The Dharma-body Has No Marks Chapter 26
"Subhuti, what do you think? Can one contemplate the Tathagata by means of the thirty-two marks?" Subhuti said, "So it is, so it is, World Honored One: One can contemplate the Tathagata by means of the thirty-two marks." The Buddha said, "Subhuti, if one could contemplate the Tathagata by means of the thirty-two marks, then a Wheelturning Sage King would be a Tathagata." Subhuti said to the Buddha, "World Honored One, as I understand what the Buddha has said, one should not contemplate the Tathagata by means of the thirty-two marks." At that time the World Honored One spoke a gatha which said, "If one seeks me in forms, if one seeks me in sounds, he practices a deviant way, and cannot see the Tathagata."
Shakyamuni Buddha asked Subhuti, "Can one contemplate the Tathagata merely by means of the thirty-two marks?" Previously the Buddha had asked Subhuti if one could "see" the Tathagata by means of the thirty-two marks. Then at this point he asked if one could
contemplate the Tathagata by means of them. Seeing is a function of the eyes, whereas contemplation is a function of the mind. Subhuti was entangled in that distinction and so he replied, "Yes, one can contemplate the Tathagata's Dharma-body by means of the thirty-two marks."
But the Buddha pointed out that a Wheel-turning Sage King also possesses the thirty-two marks, and so he, too, should be a Buddha. Actually, a Wheel-turning King's thirty-two marks are slightly less distinct than a Buddha's. People with the five eyes and six spiritual penetrations can distinguish the difference. But since ordinary people cannot, to say that ordinary people can see the Tathagata by means of the thirty-two marks means that they would also see a Wheel-turning King as a Buddha.
After Subhuti heard the Buddha's explanation he replied,
"As I understand what the Buddha has said, one cannot see or contemplate the Tathagata by means of the thirty-two marks."
Shakyamuni Buddha then spoke a verse for Subhuti:
If one sees me in form means there may be people who see the thirty-two physical marks and think they are seeing the Buddha himself.
If one seeks me in sound means that there may be those who take the Four Modes of Eloquence and the Eight Voices as being the Tathagata.
He practices a deviant way, and cannot see the Tathagata. The deviant path of grasping at the sight or the sound of the Buddha leads on into the extreme of clinging to conditioned existence. When one is not in accord with the Middle Way, one cannot see the Tathagata. The
Avatamsaka Sutra says: "Response and transformation are not the true Buddha." The thirty-two marks belong to the response and transformation bodies, and certainly not to the Buddha's Dharma-body. One who holds to nihilism views everything as doomed to perish. One who holds to permanence views everything as eternal. Both views are biased and are not the Middle Way. If one seeks the Tathagata's Dharma-body by some path other than the Middle Way, it will be impossible to find it.
Once Mahamaudgalyayana wanted to see how far the Buddha's voice carried, so he used his spiritual penetrations and went as far East as he could. He passed through thousands of ten thousands of millions of Buddha-lands－70,000 times farther than a rocket can go in space. Even when he had traveled that great distance, the Buddha's voice was still as clear as if he were speaking Dharma right in Mahamaudgalyayana's ear. That is a case of searching for the Buddha in sound.
Neither Cut Off Nor Extinguished Chapter 27
"Subhuti, you may have the thought that the Tathagata did not attain Anuttarasamyaksambodhi by means of the perfection of marks. Subhuti, do not think that the Tathagata did not attain Anuttarasamyaksambodhi by means of the perfection of marks. Subhuti, you should not think that those who have resolved their hearts on Anuttarasamyaksambodhi affirm the cessation of all Dharmas. Do not have that thought. And why? Those who have resolved their hearts on Anuttarasamyaksambodhi do not affirm the cessation of marks.
To say that Anuttarasamyaksamdodhi is the cessation of all Dcarmas is to fall into the extreme view of nihilism.
This section of text was spoken for people who, after hearing that one cannot contemplate the Tathagata by means of the thirty-two marks, might wonder how the Buddha attained Anuttarasamyaksambodhi. To think that the Tathagata did not use the perfection of blessings and virtue to attain the Unsurpassed, Proper, and Equal, Right Enlightenment is incorrect. The Buddha admonished Subhuti to be careful not to think in that way.
And why? If Anuttarasamyaksambodhi were the cessation of marks, that would mean that the Tathagata, although devoid of complete blessings, complete wisdom, and devoid of the perfection of marks, attained Anuttarasamyaksambodhi. To say that Anuttarasamyaksambodhi is the cessation of all Dharmas is to fall into the extreme view of nihilism. One who has resolved his heart on Anuttarasamyaksambodhi always affirms the ultimate meaning of the Middle Way. He does not assert the view of nihilism or the view of permanence. The views of nihilism and permanence are not the Buddhadharma, and anyone not in accord with the Buddhadharma cannot realize Buddhahood. So cultivators of the Buddhadharma should understand the Middle Way, and not maintain extreme views.
No Reception and No Greed Chapter 28
"Subhuti, a Bodhisattva might fill world systems equal to Ganges River's sands with the seven precious gems and give them as a gift. But if another person were to know that all dharmas are devoid of self and accomplish patience, that Bodhisattva's merit and virtue would surpass that of the previous Bodhisattva. And why? Subhuti, it is because Bodhisattvas do not receive blessings and virtue." Subhuti said to Buddha, "World Honored One, how is it that Bodhisattvas do not receive blessings and virtue?" "Subhuti, since Bodhisattvas cannot be greedily attached to the blessings and virtue which they foster, they are said not to receive blessings and virtue."
But if another person were to know that all dharmas are devoid of self ... all dharmas include all Buddhadharmas. In general, they include the four truths, the twelve causal conditions, the six paramitas, the six faculties, the six sense-objects, the twelve places, and the eighteen realms. If someone knows those various dharmas are devoid of self, he does not attach to the marks of self or of things, for he knows that both persons and dharmas are devoid of self. With no attachment to self and no attachment to dharmas, the attachment to emptiness also disappears. At that time he accomplishes the patience when dharmas no longer arise. In certifying to the patience of the non-arising of dharmas, one does not see the smallest dharma produced or destroyed throughout the three realms. Although such patience can be experienced, it cannot be described.
If you do not see even the smallest dharma produced and do not see even the smallest dharma extinguished, does that mean there are no dharmas? That is correct. Originally there are no dharmas. But no dharmas still includes all dharmas. Words cannot express what is referred to by the patience when dharmas no longer arise. The phrase,
To know that all dharmas are devoid of self and accomplish patience is the most important point made in the
Why does a Bodhisattva, merely by knowing all dharmas have no self and by realizing patience, have more merit and virtue than the Bodhisattva who gives vast amounts of wealth?
It is because Bodhisattvas do not receive blessings and virtue. In other words, Bodhisattvas neither attach to receiving blessings and virtue, nor do they attach to not having blessings and virtue. It is not necessary for acts which generate blessings and virtue done by a Bodhisattva to have form or appearance. A Bodhisattva should not greedily become attached and say "I fostered these blessings. I did that virtuous deed." He should not have such attachments. When a Bodhisattva is not attached to anything, what is there to receive or not receive? In fact there is no reception or absence of reception. So the Sutra says,
"Bodhisattvas do not receive blessings."
The Stillness of the Awesome Manner Chapter 29
"Subhuti, if someone were to say the Tathagata either comes or goes, either sits or lies down, that person would not understand the meaning of my teaching. And why? The Tathagata does not come from anywhere, nor does he go anywhere. Therefore he is called the Tathagata."
After having spoken the previous section of the text, Shakyamuni Buddha realized people might have doubts and become attached to the marks of the Tathagata's comings and goings. Therefore he said to Subhuti,
"If someone were to say the Tathagata either comes or goes , either sits or lies down, that person would not understand the meaning of my teaching." It seems as if the Tathagata, the Thus Come One, comes and goes but the coming and going is only illusory. Anyone who really thinks he comes or goes has failed to understand the principle the Buddha teaches. The Tathagata has no place from which he comes and no place to which he goes; therefore he is called the Thus Come One. That means the Buddha's Dharma-body neither dwells nor does not dwell. It pervades all places. If it fills all places, from where would it come? Since it fills all places, to where could it go? Therefore it is said not to dwell and not
not to dwell.
If you understand the Buddhadharma, the mountains, rivers, and the planet itself are all the Tathagata's Dharma-body. If you do not understand, you see the Tathagata but do not recognize him. If you understand the Buddhadharma, you can recognize the Buddha without even having seen him, and once you recognize the Tathagata, it is the very best to rely on the Dharma to cultivate. If you don't recognize the Tathagata and do not even know what the Buddha is all about, how can you study the Buddha? To fail to recognize yet to proceed to study is called "the blind leading the blind." If you are blind you may make a mistake and choose to follow someone who is also blind. Although your leader realizes that he himself is blind, he may want to be followed and so pretends he can see. The two of you then fumble along, running hither and yon, until eventually you both fall into the sea and are drowned. It is essential from the start to recognize the Buddhadharma and to understand how to cultivate. Then you can truly study.
When you understand the Buddhadharma, you can rely on the Dharma to cultivate and realize Buddhahood. If you follow a Dharma-door of an external way, you will only be led further and further away. The further away you go the harder it is to return; and because you cannot return to the origin, a very grave danger arises.
The Thus Come One does not come or go;
Therefore he is called the Tathagata. "Thus"
(Tatha) means non-movement. "Come" ([A]
Gata) means movement. Movement and stillness are one identical suchness. Movement does not obstruct stillness; stillness does not obstruct movement. That means in cultivating the Way you can investigate Dhyana while moving about. From morning til night in all comportments, walking, standing, sitting, and lying down, you can do the work of cultivation. You should work at cultivation not merely while sitting in meditation. At all times you should guard the body, collect the mind, and stop all confusion and scatteredness. You should reflect and illumine within.
Someone may ask, "This section of text says the Thus Come Ones do not come or go, but at the beginning of the
Vajra Sutra it said, At mealtime the World Honored One put on his robe, took up his bowl, and entered the great city of Shravasti to beg for food. Is that not going? It also says, "After he finished his sequential begging, he returned." Is that not coming? How can you say he does not come or go?
It is not the Buddha who comes and goes; it is your mind which comes and goes. For example, when the water is pure, the moon appears. When there are clouds the moon is hidden. When the moon appears in pure water, has the moon really come to that place? When clouds hide the moon, has the moon really gone away?
Also, sometimes when people look at clouds moving through the sky, they see the moon moving and the clouds standing still. Or a boat may move down a river and it appears to some that the two banks are moving and the boat is stationary. Do the banks actually move? No. The Buddha's transformation bodies come and go, but his Dharma-body does not. Maitreya Bodhisattva composed a verse which says,
"What comes and goes are the Buddha's transformation bodies.
The Tatlmgata is eternally unmoving.
He is neither the same nor different from any place within the