Friday, July 8, 2011

The wisdom of Diamond Sutra - chapter 10


佛告須菩提,於意云何。如來昔在燃燈佛所,於法有所 得不?不也,世尊。如來在燃燈佛所,於法實無所得。須菩提,於意云 何?菩薩莊嚴佛土不?不也,世尊。何以故?莊嚴佛土者,即非莊嚴,是名莊嚴。是故須菩提,諸菩薩摩訶薩,應如是生清淨心,不應住色生心,不應住聲香味觸法生心,應無所住,而生其心。須菩提,譬如有人,身如須彌山王,於意云何?是身為大不?


My rendition: Solemn Buddha-land

The Buddha said to Subhuti, “What do you think? When the Tathagata studied under Dīpaṃkara Buddha (燃燈佛), did he receive any Dharma from him?” “No, World Honored One, when the Tathagata studied under Dipankara Buddha, he did not receive any physical Dharma.” “Subhuti, what do you think? Can a bodhisattva perceive a concrete solemn Buddha-land?” “No, he can't, World Honored One. Why not? Every perceivable solemn Buddha-land is not the solemn Buddha-land; and because of this it is being called Solemn Buddha-land.”

“And so, Subhuti, bodhisattvas (菩薩) and mahasattvas (摩訶薩) should give rise to a pure mind (清淨心) that is not constrained by form, sound, smell, taste, touch, or thought. The heart should not be constrained by any perception when it perceives (應無所住,而生其心). Subhuti, if there were a person with a Dharma body the size of Great Sumeru, what do you think? Wouldn’t this body be huge?” “Extremely huge, World Honored One. Why? The Buddha teaches us that a physical body can't represent the huge of a Dharma body, and because of this a Dharma body is called huge.”

Paul's comment: In this chapter, an essential teaching of the Diamond Sutra is proclaimed: The heart should not be constrained by any perception when it perceives (應無所住,而生其心). Sixth Patriarch Hui Neng (六祖慧能) heard this verse at a local Inn and immediately became enlightened. One example: if a bodhisattva is constrained by his aspiration towards. a solemn Buddha-land that he perceives (say during his deep meditation), he cannot be called a bodhisattva.

The gist of the teaching in this chapter can also be phrased as: Constrained by nothing, not even the "solemn Buddha-land". Or look at it from yet another angle: If a perception is fixated at a "solemn Buddha-land", irrespective of whether or not one does all kinds of good deeds driven this this perception, this perception is NOT "solemn Buddha-land". And it is by definition (as defined by the Buddha)!

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