Tuesday, October 4, 2011

The wisdom of Diamond Sutra - chapter 28



須菩提白佛言:世尊,云何菩薩不受福德?須菩提,菩薩所作 福德不應貪者,是故說不受福德。

My translation of chapter 28 of Diamond Sutra: Don't accept and don't covet.

Subhuti, if a Bodhisattva uses the world's seven treasures, like the sands of the Ganges, as alms; and there is one who understands that all Dharma enlightenment must not hold on to Self, and therefore he endures all sufferings to reach Enlightenment. This latter one achieves more Merit than the former one. Why? Because all Bodhisattva must not receive nor covet praise in giving alms and receiving Merit.

Subhuti: World Holiness, what do you mean by Bodhisattva not pursuing Merit?

Buddha: Subhuti, the good acts of Bodhisattvas are not to be motivated by their covetousness towards Merit, that is why I say they are not pursuing Merit.

Paul's comment: This chapter makes the important distinction between progress towards enlightenment through suffering (endurance) vs. through helping others by giving people what we have. The Buddha stated his preference: Those who improve through suffering (endurance) is more superior! The reason is that the one who gives might be motivated by his covetousness towards a good name or having done a good deed! It echoes Jesus saying as rich people are more difficult to go to Heaven.

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