Question: If all views possess faults, then what is [the status of] the supreme-meaning siddhÁnta?
Reply: It goes beyond the path of all discourse. The very locus of thought’s activity is extinct in it. Nowhere is there anything upon which it relies. It does not proclaim any dharma . The ultimate reality aspect of all dharmas has no beginning, has no middle and has no end. It is inexhaustible and indestructible . This is what is meant by the “supreme-meaning siddhÁnta.” This is as described in the Verse on the Meaning of the Mahayana:
Discourse is entirely ended.
The actions of thought cease as well.
Neither produced nor destroyed, —
The dharmas are like nirvana.
Every place where speaking functions
Is known as worldly dharma.
The place where speaking does not function
Is known as the supreme meaning.
“Everything is real,” “Everything is unreal,”
As well as “Everything is both real and unreal,”
And “Everything is neither real nor unreal” —
This all refers to the ultimate reality aspect of all dharmas.
[Explanations] such as these are spoken forth in many places in the Sutra. The meaning of the supreme-meaning siddhÁnta is extremely deep, difficult to perceive and difficult to understand. It was because the Buddha wished to set forth this meaning that he spoke the MahÁprajñÁpÁramitÁ Sutra.
MahÁkauçéhila “Long Nails”
Additionally, he (the Buddha) spoke the MahÁprajñÁpÁramitÁ Sutra because he wished to cause the brahmacÁrin “Long Nails,” and other great dialecticians like him to develop faith in the Dharma of the Buddha. [At that time] there was a brahmacÁrin named “Long Nails” as well as ãreÜika Vatsagotra, Satyaka NirgranthÍputra and others. The great dialectical masters of Jambudviipa such as these claimed that all treatises can be demolished, all discourses can be devastated, and all beliefs can be subverted and that therefore there are no actual dharmas in which one may have faith or towards which one may feel reverence.
As recounted in The Sutra on the Life of ãÁriputra, ãÁriputra’s uncle, MahÁkau.s.thila, found that he could not match his own sister, ãÁri, in debate. Kauçéhila cogitated upon this and thought to himself, “This cannot be due to my sister’s own power. It must be that she is pregnant with a wise man who is conveying his words to his mother’s mouth. If, before he is even born, he is already like this, what will he be like once he’s born and grown?”
Having thought this over he became afflicted with [hurt] pride and, for the sake of gaining extensive dialectical knowledge, left home and became a brahmacaarin. He went to the south of India and began to study the classical texts. People asked him, “What have you set your mind on obtaining? Which classic do you wish to study?”
“Long Nails” replied, “I wish to exhaustively study all of the eighteen great classics.”
Those people all said to him, “You could spend your entire lifetime studying and still would not be able to know even one. How much the less could you know them all?”
To be continued