The Four Siddhantas (Teaching
Additionally, it was because the Buddha wished to set forth
the characteristics of the supreme meaning siddhanta that he
spoke this Mahaprajnaparamita Sutra. There are four kinds of
siddhantas (teaching modes). The first is the worldly
siddhanta. The second is the individually-adapted siddhanta.
The third is the therapeutic siddhanta. The fourth is the
supreme meaning siddhanta.
All twelve classifications of sutra text
are generally subsumed within the four siddhantas. Every
dharma among the 84,000 dharmas of the Dharma treasury is
actual and mutually non-contradictory. The existence [of
these dharmas] within the Buddha Dharma is an actual
existence on account of the worldly siddhanta, is an actual
existence on account of the individually-adapted siddhanta,
is an actual existence on account of the therapeutic
siddhanta, and is an actual existence on account of the
[The Worldly (laukika) Siddhanta]
What is meant by the "worldly siddhanta"? Existent dharmas
exist on account of the coming together of conditions. Aside
from this, they have no other nature. This is like a cart
which exists on account of the coming together of shafts,
axles, spokes, rims and so forth. Aside from this, there is
no other "cart." People are also like this. They exist on
account of the coming together of the five aggregates. Aside
from this, there is no other "person."
If it was the case that there was no
worldly siddhanta, why would the Buddha who is a man of true
speech, say, "With the pure heavenly eye I see beings
passing away here and being born there in accordance with
good and bad actions, undergoing resultant retribution.
Those whose actions have been good are born among the gods
and men. Those whose actions have been bad fall into the
three bad paths?
Additionally, a sutra states, "With the
coming into the world of one single person, many people are
given occasion for celebration and gain the benefit of
blessings and bliss. He is the Buddha, the World Honored
As The Dharma Sentences states, "It is
the spiritual being (lit. "spirit" = purusa) itself which is
able to deliver the spiritual being. How could some other
person deliver [one's] spiritual being? It is one's own
cultivation of wholesome wisdom which is most able to bring
about one's own deliverance."
And as the Buddha said in The Sutra on
the Encounter with King Bimbasara, "The common person does
not hear the Dharma. The common person is attached to a
Again, in The Sutra on the Two Nights the
Buddha said, "From the night in which the Buddha realized
the way to the night of the parinirvana: The sutra teachings
which have been spoken between these two nights are all
actual and not in error."
If in actual fact there is no "person,"
why did the Buddha say, "With my heavenly eye I see living
beings... "? One ought to know from this that [where the
scriptures speak of] the existence of persons, it is on
account of the worldly siddhanta. It is not the case that it
represents the supreme-meaning siddhanta.
Question: The supreme-meaning siddhanta
is true. It is because it is true that it is referred to as
"supreme." The others should not be [regarded as] true.
Reply: Not so. Truth exists in each of
these four siddhantas.
From the worldly siddhanta standpoint,
true suchness, the nature of dharmas, and ultimate reality
do not exist. From the supreme-meaning siddhanta standpoint,
they do exist. This is also the case for "persons" and so
forth. From the standpoint of the worldly siddhanta, they
exist. From the standpoint of the supreme-meaning siddhanta,
they do not exist. Why is this? It is on account of the
existence of the causes and conditions of the five
aggregates that "persons" and so forth exist.
This is like milk which exists on account of the existence
of the causes and conditions of color, odor, flavor and
tangibility. If milk was actually nonexistent, then the
causes and conditions of milk should also be nonexistent.
Now, because the causes and conditions of milk actually do
exist, milk should [be admitted as] existing also. It is not
as if [we were speaking of] a person's second head or third
hand, in which case there would be no corresponding causes
and conditions, but only the existence of false names.
[Teachings with] characteristics such as these fall within
the scope of the "worldly siddhanta."
~ To be continued