stopping. These naturally know Tathagatas true nature, and do not imagine coming or going of Tathagatas. And these who naturally know true nature of Tathagata, these course near to full enlightenment and these course in this perfection of wisdom. These disciples of Lords do not consume alms fruitlessly, [515] and these are worthy of the world's results and dedications. The gems which are in the great ocean do not come from any place in the East, or West, or any other of the ten directions, but these owe existence to wholesome roots of beings. These are not produced without cause, or, are not without cause to be produced. Such simply manifest due to these causes and conditions. Yet still, as dependent on cause, condition and reason, these gems are coproduced and stopped by conditions, these do not pass on to any place anywhere in the world in any of the ten directions. And nevertheless, as these conditions exist, the gems are augmented; as these conditions are absent, no augmentation takes place. Just so the perfect body of Tathagatas does not come from any place anywhere in the ten directions, and it does not go to any place anywhere in the world with its ten directions. But the body of Buddhas and Lords is not without cause. It is brought to perfection by conduct and action in time, and it is produced dependent on causes and conditions, coproduced by subsidiaries, produced as result of karma done in this past. It is, however, not in any place anywhere in the world with its ten directions. But when these conditions exist, the accomplishment of the body takes place; when these conditions are absent, the accomplishment of the body is inconceivable.

As the sound of a boogharp is being produced, it does not come from anywhere. As it is stopped, it does not go anywhere, nor does it pass on to anywhere. But it is produced conditioned by this totality of causes and conditions for it to occur, -namely the boat-shaped hollow body of the harp, the parchment sounding board, the strings, the hollow arm of the boogharp, the bindings, the plectrum, the person who plays it, and this person's exertions and coming to knowledge of the music to be played thereon. [516] In this way this sound comes forth from the boogharp, dependent on causes, dependent on conditions. And yet that sound does not come forth from that hollow body of the harp, nor from the parchment sounding board, nor from the strings, nor from the hollow arm, nor from the bindings, nor from the plectrum, nor from the person who plays it, nor from this person's exertions OR knowledge. It is just the combination of all of these which makes the sound conceivable. And as it is stopped, the sound also does not go anywhere.

Just so the perfect body of Buddhas and Lords is dependent on causes, dependent on conditions, and it is brought to perfection through exertions which lead to many wholesome roots. But the augmenting of Buddha-body does not result from one single cause, nor from one single condition, nor from one single wholesome root. This is also not without cause. This is coproduced by a totality of many causes and conditions, but does not come from anywhere. So, also as this totality of causes and conditions cease to be, this does not go to anywhere. Thus is viewed the coming and going of Tathagatas, and this conforms to true nature of all dharmas. And it is just as this is naturally re-cognized as Tathagatas, and also all dharmas, are neither produced nor stopped, you are fixed on full enlightenment, and you definitely course in perfection of wisdom and in skill in means.

As this disquisition of the fact Tathagatas neither come nor go is being taught, the earth and the entire great trichiliocosm shakes in six ways, stirs, quakes, gets agitated, resounds and rumbles. And all the realms thought to be and seen as of Mara are stirred up and discomfited. All the grasses, shrubs, and herbs and trees in the great trichiliocosm bend in the direction of the Bodhisattva Dharmodgata. [517] Flowers come up out of season. From high up in the air a great rain of flowers comes down. And Sakra, Chief of Gods, and the Four Great Kings scatter and pour heavenly sandalwood powder and heavenly flowers over the Bodhisattva Dharmodgata, and say: "Well spoken, son of good family. Through your might we hear a sermon which issues from ultimate reality, which is contrary to the whole world, and which gives no ground to any beings which are established in any of the views which involve the assumption of an individuality, or have settled down in any of the views which assume the existence of something which is not."

Sadaprarudita now asks Dharmodgata: "What is the cause, what is the reason why this great earthquake is manifested in the world?"

Dharmodgata: In consequence of your asking for this disquisition on the non-coming and non-going of Tathagatas, and through my exposition of this, eight thousand living beings acquire patient acceptance of dharmas which fail to be produced, eighty niyutas of living beings raise their hearts to full enlightenment, and of sixty-four thousand living beings the dispassionate, unstained dharma-eye is purified for vision of dharmas.

Sadaprarudita's Self Sacrafice

The Bodhisattva Sadaprarudita now has a supreme, most sublime feeling of zest and joy: "It is a gain to me, a very great gain by asking for perfection of wisdom, and for this disquisition, I have wrought the weal of so many beings. [518] This alone brings me merit sufficient for the accomplishment of full enlightenment. Unquestionably I become a Tathagata." In his zest and joy he rose seven palm trees high into the air, and, standing at the height of seven palm trees, he reflected: "How can I, standing here in the air, do honor to the Bodhisattva Dharmodgata?" Sakra, Chief of Gods, now sees him, and reads his thoughts, presents him with heavenly Mandarava flowers, and says to him: "Honor the Bodhisattva Dharmodgata with these heavenly flowers! For we feel in this we honor the man who helps you. Today your might wroughts the weal of many thousands of living beings. Rare are the beings who, like you, have the strength, for the sake of all beings through countless aeons to bear such great burden."

The Bodhisattva Sadaprarudita now takes the Mandarava flowers from Sakra, Chief of Gods, and scatters these over the Bodhisattva Dharmodgata. He presents the Bodhisattva Dharmodgata with his own body, and said to him: "I give you myself as a present, and I am your attendant and servant from today onwards." And with hands together he stands before Dharmodgata. [519] The merchant's daughter and her five hundred maidens said to the Bodhisattva Sadaprarudita: "We in our turn make a present of ourselves to you, son of good family. Through this wholesome root we also become recipients of just these dharmas, and together with you we again and again honor and revere the Buddhas and Lords, and the Bodhisattvas, and we remain near to you." Sadaprarudita replied: "As you, maidens, in accordance with my own earnest intention, give yourselves with earnest intention to me, I accept you." The maidens replied: "We are in accord with you, and with earnest resolution we give ourselves as presents to you, to do with us as you may." Here and now the Bodhisattva Sadaprarudita presented the merchant's daughter and her five hundred maidens, embellished and adorned, together with their five hundred well-decorated carriages, to the Bodhisattva Dharmodgata, and said: "All these I present to you as attendants and servants, and also the carriages for your own use." Sakra, Chief of Gods, applauded him and said: "Well done, son of good family! A Bodhisattva renounces any and all property. Through this thought of renunciation one soon realizes full enlightenment, and the worship one pays thus to exponents and preachers of Dharma enables one to hear about perfection of wisdom and skill in means. [520] Also in these three times Tathagatas, as these still are Bodhisattvas, do, by this fact these renounce everything, procure a claim to realization of full enlightenment; and these also ask questions about perfect wisdom and about skill in means." The Bodhisattva Dharmodgata accepted Sadaprarudita's gift, so his wholesome root might reach fulfillment. Immediately afterwards he returned this to Sadaprarudita. After this all, now the Bodhisattva Dharmodgata goes into his house. The sun is about to set.

The Bodhisattva Sadaprarudita thinks to himself: "It does not indeed appear seemly for me, who comes here out of love for dharma, to sit or to lie down. I remain either standing or walking, until the Bodhisattva Dharmodgata again comes out of his house, in order to reveal dharma to us."

The Bodhisattva Dharmodgata remains for seven years immersed in one uninterrupted state of trance, and he dwelt in countless thousands of concentrations, peculiar to Bodhisattvas, which issue from perfection of wisdom and skill in means. For seven years Sadaprarudita adopted any other posture than sitting or lying down, and he did not fall into sloth and torpor. For seven years he never feels any preoccupation with sense desires, or with ill will, or with harming others, he never feels any eagerness for tastes, or any self-satisfaction. But he thinks: "When does the Bodhisattva Dharmodgata emerge from his trance, [521] so we may spread out a seat for him, and hereon he may demonstrate dharma, and so we may sprinkle well the place he reveals perfection of wisdom and skill in means, anoint this well and bedeck it with manifold flowers?" And the merchant's daughter with her five hundred maidens follow this example, pass their time in two postures only, and accorded with all his works.

One day Bodhisattva Sadaprarudita heard a heavenly voice which said: "On the seventh day from today the Bodhisattva Dharmodgata emerges from his trance, and he at this time, seated in the center of the town, demonstrates dharma." As Sadaprarudita hears the heavenly voice, he is contented, elated, joyous, overjoyed and jubilant. Together with the merchant's daughter and her five hundred maidens he cleans the ground, spreads out the seat made of the seven precious things, takes off his upper garment, and spreads it on top of the seat. The maidens also took off their upper garments, spread their five hundred upper garments on this seat, and thought: "Seated on this seat the Bodhisattva Dharmodgata demonstrates dharma." [522] And these also are contented, elated, joyous, overjoyed and jubilant.

As the Bodhisattva Sadaprarudita wanted to sprinkle the ground he can not find any water, though he searched all round. For Mara, the Evil One, was thought to and therefore seen to have hidden all the water. And he did this so Sadaprarudita, as he can not find any water, becomes depressed and sad, or change his mind, with the result his wholesome root may vanish, or the fervor of this worship be dimmed. The Bodhisattva Sadaprarudita now thinks to himself: "Let me pierce my own body, and sprinkle the ground with my blood. The ground is full of rising dust, and I fear some of it may fall on the body of the Bodhisattva Dharmodgata. What else can I do with this body which is of necessity doomed to break up? Better surely this my body be destroyed by such an action rather than by an ineffectual one. For the sake of sense pleasures, as a result of sense pleasures many thousands frames of mine again and again, while I wandered in birth-and-death, break up, but never in conditions as favorable as these, never for the sake of gaining the good law. As these once more be broken up, let these in any case be broken up in a holy cause." He [523] took a sharp sword, pierced his body on every side, and everywhere sprinkled any piece of ground with his own blood. The merchant's daughter with her five hundred maidens followed his example, and did as he did. But here is no alteration of thought in either the Bodhisattva Sadaprarudita, or in all these maidens, which gives what's seen and thought of as Mara, the Evil One, a chance of entering in order to obstruct these wholesome roots.

Sakra, Chief of Gods, thinks to himself: "It is wonderful how this Bodhisattva Sadaprarudita loves dharma, how firm his sense of obligation, how great this armor he has put on, and how he disregards this body, this life, and these pleasures, and how resolutely he sets out with the goal of knowing full enlightenment, in his aspiration to set free any and all beings from measureless sufferings of birth-and-death, once he knows full enlightenment." Sakra now changes by magic all this blood into heavenly sandalwood water. And all round this piece of ground, for one hundred leagues, an inconceivable sublime scent, the scent of the heavenly sandalwood water, filled the air. And Sakra said to Sadaprarudita: "Well done, son of good family! I applaud your inconceivable vigor, your supreme love and search for dharma. The Tathagatas in this past [524] also procure the right to full enlightenment through this kind of earnest intention, vigor, and love for dharma."

The Bodhisattva Sadaprarudita now thinks to himself: "I spread out the seat for the Bodhisattva Dharmodgata, and I swept and sprinkled this piece of ground. Now I must still get flowers with which to cover this peace of ground, and to scatter over the Bodhisattva Dharmodgata as he demonstrates dharma." Sakra now says to Sadaprarudita: "Accept these heavenly Mandarava flowers for this twofold purpose!" And he presented him with a thousand heavenly Khara measures of heavenly flowers. And the Bodhisattva Sadaprarudita accepted these flowers, and used some of them to cover the piece of ground, and, later on, he strewed others over the Bodhisattva Dharmodgata.

Dharmodgata's Demonstration of Dharma

At the lapse of seven years the Bodhisattva Dharmodgata emerges from his trance, goes up to the seat spread out for him, sits down on this, and, surrounded and attended by an assembly of many hundreds of thousands, he demonstrates dharma. The moment the Bodhisattva Sadaprarudita [525] sees the Bodhisattva Dharmodgata, he is filled with a kind of happiness which a monk feels as, with one-pointed attention, he obtains the first trance. And this is the demonstration of the perfection of wisdom by the Bodhisattva Dharmodgata:

"The perfection of wisdom is self-identical and as such, any and all dharmas are same. Perfect wisdom is isolated and as such, any and all dharmas are isolated. Perfect wisdom is immobile and as such, any and all dharmas are immobile. Perfect wisdom is devoid of mental acts and as such, any and all dharmas are devoid of mental acts. Perfect wisdom is unbenumbed and as such, any and all dharmas are unbenumbed. Perfect wisdom has but one single taste and as such, any and all dharmas have one and the same taste. Perfect wisdom is boundless and as such, any and all dharmas are boundless. Perfect wisdom is non-produced and as such, any and all dharmas are non-produced. Perfect wisdom is non-stopping and as such, all dharmas are not stopped. As firmament is boundless, so perfect wisdom. As the ocean is boundless, so perfect wisdom. As Meru shines in multicolored brilliance, so does perfection of wisdom. As firmament is not fashioned, so perfect wisdom is not fashioned. Perfect wisdom is boundless, and as such form, and the other skandhas are boundless. Perfect wisdom is boundless and as such, the element of earth, and the other elements, are boundless. Perfect wisdom is self-identical, and as such, the adamantine dharma is self-identical. Perfect wisdom is undifferentiated and as such, all dharmas are undifferentiated. Non-apprehension of perfect wisdom follows from non-apprehension of all dharmas. Perfect wisdom remains the same regardless of whatever or whoever this may appear to surpass and as such all dharmas remain the same regardless of whatever or whoever these may surpass. [526] Perfect wisdom is powerless to act and as such all dharmas are powerless to act. Perfect wisdom is unthinkable and as such, all dharmas are unthinkable."

Here and now on this occasion is born in the Bodhisattva Sadaprarudita the king of concentrations called "sameness of any and all dharmas," and, consequent on this, the concentrations called "isolation of any and all dharmas," "immobility of any and all dharmas," "absence of any and all mental acts in any and all dharmas," "lack of numbness in any and all dharmas," "the one taste of any and all dharmas," "boundlessness of any and all dharmas," "boundless like firmament," "boundless like the ocean," "brilliant and multicolored like Meru," "not fashioned, like firmament," "boundless like form, etc.," "boundless like the element of earth, etc.," "adamantine," "non-differentiatedness of any and all dharmas," "non-apprehension of any and all dharmas," "sameness of any and all dharmas whatever these may surpass," "any and all dharmas are powerless to act," "any and all dharmas are unthinkable." Beginning with these, the Bodhisattva Sadaprarudita acquired six million concentration doors.

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