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The Awakening Of Faith In Mahayana-1.大乘起信论-1.
来源:净心之旅 更新日期: 2016-4-10 浏览次数: 518 字号选择:  




大乘起信论


 The Awakening Of Faith In Mahayana

                                                                   By Ashvaghosha

 

Invocation

I take refuge in the Buddha, the greatly Compassionate One, the Savior of the world, omnipotent, omnipresent, omniscient, of most excellent deeds in all the ten directions; And in the Dharma, the manifestation of his Essence, the Reality, the sea of Suchness, the boundless storehouse of excellencies; And in the Sangha, whose members truly devote themselves to the practice, May all sentient beings be made to discard their doubts, to cast aside their evil attachments, and to give rise to the correct faith in the Mahayana, that the lineage of the Buddhas may not be broken off.


The Contents of the Discourse

There is a teaching (dharma), which can awaken in us the root of faith in the Mahayana, and it should therefore be explained. The explanation is divided into five parts. They are (1) the Reasons for Writing; (2) the Outline; (3) the Interpretation; (4) on Faith and Practice; (5) the Encouragement of Practice and the Benefits Thereof.


PART 1 

The Reasons for Writing


Someone may ask the reasons why I was led to write this treatise. I reply: there are eight reasons. The first and the main reason is to cause men to free themselves from all sufferings and to gain the final bliss; it is not that I desire worldly fame, material profit, or respect and honor. The second reason is that I wish to interpret the fundamental meaning of the teachings of the Tathágata so that men may understand them correctly and not be mistaken about them. The third reason is to enable those whose capacity for goodness has attained maturity to keep firm hold upon an un-retrogressive faith in the teachings of Mahayana. 


The fourth reason is to encourage those whose capacity for goodness is still slight to cultivate the faithful mind. The fifth reason is to show them expedient means (upaya) by which they may wipe away the hindrance of evil karma guard their minds well, free themselves from stupidity and arrogance, and escape from the net of heresy. The sixth reason is to reveal to them the practice of two methods of meditation, cessation of illusions and clear observation (samatha and vipassana), so that ordinary men and the followers of Hinayana may cure their minds of error. The seventh reason is to explain to them the expedient means of single-minded meditation (smriti) so that they may be born in the presence of the Buddha and keep their minds fixed in an un-retrogressive faith. The eighth reason is to point out to them the advantages of studying this treatise and to encourage them to make an effort to attain enlightenment. These are the reasons for which I write this treatise.


Question: What need is there to repeat the explanation of the teaching when it is presented in detail in the sutras?


Answer: Though this teaching is presented in the sutras, the capacity and the deeds of men today are no longer the same, nor are the conditions of their acceptance and comprehension. That is to say, in the days when the Tathágata was in the world, people were of high aptitude and the Preacher preached with his perfect voice, different types of people all equally understood; hence, there was no need for this kind of discourse. But after the passing away of the Tathágata, there were some who were able by their own power to listen extensively to others and to reach understanding; there were some who by their own power could listen to very little and yet understand much; there were some who, without any mental power of their own, depended upon the extensive discourses of others to obtain understanding; and naturally there were some who looked upon the wordiness of extensive discourses as troublesome, and who sought after what was comprehensive, terse, and yet contained much meaning, and then were able to understand it. 


Thus, this discourse is designed to embrace, in a general way, the limitless meaning of the vast and profound teaching of the Tathágata. This discourse, therefore, should be presented.


PART 2

Outline

The reasons for writing have been explained. Next the outline will be given. Generally speaking, Mahayana is to be expounded from two points of view. One is the principle and the other is the significance. The principle is "the Mind of the sentient being." This Mind includes in itself all states of being of the phenomenal world and the transcendental world. On the basis of this Mind, the meanings of Mahayana may be unfolded. Why? Because the absolute aspect of this Mind represents the essence (svabhava) of Mahayana, and the phenomenal aspect of this Mind indicates the essence, attributes (lakshana), and influences (kriya) of Mahayana itself. 


Of the significance of the adjective Maha (great) in the compound, Mahayana, there are three aspects: (1) the "greatness" of the essence, for all phenomena (dharma) are identical with Suchness and are neither increasing nor decreasing; (2) the "greatness" of the attributes, for the Tathagata-garbha is endowed with numberless excellent qualities; (3) the "greatness" of the influences, for the influences of Suchness give rise to the good causes and effects in this and in the other world alike. The significance of the term yana (vehicle) in the compound, Mahayana: The term yana is introduced because all Enlightened Ones (Buddhas) have ridden on this vehicle, and all Enlightened Ones-to-be (Bodhisattvas), being led by this principle, will reach the stage of Tathágata.


PART 3

Interpretation

The part on outline has been given; next the part on interpretation of the principle of Mahayana will be given. It consists of three chapters: (1) Revelation of the True Meaning; (2) Correction of Evil Attachments; (3) Analysis of the Types of Aspiration for Enlightenment.


CHAPTER ONE: Revelation of True Meaning


I. One Mind and Its Two Aspects

The revelation of the true meaning of the principle of Mahayana can be achieved by unfolding the doctrine that the principle of One Mind has two aspects. One is the aspect of Mind in terms of the Absolute (tathata or Suchness), and the other is the aspect of Mind in terms of phenomena (samsára or birth and death). Each of these two aspects embraces all states of existence. Why, because these two aspects are mutually inclusive.


A. Mind in Terms of the Absolute

The Mind in terms of the Absolute is the one World of Reality (Dharmadhatu) and the essence of all phases of existence in their totality. That which is called "the essential nature of the Mind" is unborn and is imperishable. It is only through illusions that all things come to be differentiated. If one is freed from illusions, then to him there will be no appearances (lakshana) of objects regarded as absolutely independent existences; therefore all things from the beginning transcend all forms of verbalization, description, and conceptualization and are, in the final analysis, undifferentiated, free from alteration, and indestructible. They are only of the One Mind; hence the name Suchness. All explanations by words are provisional and without validity, for they are merely used in accordance with illusions and are incapable of denoting Suchness. The term Suchness likewise has no attributes, which can be verbally specified. The term Suchness is, so to speak, the limit of verbalization wherein a word is used to put an end to words. But the essence of Suchness itself cannot be put an end to, for all things in their Absolute aspect are real; nor is there anything which needs to be pointed out as real, for all things are equally in the state of Suchness. It should be understood that all things are incapable of being verbally explained or thought of; hence the name Suchness.


Question: If such is the meaning of the principle of Mahayana, how is it possible for men to conform themselves to and enter into it? 


Answer: If they understand that, concerning all things, though they are spoken of, there is neither that which speaks, nor that which can be spoken of, and though they are thought of, there is neither that which thinks, nor that which can be thought of, then they are said to have conformed to it. And when they are freed from their thoughts, they are said to have entered into it. Next, Suchness has two aspects if predicated in words. One is that it is truly empty (sunya), for this aspect can, in the final sense, reveal what is real. The other is that it is truly non-empty (a-sunya), for its essence itself is endowed with undefiled and excellent qualities.


1. Truly Empty

Suchness is empty because from the beginning it has never been related to any defiled states of existence, it is free from all marks of individual distinction of things, and it has nothing to do with thoughts conceived by a deluded mind. It should be understood that the essential nature of Suchness is neither with marks nor without marks; neither not with marks nor not without marks; nor is it both with and without marks simultaneously; it is neither with a single mark nor with different marks; neither not with a single mark nor not with different marks; nor is it both with a single and with different marks simultaneously. In short, since all unenlightened men discriminate with their deluded minds from moment to moment, they are alienated from Suchness; hence, the definition "empty"; but once they are free from their deluded minds, they will find that there is nothing to be negated.


2. Truly Nonempty

Since it has been made clear that the essence of all things is empty, i.e., devoid of illusions, the true Mind is eternal, permanent, immutable, pure, and self-sufficient; therefore, it is called "nonempty." And also there is no trace of particular marks to be noted in it, as it is the sphere that transcends thoughts and is in harmony with enlightenment alone.


B. The Mind in Terms of Phenomena

1. The Storehouse Consciousness

The Mind as phenomena (samsára) is grounded on the Tathagata-garbha. What is called the Storehouse Consciousness is that in which "neither birth nor death (nirvana)" diffuses harmoniously with "birth and death (samsára)", and yet in which both are neither identical nor different. This Consciousness has two aspects, which embrace all states of existence and create all states of existence. They are: (a) the aspect of enlightenment, and (b) the aspect of non-enlightenment.


a. The Aspect of Enlightenment

(1) Original Enlightenment

The essence of Mind is free from thoughts. The characteristic of that which is free from thoughts is analogous to that of the sphere of empty space that pervades everywhere. The one without any second, i.e. the absolute aspect of the World of Reality (Dharmadhatu) is none other than the undifferentiated Dharmakaya, the "Essence-body" of the Tathágata. Since the essence of Mind is grounded on the Dharmakaya, it is to be called the original enlightenment. Why? Because "original enlightenment" indicates the essence of Mind (a priori) in contradistinction to the essence of Mind in the process of actualization of enlightenment; the process of actualization of enlightenment is none other than the process of integrating the identity with the original enlightenment.


(2) The Process of Actualization of Enlightenment

Grounded on the original enlightenment is non-enlightenment. And because of non-enlightenment, the process of actualization of enlightenment can be spoken of. Now, to be fully enlightened to the fountainhead of Mind is called the final enlightenment, and not to be enlightened to the fountainhead of Mind, non-final enlightenment. What is the meaning of this? An ordinary man becomes aware that his former thoughts were wrong; then he is able to stop (nirodha) such thoughts from arising again. 


Although this sometimes may also be called enlightenment, properly it is not enlightenment at all because it is not enlightenment that reaches the fountainhead of Mind. The followers of Hinayana, who have some insight, and those Bodhisattvas who have just been initiated become aware of the changing state (anyathatva) of thoughts and are free from thoughts which are subject to change [such as the existence of a permanent self (atman), etc.]. Since they have forsaken the rudimentary attachments derived from unwarranted speculation (vikalpa), their experience is called enlightenment in appearance. 


Bodhisattvas who have come to the realization of Dharmakaya become aware of the temporarily abiding state (sthiti) of thoughts and are not arrested by them. Since they are free from their rudimentary false thoughts derived from the speculation that the components of the world are real, their experience is called approximate enlightenment. 


Those Bodhisattvas who have completed the stages of a Bodhisattva and who have fulfilled the expedient means needed to bring forth the original enlightenment to the fullest extent will experience the oneness with Suchness in an instant; they will become aware of how the inceptions of the deluded thoughts of the mind arise (jati), and will be free from the rise of any deluded thought. 


Since they are far away even from subtle deluded thoughts, they are able to have an insight into the original nature of Mind. The realization that Mind is eternal is called the final enlightenment. It is, therefore, said in a sutra that if there is a man who is able to perceive that which is beyond thoughts he is advancing toward the Buddha wisdom. 


Though it is said that there is an inception of the rising of deluded thoughts in the mind, there is no inception as such that can be known as being independent of the essence of Mind. And yet to say that the inception of the rising of deluded thoughts is known means that it is known as existing on the ground of that which is beyond thoughts [i.e., the essence of Mind]. 


Accordingly, all ordinary people are said not to be enlightened because they have had a continuous stream of deluded thoughts and have never been freed from their thoughts; therefore, they are said to be in a beginning-less ignorance. If a man gains insight into that which is free from thoughts, then he knows how those thoughts, which characterize the mind [i.e., deluded thoughts] arise, abide, change, and cease to be, for he is identical with that which is free from thoughts. 


But, in reality, no difference exists in the process of the actualization of enlightenment, because the four states [of arising, abiding, etc.] exist simultaneously and each of them is not self-existent; they are originally of one and the same enlightenment [in that they are taking place on the ground of original enlightenment, as its phenomenal aspects]. And, again, original enlightenment, when analyzed in relation to the defiled state [in the phenomenal order], presents itself as having two attributes. One is the "Purity of Wisdom" and the other is the "Supra-rational Functions."


(a) Purity of Wisdom.

By virtue of the permeation (vasana or perfuming) of the influence of dharma [i.e., the essence of Mind or original enlightenment], a man comes to truly discipline himself and fulfills all expedient means of unfolding enlightenment; as a result, he breaks through the compound consciousness [i.e., the Storehouse Consciousness that contains both enlightenment and non-enlightenment], puts an end to the manifestation of the stream of deluded mind, and manifests the Dharmakaya [i.e., the essence of Mind], for his wisdom (Prajna) becomes genuine and pure. What is the meaning of this? All modes (lakshana) of mind and consciousness under the state of non-enlightenment are the products of ignorance. Ignorance does not exist apart from enlightenment; therefore, it cannot be destroyed [because one cannot destroy something which does not really exist], and yet it cannot not be destroyed [insofar as it remains]. This is like the relationship that exists between the water of the ocean [i.e., enlightenment] and its waves [i.e., modes of mind] stirred by the wind [i.e., ignorance]. Water and wind are inseparable; but water is not mobile by nature, and if the wind stops the movement ceases. But the wet nature remains undestroyed. Likewise, man's Mind, pure in its own nature, is stirred by the wind of ignorance. Both Mind and ignorance have no particular forms of their own and they are inseparable. Yet Mind is not mobile by nature, and if ignorance ceases, then the continuity of deluded activities ceases. But the essential nature of wisdom [i.e., the essence of Mind, like the wet nature of the water] remains undestroyed.


(b) Supra-rational Functions

He who has fully uncovered the original enlightenment is capable of creating all manner of excellent conditions because his wisdom is pure. The manifestation of his numberless excellent qualities is incessant; accommodating himself to the capacity of other men he responds spontaneously, reveals himself in manifold ways, and benefits them.


(3) The Characteristics of the Essence of Enlightenment

The characteristics of the essence of enlightenment have four great significances that are identical with those of empty space or that are analogous to those of a bright mirror. First, the essence of enlightenment is like a mirror, which is really empty of images. It is free from all marks of objects of the mind and it has nothing to reveal in itself, for it does not reflect any images. Second, it is like a mirror influencing (vasana) all men to advance toward enlightenment. That is to say, it is truly nonempty; appearing in it are all the objects of the world, which neither go out nor come in, which are neither lost nor destroyed. 


It is eternally abiding One Mind. All things appear in it because all things are real. And none of the defiled things are able to defile it, for the essence of wisdom [i.e., original enlightenment] is unaffected by defilements, being furnished with an unsoiled quality and influencing all men to advance toward enlightenment. Third, it is like a mirror, which is free from defiled objects reflected in it. This can be said because the nonempty state [of original enlightenment] is genuine, pure, and bright, being free from hindrances both affectional and intellectual, and transcending characteristics of that which is compounded [i.e., the Storehouse Consciousness]. Fourth, it is like a mirror influencing a man to cultivate his capacity for goodness, serving as a coordinating cause to encourage him in his endeavors. Because the essence of enlightenment is free from defiled objects, it universally illumines the mind of man and induces him to cultivate his capacity for goodness, presenting itself in accordance with his desires [as a mirror presents his appearance].


b. The Aspect of Non-enlightenment

Because of not truly realizing oneness with Suchness, there emerges an unenlightened mind and consequently, its thoughts. These thoughts do not have any validity to be substantiated; therefore, they are not independent of the original enlightenment. It is like the case of a man who has lost his way: he is confused because of his wrong sense of direction. If he is freed from the notion of direction altogether, then there will be no such thing as going astray. 


It is the same with men: because of the notion of enlightenment, they are confused. But if they are freed from the fixed notion of enlightenment, then there will be no such thing as non-enlightenment. Because there are men of unenlightened, deluded mind, for them we speak of true enlightenment, knowing well what this relative term stands for. Independent of the unenlightened mind, there are no independent marks of true enlightenment itself that can be discussed. Because of its non-enlightened state, the deluded mind produces three aspects, which are bound to non-enlightenment and are inseparable from it. 


First is the activity of ignorance. The agitation of mind because of its non-enlightened state is called activity. When enlightened, it is un-agitated. When it is agitated, anxiety (dukkha) follows, for the result [anxiety] is not independent of the cause [the agitation contingent upon ignorance]. Second is the perceiving subject. Because of the agitation that breaks the original unity with Suchness, there appears the perceiving subject. 


When un-agitated, the mind is free from perceiving. Third is the world of objects. Because of the perceiving subject, the world of objects erroneously appears. Apart from the perceiving, there will be no world of objects. Conditioned by the incorrectly conceived world of objects, the deluded mind produces six aspects. First is the aspect of the discriminating intellect. Depending on the erroneously conceived world of objects, the mind develops the discrimination between liking and disliking. Second is the aspect of continuity. By virtue of the discriminating function of the intellect, the mind produces an awareness of pleasure and pain with regard to things in the world of objects. 


The mind, developing deluded thoughts and being bound to them, will continue uninterrupted. Third is the aspect of attachment. Because of the continuity of deluded thoughts, the mind, superimposing its deluded thoughts on the world of objects and holding fast to the discriminations of liking and disliking develops attachments to what it likes. Fourth is the aspect of the speculation (vikalpa) on names and letters [i.e., concepts]. On the basis of erroneous attachments, the deluded mind analyzes words, which are provisional and therefore devoid of reality. 


Fifth is the aspect of giving rise to evil karma. Relying on names and letters [i.e., concepts which have no validity, the deluded mind] investigates names and words and becomes attached to them, and creates manifold types of evil karma. Sixth is the aspect of anxiety attached to the effects of evil karma. Because of the law of karma, the deluded mind suffers the effects and will not be free. It should be understood that ignorance is able to produce all types of defiled states; all defiled states are aspects of non-enlightenment.


c. The Relationships between Enlightenment and Non-enlightenment


Two relationships exist between the enlightened and non-enlightened states. They are "identity" and "nonidentity."


(1) Identity

Just as pieces of various kinds of pottery are of the same nature in that they are made of clay, so the various magic-like manifestations (Maya) of both enlightenment (anasrava: non-defilement) and non-enlightenment (avidya: ignorance) are aspects of the same essence, Suchness. For this reason, it is said in a sutra "all sentient beings intrinsically abide in eternity and are entered into nirvana. The state of enlightenment is not something that is to be acquired by practice or to be created. In the end, it is unobtainable [for it is given from the beginning]." Also it has no corporeal aspect that can be perceived as such. Any corporeal aspects [such as the marks of the Buddha] that are visible are magic-like products of Suchness manifested in accordance with the mentality of men in defilement. It is not, however, that these corporeal aspects, which result from the supra-rational functions of wisdom, are of the nature of non-emptiness [i.e., substantial], for wisdom has no aspects that can be perceived.


(2) Nonidentity

Just as various pieces of pottery differ from each other, so differences exist between the state of enlightenment and that of non-enlightenment, and between the magic-like manifestations of Suchness manifested in accordance with the mentality of men in defilement, and those of men of ignorance who are defiled [i.e., blinded] as to the essential nature of Suchness.


2. The Cause and Conditions of Man's Being in Samsára

That a man is in samsára (birth and death) results from the fact that his mind (manas) and consciousness (Vijnana) develop on the ground of the Storehouse Consciousness (citta). This means that because of the aspect of non-enlightenment of the Storehouse Consciousness, he is said to be in possession of ignorance [and thus is bound to remain in samsára].


a. Mind

The mentality, which emerges in the state of non-enlightenment, which incorrectly perceives and reproduces the world of objects and, conceiving that the reproduced world of objects is real, continues to develop deluded thoughts, is what we define as mind. The mind has five different names. The first is called the "activating mind," for without being aware of it, it breaks the equilibrium of mind by the force of ignorance. The second is called the "evolving mind," for it emerges contingent upon the agitated mind as the subject that perceives incorrectly. The third is called the "reproducing mind," for it reproduces the entire world of objects as a bright mirror reproduces all material images. 


When confronted with the objects of the five senses, it reproduces them at once. It arises spontaneously at all times and exists forever reproducing the world of objects in front of the subject. The fourth is called the "analytical mind", for it differentiates what is defiled and what is undefiled. The fifth is called the "continuing mind," for it is united with deluded thoughts and continues uninterrupted. It retains the entire karma, good and bad, accumulated in the immeasurable lives of the past, and does not permit any loss. It is also capable of bringing the results of the pain, pleasure, etc., of the present and the future to maturity; in doing so, it makes no mistakes. It can cause one to recollect suddenly the things of the present and the past and to have sudden and unexpected fantasies of the things to come. The triple world, therefore, is unreal and is of mind only. 


Apart from it there are no objects of the five senses and of the mind. What does this mean? Since all things are, without exception, developed from the mind and produced under the condition of deluded thoughts, all differentiations are no other than the differentiations of one's mind itself. Yet the mind cannot perceive the mind itself; the mind has no marks of its own that can be ascertained as a substantial entity as such. It should be understood that the conception of the entire world of objects can be held only on the basis of man's deluded mind of ignorance. All things, therefore, are just like the images in a mirror which are devoid of any objectivity that one can get hold of; they are of the mind only and are unreal. When the deluded mind comes into being, then various conceptions (dharma) come to be; and when the deluded mind ceases to be, then these various conceptions cease to be.


b. Consciousness

What is called "consciousness (Vijnana) "is the "continuing mind," because of their deep-rooted attachment, ordinary men imagine that I and Mine are real and cling to them in their illusions. As soon as objects are presented, this consciousness rests on them and discriminates the objects of the five senses and of the mind. This is called "Vijnana" [i.e., the differentiating consciousness] or the "separating consciousness." The propensity for discrimination of this consciousness will be intensified by both the intellectual defilement of holding fast to perverse views and the affectional defilement of indulgence in passion. 


That the deluded mind and consciousness arise from the permeation of ignorance is something that ordinary men cannot understand; the followers of the Hinayana, with their wisdom, likewise fail to realize this. Those Bodhisattvas, who, having advanced from the first stage of correct faith by setting the mind upon enlightenment through practicing contemplation, have come to realize the Dharmakaya, can partially comprehend this. 


Yet even those who have reached the final stage of Bodhisattva-hood cannot fully comprehend this; only the Enlightened Ones have thorough comprehension of it. Why? The Mind, though pure in its self-nature from the beginning, is accompanied by ignorance. Being defiled by ignorance, a defiled state of Mind comes into being. But, though defiled, the Mind itself is eternal and immutable. Only the Enlightened Ones are able to understand what this means. What is called the essential nature of Mind is always beyond thoughts. It is, therefore, defined as "immutable." When the one World of Reality is yet to be realized, the Mind is mutable and is not in perfect unity with Suchness. Suddenly, a deluded thought arises and this state is called ignorance.


c. Defiled States of Mind

Six kinds of defiled states of mind conditioned by ignorance can be identified. The first is the defilement united with attachment to atman (self), from which those who have attained liberation in Hinayana and those Bodhisattvas at the "stage of establishment of faith" are free. The second is the defilement united with the "continuing mind," from which those who are at the "stage of establishment of faith" and who are practicing expedient means to attain enlightenment can gradually free themselves and free themselves completely at the "stage of pure-heartedness." 


The third is the defilement united with the discriminating "analytical mind," from which those at the "stage of observing precepts" begin to be liberated and finally are liberated completely when they arrive at the "stage of expedient means without any trace." The fourth is the subtle defilement disunited from the represented world of objects, from which those at the "stage of freedom from the world of objects" can be freed. The fifth is the subtler defilement disunited from the "evolving mind that perceives" [i.e., the defilement existing prior to the act of perceiving], from which those at the "stage of freedom from evolving mind" are freed. The sixth and subtlest is the defilement disunited from the basic "activating mind," from which those Bodhisattvas who have passed the final stage and have gone into the "stage of Tathágata-hood" are freed.


d. Comments on the Terms Used in the Foregoing Discussion

On the expression "the one World of Reality is yet to be realized:" From this state those Bodhisattvas who have advanced from the "stage of the establishment of faith" to the "stage of pure-heartedness," after having completed and severed their deluded thoughts, will be more and more liberated as they advance, and when they reach the "stage of Tathágata-hood", they will be completely liberated. On "united:" By the word "united" appearing in the first three defilements is meant that though difference [i.e., duality] exists between the mind (subject) and the datum of the mind (object), there is a simultaneous relation between them in that when the subject is defiled the object is also defiled, and when the subject is purified the object is also purified. On "disunited": By the word "disunited" is meant that the second three subtle and fundamental defilements are the aspects of non-enlightenment on the part of the mind existing prior to the differentiation into the subject and object relationship; therefore, a simultaneous relation between the subject and object is not as yet established. On the expression "defiled state of mind:" It is called "the hindrance originating from defilements", for it obstructs any fundamental insight into Suchness. On "ignorance:" Ignorance is called the "hindrance originating from misconceptions of objects," for it obstructs the wisdom that functions spontaneously in the world. Because of the defiled state of mind, there emerges the subject that perceives [incorrectly; i.e., the evolving mind] and that which reproduces [the reproducing mind] and thus one erroneously predicates the world of objects and causes oneself to deviate from the undifferentiated state of Suchness. Though all things are always in quiescence and devoid of any marks of rising, because of the non-enlightenment due to ignorance, one erroneously strays from the dharma [i.e., Suchness]; thus one fails to obtain the wisdom that functions spontaneously by adapting oneself to all circumstances in the world.


3. The Characteristics of Beings in Samsára

In analyzing the characteristics of beings in samsára, two categories may be distinguished. The one is "crude," for those who belong to this category are united with the crude activities of the defiled mind; the other is "subtle," for those who belong to this category are disunited from the subtle activities of the defiled mind. Again, each category may in turn be subdivided into the cruder and the subtler. The cruder of the crude belongs to the range of mental activity of ordinary men; the subtler of the crude and the cruder of the subtle belong to that of Bodhisattvas; and the subtler of the subtle belongs to that of Buddhas. These two categories of beings in the phenomenal order come about because of the permeation of ignorance; that is to say, they come about because of the primary cause and the coordinating causes. By the primary cause, "non-enlightenment" is meant, and by the coordinating causes, "the erroneously represented world of objects." When the primary cause ceases to be, then the coordinating causes will cease to be. Because of the cessation of the primary cause, the mind disunited from the represented world of objects, etc. will cease to be; and because of the cessation of the coordinating causes, the mind united with the attachment to atman, etc. will cease to be.


Question: If the mind ceases to be, what will become of its continuity? If there is continuity of mind, how can you explain its final cessation? 


Answer: What we speak of, as "cessation" is the cessation of the marks of the deluded mind only and not the cessation of its essence. It is like the case of the wind, which following the surface of the water leaves the marks of its movement. If the water should cease to be, then the marks of the wind would be nullified and the wind would have no support on which to display its movement. But since the water does not cease to be, the marks of the wind may continue. Because only the wind ceases, the marks of its movement cease accordingly. This is not the cessation of water. So it is with ignorance; on the ground of the essence of Mind there is movement. If the essence of Mind were to cease, then people would be nullified and they would have no support. But since the essence does not cease to be, the mind may continue. Because only stupidity ceases to be, the marks of the stupidity of the mind cease accordingly. It is not that the wisdom [i.e., the essence] of Mind ceases. Because of the four kinds of permeation, the defiled states and the pure state emerge and continue uninterrupted. They are (1) the pure state, which is called Suchness; (2) the cause of all defilements, which is called ignorance; (3) the deluded mind, which is called "activating mind"; (4) the erroneously conceived external world, which is called the "objects of the five senses and of mind." 


The meaning of permeation: Clothes in the world certainly have no scent in themselves, but if a man permeates them with perfumes, then they come to have a scent. It is just the same with the case we are speaking of. The pure state of Suchness certainly has no defilement, but if it is permeated by ignorance, then the marks of defilement appear on it. The defiled state of ignorance is indeed devoid of any purifying force, but if it is permeated by Suchness, then it will come to have a purifying influence.


a. Permeation of Ignorance

How does the permeation of ignorance give rise to the defiled state and continue uninterrupted? It may be said that, on the ground of Suchness [i.e., the original enlightenment], ignorance [i.e., non-enlightenment] appears. Ignorance, the primary cause of the defiled state, permeates into Suchness. Because of this permeation a deluded mind results. Because of the deluded mind, deluded thoughts further permeate into ignorance. While the principle of Suchness is yet to be realized, the deluded mind, developing thoughts fashioned in the state of non-enlightenment, predicates erroneously conceived objects of the senses and the mind. 


These erroneously conceived objects of the senses and the mind, the coordinating causes in bringing about the defiled state, permeate into the deluded mind and cause the deluded mind to attach itself to its thoughts, to create various evil karma, and to undergo all kinds of physical and mental suffering. 


The permeation of the erroneously conceived objects of the senses and the mind is of two kinds. One is the basic permeation by the "activating mind," which causes Arhats, Pratyekabuddhas, and all Bodhisattvas to undergo the suffering of samsára, and the other is the permeation which accelerates the activities of the "object-discriminating consciousness" and which makes ordinary men suffer from the bondage of their karma. The permeations of ignorance are of two kinds. One is the basic permeation, since it can put into operation the "activating mind," and the other is the permeation that develops perverse views and attachments, since it can put into operation the "object-discriminating consciousness."


b. Permeation of Suchness

How does the permeation of Suchness give rise to the pure state and continue uninterrupted? It may be said that there is the principle of Suchness, and it can permeate into ignorance. Through the force of this permeation, Suchness causes the deluded mind to loathe the suffering of samsára and to aspire for nirvana. Because this mind, though still deluded, is now possessed with loathing and aspiration, it permeates into Suchness in that it induces Suchness to manifest itself. Thus a man comes to believe in his essential nature, to know that what exists is the erroneous activity of the mind and that the world of objects in front of him is nonexistent, and to practice teachings to free himself from the erroneously conceived world of objects. 


He knows what is really so - that there is no world of objects in front of him - and therefore with various devices he practices courses by which to conform himself to Suchness. He will not attach himself to anything nor give rise to any deluded thoughts. Through the force of this permeation of Suchness over a long period of time, his ignorance ceases. Because of the cessation of ignorance, there will be no more rising of the deluded activities of mind. Because of the non-rising of the deluded activities of mind, the world of objects as previously conceived ceases to be; because of the cessation of both the primary cause (ignorance) and the coordinating causes (objects), the marks of the defiled mind will all be nullified. This is called "gaining nirvana and accomplishing spontaneous acts." 


The permeation of Suchness into the deluded mind is of two kinds. The first is the permeation into the "object-discriminating consciousness." Because of this permeation, ordinary men and the Hinayanists come to loathe the suffering of samsára, and thereupon each, according to his capacity, gradually advances toward the highest enlightenment. The second is the permeation into mind. Because of this permeation, Bodhisattvas advance to nirvana rapidly and with aspiration and fortitude. Two kinds of permeation of Suchness into ignorance can be identified. The first is the "permeation through manifestation of the essence of Suchness" and the second is "the permeation through external influences."


(1) Permeation through Manifestation of the Essence of Suchness

The essence of Suchness is, from the beginning-less beginning, endowed with the "perfect state of purity." It is provided with supra-rational functions and the nature of manifesting itself (literally, the nature of making the world of object). Because of these two reasons it permeates perpetually into ignorance. Through the force of this permeation it induces a man to loathe the suffering of samsára, to seek bliss in nirvana, and, believing that he has the principle of Suchness within himself, to make up his mind to exert himself.


Question: If this is so, then all sentient beings are endowed with Suchness and are equally permeated by it. Why is it that there are infinite varieties of believers and nonbelievers, and that there are some who believe sooner and some later? All of them should, knowing that they are endowed with the principle of Suchness, at once make an effort utilizing expedient means and should all equally attain nirvana. 


Answer: Though Suchness is originally one, yet there are immeasurable and infinite shades of ignorance. From the very beginning ignorance is, because of its nature, characterized by diversity, and its degree of intensity is not uniform. Defilements, more numerous than the sands of the Ganges, come into being because of the differences in intensity of ignorance, and exist in manifold ways; defilements, such as the belief in the existence of atman and the indulgence in passion, develop because of ignorance and exist in different ways. All these defilements are brought about by ignorance, in an infinitely diversified manner in time. The Tathágatas alone understand all about this. In Buddhism there is a teaching concerning the primary cause and the coordinating causes. When the primary cause and the coordinating causes are sufficiently provided, there will be the perfection of a result. 


It is like the case of wood: though it possesses a latent fire nature which is the primary cause of its burning, it cannot be made to burn by itself unless men understand the situation and resort to means of actualizing fire out of wood by kindling it. In the same way a man, though he is in possession of the correct primary cause, Suchness with permeating force cannot put an end to his defilements by himself alone and enter nirvana unless he is provided with coordinating causes, i.e., his encounters with the Buddhas, Bodhisattvas, or good spiritual friends. Even though coordinating causes from without may be sufficiently provided, if the pure principle [i.e., Suchness] within is lacking in the force of permeation, then a man cannot ultimately loathe the suffering of samsára and seek bliss in nirvana. 


However, if both the primary and the coordinating causes are sufficiently provided, then because of his possession of the force of permeation of Suchness from within and the compassionate protection of the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas from without, he is able to develop a loathing for suffering, to believe that nirvana is real, and to cultivate his capacity for goodness. And when his cultivation of the capacity for goodness matures, he will as a result meet the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas and will be instructed, taught, benefited, and given joy, and then he will be able to advance on the path to nirvana.


(2) Permeation through Influences

This is the force from without affecting men by providing coordinating causes. Such external coordinating causes have an infinite number of meanings. Briefly, they may be explained under two categories: namely, the specific and the general coordinating causes.


(a) The Specific Coordinating Causes

A man, from the time when he first aspires to seek enlightenment until he becomes an Enlightened One, sees or meditates on the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas as they manifest themselves to him; sometimes they appear as his family members, parents, or relatives, sometimes as servants, sometimes as close friends, or sometimes as enemies. Through all kinds of deeds and incalculable performances, such as the practice of the four acts of loving-kindness, etc., they exercise the force of permeation created by their great compassion, and are thus able to cause sentient beings to strengthen their capacity for goodness and are able to benefit them as they see or hear about their needs. This specific coordinating cause is of two kinds. One is immediate and enables a man to obtain deliverance quickly; and the other is remote and enables a man to obtain deliverance after a long time. The immediate and remote causes are again of two kinds: the causes, which strengthen a man in his practices of expedient means to help others and those, which enable him to obtain enlightenment.


(b) The General Coordinating Causes

Every Buddha and Bodhisattva desires to liberate all men, spontaneously permeating them with their spiritual influences and never forsaking them. Through the power of the wisdom, which is one with Suchness, they manifest activities in response to the needs of men as they see and hear them. Because of this indiscriminately permeating cause, men are all equally able, by means of concentration (samádhi), to see the Buddhas. This permeation through the influence of the wisdom whose essence is one with Suchness is also divided into two categories according to the types of recipients. The one is yet to be united with Suchness. Ordinary men, the Hinayanists, and those Bodhisattvas who have just been initiated devote themselves to religious practices on the strength of their faith, being permeated by Suchness through their mind and consciousness. Not having obtained the indiscriminate mind, however, they are yet to be united with the essence of Suchness, and not having obtained the perfection of the discipline of free acts, they are yet to be united with the influence of Suchness. The other is the already united with Suchness: Bodhisattvas who realize Dharmakaya have obtained undiscriminating mind and are united with the essence of the Buddhas; they, having obtained free acts, are united with the influence of the wisdom of the Buddhas. 


They singly devote themselves with spontaneity to their religious disciplines, on the strength of Suchness within; permeating into Suchness so that Suchness will reclaim itself, they destroy ignorance. Again, the defiled principle (dharma), from the beginning-less beginning, continues perpetually to permeate until it perishes by the attainment of Buddhahood. But the permeation of the pure principle has no interruption and no ending. The reason is that the principle of Suchness is always permeating; therefore, when the deluded mind ceases to be, the Dharmakaya [i.e., Suchness, original enlightenment] will be manifest and will give rise to the permeation of the influence of Suchness, and thus there will be no ending to it.







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