this person speculates that his own pervasive knowledge is infinite and
that all other people appear within his awareness. And yet, since he
himself has never perceived the nature of their awareness, he says they
have not obtained an infinite mind, but have only a finite one.
Third, this person speculates that his own
pervasive knowledge is infinite. The third distinction is the
distinction between self and others. “Others” refers to living beings,
and “self” refers to the cultivator himself. He makes yet another false
speculation and becomes attached to it. He says, “I feel that I possess
the wisdom of pervasive knowledge.” What is meant by pervasive
knowledge? Pervasive knowledge means there is nothing that is not
known; therefore, it has the quality of being infinite.
And he says that all other people, all living
beings, appear within his awareness. They are all contained within his
And yet, since he himself has never perceived the
nature of their awareness, he says they have not obtained an infinite
mind, but have only a finite one. Living beings have not obtained a
boundless mind, but he himself has. Because he does not know the nature
of their knowledge, he says that they have not obtained a boundless
mind and do not have boundless wisdom, but have only a bounded wisdom.
That is the distinction of self and others.
this person thoroughly investigates the formations skandha to the point
that it becomes empty. Based on what he sees, in his mind he speculates
that each and every living being, in its given body, is half living and
half dead. From this he concludes that everything in the world is half
finite and half infinite.
Fourth, this person thoroughly investigates the
formations skandha to the point that it becomes empty. What is the
fourth distinction? It is that of the living and the dead. He examines
the formations skandha to the utmost extent, until it becomes empty.
Based on what he sees and understands from his investigations, in his
mind he speculates that each and every living being, in its given body,
is half living and half dead. This is another false speculation and
false attachment. He sees any given living being’s body as half living
and half dead. Since living beings are like that, he draws conclusions
about the whole world. From this he concludes that everything in the
world is half finite and half infinite. Life is on the side of the
finite, and death is on the side of the infinite. That’s his
conjecture. The more he runs, the farther away he gets.
of these speculations about the finite and the infinite, he will fall
into externalism and become confused about the Bodhi nature. This is
the fourth external teaching, which postulates finiteness.
Because of these four speculations about the
finite and the infinite...What does he conjecture? If it’s not finite,
then it’s infinite. If it’s not infinite, then it’s finite. He keeps
going back and forth like this, and generally does not stay on the
Middle Way. He either goes too far or does not go far enough. Either he
runs far away, or he doesn’t even take a single step. Therefore, he
will lose proper and pervasive knowledge and fall into externalism.
External teachings either go too far, or else they don’t go far enough.
Neither going too far nor coming up short is the Middle Way. We should
cultivate the Middle Way. The Buddha spoke of the ultimate truth of the
Middle Way as neither falling into emptiness nor falling into
existence. If you lean to the side of emptiness or the side of
existence, then you fall into duality. It’s called an external teaching
because there are two sides. And he will become confused about the true
Bodhi nature. He does not recognize Bodhi. This is the fourth external
teaching, which postulates finiteness.
To be continued