Samdhinirmocana Sutra Sutra of Unlocking the Mysteries Part 7C and 8


Samdhinirmocana Sutra 

Sutra of Unlocking the Mysteries



Avalokiteshvara asked, "How many kinds of stupefaction from afflictions can occur in these stages?"


The Buddha replied, "In brief, there are three. First are stupefactions that lose their partners. This occurs in the first five stages. Why? Active expressions of non-congenital afflictions are partners of the active expressions of congenital afflictions; since they cease to exist during that time, they are called stupefactions that lose their partners.


"Second are weak stupefactions. This refers to the minute active expressions of afflictions in the sixth and seventh stages, because they will not be expressed in action if you practice quelling them.


"Third are subtle stupefactions. This refers to the eighth stage up, where afflictions are not actively expressed, but there is still the barrier of knowledge as a basis."


Avalokiteshvara asked, "By ending how many kinds of gross materialism are these stupefactions revealed?"


The Buddha replied, "Just two kinds. The first two are revealed by ending gross materialism in the skin; the third is revealed by ending gross materialism in the flesh. If one ends gross materialism in the bones, I say that one has forever left the realm of stupefaction and is in the stage of Buddha hood."


Avalokiteshvara asked, "How many incalculable eons does it take to end this kind of grossness?"


The Buddha replied, "Three incalculable eons, or infinite eons. That is because the eons in the years, months, fortnights, days, nights, hours, minutes, seconds, and moments cannot be counted."


Avalokiteshvara asked, "What are the characteristics, what are the faults, what are the merits of the afflictions aroused by enlightening beings in each stage?"


The Buddha replied, "The characteristic is non-defiling. Why? The enlightening beings have certainly understood the spiritual realm of all principles in the first stage, and so they must arouse afflictions knowingly, not because of ignorance. Therefore the characteristic of the afflictions is said to be non-defiling. Because the afflictions cannot cause pain to the enlightening beings themselves, they have no fault. Enlightening beings arouse such afflictions as will be able to stop the causes of suffering among sentient beings; therefore they have immeasurable merits."


Avalokiteshvara said, "It is wonderful how great the virtues and benefits of supreme enlightenment are, that enlightening beings may arouse afflictions and yet surpass the goodness of all people and individual saints, to say nothing of their other countless virtues."


Avalokiteshvara also asked the Buddha, "You say the vehicle of disciples and the great vehicle are just one vehicle. What is the secret meaning behind this?"


The Buddha replied, "In the vehicle of disciples, I explain the nature of various things, such as the five clusters, the inner six sense faculties, the outer six sense data, and so on. In the great vehicle, I say those things are one and the same reality realm, with one and the same innermost meaning. Therefore I do not say the vehicles are different.


"Yet there may be those who develop a mistaken notion of the meaning according to the words, so that one vehicle is aggrandized and one is diminished. Such people also think the different principles of the vehicles are mutually contradictory, and they argue among themselves more and more. That is the secret meaning behind this."


Then, to recapitulate, the Buddha spoke these verses:


The contents of the stages, and what is to be cured,

Higher developments, undertakings, and learning:

Cultivating the will based on the great vehicle

Expounded by Buddha results in great awakening.

I explain the variety of phenomena,

And also say their innermost meaning is one,

Whether in lower or higher vehicle;

So I say the vehicles have no difference.

If you make up false literalist notions of the meaning,

Aggrandizing or diminishing,

Saying the greater and lesser vehicles are opposed,

This ignorant interpretation produces conflict.


Then the enlightening being Avalokiteshvara asked the Buddha, "Within this teaching of unraveling of mysteries, what should this teaching be called? How should I uphold it?"


The Buddha replied, "This is called the definitive teaching of the transcendent ways of the stages, and you should uphold this teaching of the definitive meaning of the transcendent ways of the stages of enlightening beings."


When this teaching was spoken, there were seventy-five thousand enlightening beings in the audience who attained absorption in the light of the great vehicle of enlightening beings.


8. Deeds of the Enlightened


Then the great enlightening beings Manjushri, the Glorious One, said to the Buddha, "You speak of the reality body of the enlightened who have arrived at thusness. What are the characteristics of the reality body?"


The Buddha said, "Thoroughly cultivating the transcendent ways in the stages of enlightening, attaining emancipation, transformation of the mental basis and completion. These are called characteristics of the reality body of the enlightened.


"These characteristics are inconceivable for two reasons; because of absence of false conceptions and because nothing is fabricated. And yet people think up false conceptions of something created and cling to them."


Manjushri asked, "Is the transformation of the mental basis that is attained by hearers and individual illuminates called the reality body?"


The Buddha said, "No."


Manjushri asked, "What body is it called?"


The Buddha replied, "The body of liberation. All hearers and individual illuminates are said to be equal to the Buddha’s in terms of the body of liberation. In terms of the reality body, they are said to be different. The reality body of Buddha’s is different by the most excellent difference of infinite qualities, which are beyond counting, or even approximation by simile."


Manjushri also asked the Buddha, "How should we know the characteristics of the origination of the enlightened?"


The Buddha replied, "The works of the emanated bodies of all Buddha’s are like the world producing all species. The characteristics thereof are adornment and maintenance by the myriad qualities of the enlightened. You should realize that the characteristics of the emanated body have origination, but the characteristics of the reality body have no origination."


Manjushri asked, "How should we know the skill in means of manifesting emanated bodies?"


The Buddha replied, "Being conceived simultaneously in a royal or noble family in all Buddha-lands in all universes, being born, growing up, experiencing pleasures, leaving home, sharing ascetic practices, giving up ascetic practices, and attaining true enlightenment are manifested in succession. This is called the Buddha’s skill in means of manifesting emanated bodies."


Manjushri asked, "How many kinds of different speech sounds are held by the body of all Buddha’s, by which words the immature people they teach are matured, while those who are already mature quickly attain liberation by focusing on them?"


The Buddha replied, "There are three kinds of words of Buddha’s. One kind is scripture. Second is discipline. Third is the mother."


Manjushri asked, "What are scripture, discipline, and the mother?"


The Buddha replied, "When I reveal teachings regarding what is so, based on what will help people, this is called scripture. This may be based on four things, on nine things, or on twenty-nine things.


"What are the four things? First is listening. Second is taking it to heart. Third is putting it into practice. Fourth is enlightenment.


"What are the nine things? Defining people, defining their experience, defining their origin, defining their life after birth, defining their defilement and purity, defining their differences, defining the explainer, defining the explained, defining the assemblies.


"What are the twenty-nine things? Based on contamination, there are ingrained actions. These go on one after another. Then one thinks of this as a person, and this becomes a cause of future routines. Conceiving notions of phenomena, these become a cause of future routines. Based on what is pure, there is focus on objects of meditation. One then works diligently on this. The mind is then at peace. One experiences well-being in the present life. There are techniques of transcending all causes of misery. There are three ways of knowing these thoroughly: based on thorough knowledge of error; based on thorough knowledge of wrong actions; based on thorough knowledge of inner removal of conceit. Practicing these bases leads to experience of realization; cultivation leads to stabilization. There are appropriate modes of practice for that, with appropriate points of focus. This involves skill in observing what has been stopped and what has not, skill in observing confusion and distraction, ability to avoid confusion and distraction, and knowledge of the basis of non-distraction. There is intense application of effort in practice, leading to the benefits of practice, which produce steadfastness, embodiment of sagacious conduct, and embodiment of the accompaniments of sagacious conduct. Ultimately there is arrival at reality, realization of nirvana, and correct insight into the world through proper guidance, the peak of correct insight, beyond that attained by all outsiders. There is also regression caused by not practicing this, regression that is so called because of not practicing the right teaching, not because of a fault in the insight.


"The indications of specific proscriptions and the rules associated with specific proscriptions applying to disciples and enlightening beings are called discipline."


Manjushri asked, "How many aspects of the specific prohibitions for enlightening beings are there?"


The Buddha replied, "There are seven. First is explaining the guidelines to be accepted. Second is explaining the advantages of following them. Third is explaining things that tend toward transgression. Fourth is explaining the nature of transgression. Fifth is explaining the nature of non-transgression. Sixth is explaining how to get away from transgression. Seventh is explaining the relinquishment of rules of behavior."


The Buddha continued, "When I define, analyze, and illustrate things in terms of eleven kinds of characteristics, this is called the mother. What are these eleven kinds of characteristics? The first kind is the characteristics of mundane convention. The second kind is the characteristics of ultimate truth. The third kind is the characteristics of the points of focus of the elements of enlightenment. The fourth kind is the characteristics of practice. The fifth kind is the characteristics of identity. The sixth kind is the characteristics of effects. The seventh kind is the characteristics of reception of teaching. The eighth kind is the characteristics of obstacles to the teaching. The ninth kind is characteristics of accord with the teaching. The tenth kind is characteristics of ills. The eleventh kind is characteristics of benefits attained.


"There are three kinds of characteristics of mundane convention. First is speaking in terms of personality. Second is speaking in terms of conceptualized identities. Third is speaking in terms of the functions of phenomena.


"The characteristics of ultimate truth refer to the seven suchnesses, or seven kinds of thusness.


"The characteristics of the points of focus of the elements of enlightenment refer to all kinds of objects of knowledge.


"The characteristics of practice refer to eight practices of contemplation: contemplation of real truth, contemplation of construction, contemplation of faults, contemplation of virtues, contemplation of principles, contemplation of routines, contemplation of reason, and contemplation of totality and distinction.


"Real truth means the true thusness of all things.


"Construction means setting up the personality, or setting up the conceptualized identities of things, or setting up all-embracing answers, particularized answers, answers made after returning a question, and answering by not answering, or setting up the difference between covert and overt predictions of enlightenment.


"Faults refer to the various defiled states of which I speak, which have innumerable different ills.


"Virtues refer to the various pure states of which I speak, which have innumerable different benefits.


"Principles are of six kinds: principles of true meaning, principles of realization, principles of teaching and guidance, principles of avoiding extremes, principles of inconceivability, and principles of intended meaning.


"Routines refer to the becoming, subsistence, and decay of what is created in past, present, and future, as well as the causal conditions, successive conditions, conditioning conditions, and dominant conditions.


"Reason is of four kinds: the reason of relativity, the reason of function, the reason of realization, and the reason of natural law.


"The reason of relativity means the causes or conditions by which one can produce practices and corresponding explanations.


"The reason of function means the causes or conditions by which one can apprehend things, or deal with them, or put them to use once they have arisen.


"The reason of realization means the causes or conditions by which one can establish the principles that have been set up, explained, and proposed so as to affect correct awakening.


"This latter reason is also of two general kinds, pure and impure. It is called pure based on five characteristics, and called impure based on seven characteristics.


"What are the five characteristics based on which it is called pure? First is apprehension by direct witness. Second is apprehension based on direct witness. Third is deduction by analogy. Fourth is complete truthfulness. Fifth is true purity of teaching.


"Apprehension by direct witness refers to the impermanence of all conditioned things, the suffering inherent in all conditioned states, and the identitylessness, or selflessness, of all phenomena. These are apprehended by direct experience in the world. This sort of thing is called that which is apprehended by direct witness.


"That which is apprehended based on direct witness refers to such things as the instantaneousness of all that happens, the existence of other worlds, and the nondisappearance of pure and impure deeds. Those things which cannot be actually seen but can be deduced are said to be apprehended based on direct witness, because they can be seen by way of crude impermanence, because the various differences in people can be found to be due to their various actions, and because it can be found that the happiness or misery of people is based on their pure or impure deeds.


"That which is deduced by analogy means drawing on birth and death, which are common knowledge, from among the assemblages of inner and outer patterns, drawing on commonly known and experienced focus of lack of freedom as analogies, and drawing on commonly known and experienced external deterioration and growth as analogies.


"Complete truthfulness means positive ability to establish what is affirmed, whether by direct witness, based on direct witness, or by analogy.


"The truly pure Teaching refers to what is said by the omniscient one, such as that nirvana is ultimate peace.


"Skillful examination of pure reason is so called on the basis of these five characteristics. Because it is pure, it should be put into practice."


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