BUDDHISM FOR BEGINNERS - 4 Lankavatara Sutra - Shortened and Simplified

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The Third Patriarch remained in seclusion at Ch'ung-kung shan and Ssu-k'ung shan for over twenty-four years. He later met the monk Tao-hsin and transmitted the Dharma to him. After that, the Third Patriarch moved to Lo-fu shan, located northeast of Kung-tung Canton , for three years. Then he returned to Ch'ung-kung shan and died there in c. It is said that he passed away standing under a big tree with his palms together in gassho. A Brief History of Seng-ts'an. The author of this Buddhist "hymn," Sengtsan Sosan , the third Chinese Zen patriarch from Dharma, the first Chinese and the twenty-eighth Indian Zen patriarch, lived during the sixth century, dying in A.

His place of origin is unknown. Sengtsan asked Huike, saying, "I am diseased: I implore you to cleanse me of my sin". Huike said, "Bring me your sin and I will cleanse you of it". Sengtsan thought for awhile; then said, "I cannot get at it". Huike replied, "Then I have cleansed you of it".

Sengtsan realized, not simply in his mind, but in every bone of his body, that his sinfulness was an illusion, one with that of the illusion of self. As soon as we are aware of our irresponsibility, all the cause of misbehaviour disappears in so far as the cause, the illusion of the self is removed.

If we have no self, it cannot commit sin. Yet, it must be added, "I can't see how you and I, who don't exist, should get to speaking here, and smoke our pipes, for all the world like reality". Stevenson, "Fables". He became the disciple of the Second Patriarch and practiced austerities and led a life of devotion and poverty, receiving the bowl and the robe, insignia of the transmission through Bodhidharma, the First Patriarch of China of the Buddha Mind. At this time, one of the periodic persecutions of Buddhism broke out. Sutras and images were burned wholesale; monks and nuns were returned to the lay life.

Sengtsan wandered for fifteen years all over the country, avoiding persecution. In , he met Taohsin Doshin , who became the Fourth Patriarch. Seng-ts'an Jap. Hardly any details are known of the life of the third patriarch. There are, however, many legends about him and his meeting with Hui-k'o.

According to one of these legends Seng-ts'an was suffering from leprosy when he met the second patriarch. Hui-k'o is supposed to have encountered him with the words, "You're suffering from leprosy; what could you want from me? The thirtieth patriarch Kanchi Daishi [ daishi , "great master"] went for instruction to the twenty-ninth patriarch and asked, "The body of the student is possessed by mortal illness.

I beg you, master, wipe away my sins. The patriarch [Hui-k'o] said, "Bring me your sins here, and I'll wipe them away for you. The master [Seng-ts'an] sat in silence for a while, the said, "Although I've looked for my sins, I can't find them. The patriarch said, "In that case I've already thoroughly wiped away your sins. It is said that during the Buddhist persecution of the year , Seng-ts'an had to feign mental illness in order to escape execution, and that finally he went into hiding for ten years on Mount Huan-kung.

His mere presence there is said to have pacified the wild tigers, which until that time had caused great fear among the local people. The authorship of Hsin-hsin-ming Jap. Shinjinmei is attributed to Seng-ts'an. It is one of the earliest Ch'an writings. It expounds Ch'an basic principles in poetic form and shows strong Taoist influence. The Hsin-hsin-ming begins with a famous sentence, which comes up again and again in Ch'an Zen literature for instance, in example of the Pi-yen-lu : "The venerable way is not difficult at all; it only abhors picking and choosing.

The Encyclopedia of Eastern Philosophy and Religion The lay-disciple was silent for a while but finally said, 'As I seek my sins, I find them unattainable. You should thenceforth take refuge in the Buddha, Dharma, and Samgha Brotherhood , and abide therein. The same is to be said of the Brotherhood samgha. This satisfied the disciple, who now said, 'Today for the first time I realize that sins are neither within nor without nor in the middle; just as Mind is, so is the Buddha, so is the Dharma; they are not two.

This was partly due to the persecution of Buddhism carried on by the Emperor of the Chou dynasty. It was in the twelfth year of K'ai-huan of the Sui dynasty a. His name was Tao-hsin. He asked the master:. This put the young novice on the way to final enlightenment, which he attained after many years' study under the master. He died in a. While much of his life is obscure, his thought is gleaned from a metrical composition known as Hsin-hsin-ming , or 'Inscribed on the Believing Mind', which is one of the most valuable contributions by the masters to the interpretation of Zen teaching.

Essays in Zen Buddhism — First Series Essays in Zen Buddhism — First Series n. As the Buddha taught us, all things are defiled when Mind is defiled; all things are pure when Mind is pure; and Mind is neither within nor without nor in the middle. As is Mind, so are sins and defilements, so are all things — they never transcend the suchness of truth.

Seng-ts'an in the Transmission of the Light. Sengcan said to the Zen master Huike, "I am riddled with sickness; please absolve me of my sin. You should live by the Buddha, the Teaching, and the Community. It is not known where Sengcan came from. When he visited Zen master Huike, he was a layman over forty years of age. He did not say his name, but came to the Zen master and asked for relief from his illness, as told in the story.

When Huike told him to live by the Buddha, the Teaching, and the Community, Sengcan said, "I can see you are a monk, a member of the Buddhist community; what are the Buddha and the Teaching? This is also true of the Community. Sengcan said, "Today for the first time I have realized that the essence of sin is not inside, not outside, not in between. So it is also of mind. Buddha and the Teaching are not separate either.

Sengcan attended Huike for two years. Then Huike said to him, "The great teacher Bodhidharma came here to China from India, and gave me both the robe and the teaching. Now I entrust them to you. There will be trouble in this country. Sengcan said, "Since you know about this, please give me some instructions. Think about these words and don't get caught up in worldly problems. After that Sengcan lived in seclusion in the mountains for ten years.

This was the time that the Martial Emperor of the Wei dynasty persecuted the Buddhist religion. Because of this Sengcan changed his appearance and stayed in the mountains, dwelling in no fixed place. While in this condition Sengcan met the novice Daoxin, who was to become his successor. He said to Daoxin, "After my teacher transmitted Zen to me, he went to the big city and spent thirty years there. Now that I have found you, why should I stay here? The local people flocked to him and offered support. He gave extensive explanations of the essence of mind for the people, then at a religious meeting he died under a tree.

His Poem on the Trust in the Heart was recorded and circulates even today. Later he was given the title Master of Mirrorlike Knowledge. The sickness plaguing him in his first meeting with Huike was leprosy. But as he associated with the Zen master, his sickness disappeared. There is nothing special about this story: understanding that the nature of sin is ungraspable, he realized that the nature of mind is originally pure.

Thus he heard that the Buddha and the Truth are not separate, that mind and reality are thus. When you really know the original mind, there is no difference in dying in one place and being born in another — how much less could there be any distinction of sin and virtue there!

Thus the body-mind after all does not exist; we are fundamentally free from skin, flesh, bones, and marrow. Therefore his disease disappeared and his original mind appeared. In expounding the essence of the teaching, Sengcan said, "The supreme Way is without difficulty — it is only averse to discrimination. You cannot take, you cannot leave. Once you have no hate or love, you are empty and clear.

At no time do you lack, nothing is extra. Yet even so, investigate throughly to reach the point of ungraspability, to arrive at the realm of ungraspability. Without becoming nihilistic, not being like wood or stone, you should be able to "strike space and make an echo, tie lightning to make a form. If you can be like this, even though " that is not the present phenomena, it is not within reach of ear or eye," you should see without hindrance, you should comprehend without deviation. Can we add a discerning word to this story? Essential emptiness has no inside or outside —. Sin and virtue leave no traces there.

Mind and Buddha are fundamentally thus ;. The Teaching and Community are clear. Transmission of Light Sengcan. Chinese ideograms of some of the Chinese terms used in the above quotations:. Some authors think that it is leprosy lepra, or Hansen's disease. The related. Chinese word feng means paralysis, leprosy, or insanity. I am riddled with sickness; please absolve me of my sin. Bring me your sin and I will absolve you.

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When I look for my sin I cannot find it. I have absolved you. Seng-ts'an asked Hui-k'o :. I can see you are a monk, a member of the Buddhist community; what are the Buddha and the Teaching? This mind is Buddha, this mind is the Teaching; the Teaching and the Buddha are not separate. Today for the first time I have realized that the essence of sin is not inside, not outside, not in between. Hui-k'o saw that Seng-ts'an 's understanding is profound, he shaved his head and said: This is my treasure.

I name him Seng-ts'an. Seng-ts'an attended Hui-k'o for two years. Then Hui-k'o said to him,. Bodhidharma came here to China from India, and gave me both the robe and the teaching. Hui-k'o gave him Bodhidharma's robe and bowl signifying the transmission of the Dharma. He said:. Although you have attained the teaching, for the time being you should go into the mountains and not teach publicly. Seng-ts'an said:. Since you know about this, please give me some instructions.

It is not that I know — this is the prediction given to Bodhidharma by Prajnatara 1 , who said, "Inside the heart is auspicious, but outside is bad luck. Tao-hsin asked Seng-ts'an :. Pray show me the way to deliverance. Who has ever put you in bondage? Nobody has put me in bondage. If so, why should you ask for deliverance? With these words, Tao-hsin attained his final enlightenment.

Although the third patriarch Seng-ts'an has historically been accepted as the author of the Hsin-hsin Ming , contemporary scholarship doubts whether he was in fact the author. There is no record that Hui-k'o or Seng-ts'an ever wrote anything. The expressions and idioms used in the work have caused certain scholars to place the date of its composition in a later year. Niu-t'ou Fa-jung 1 , a disciple of Tao-hsin , composed a poem called Mind Inscription 2 Hsin Ming and the similarity between the Hsin-hsin Ming and the Hsin Ming has caused scholars to speculate that Hsin-hsin Ming was actually written after the time of the sixth patriarch Hui-neng 3 , as an improved, condensed version of the Mind Inscription.

Yanagida Seizan also suspects that the Hsin-hsin Ming is the work of the fourth patriarch Tao-hsin Chinese scholar Yin-shun shares this opinion in his Chung-kuo Ch'an-tsung Shih 5 , pp. Some scholars also believe that the author of the Hsin-hsin Ming was not Seng-ts'an but the fourth Ch'an patriarch Tao-hsin. As observed in most religious and spiritual traditions, putting down to writing what one's master recited was a common practice.

It is therefore also possible, as some scholars suspect, that Seng-ts'an only recited the poem, and it was later written by one of his disciples. There were no separately published editions of the Hsin-hsin Ming. The classical source of the Hsin-hsin Ming is the chapter 30 of the Transmission of the Lamp.

Two Tun-huang manuscripts 3 containing the text of the Hsin-hsin Ming were discovered in Pelliot , ; Stein , Presently, one of these manuscripts is in Paris and the other in London. There is also a popular edition of the poem, with variant characters and verses, titled Faith-Mind Inscription of the Third Patriarch of Sui Dynasty The title of the Hsin-hsin Ming may be explained in the following way:.

Hsin means "belief" or "faith. This "believing" is an affirmation that all existence or reality is essentially the Buddha mind, which is our true nature. Hsin is the conviction that at the bottom of all phenomena lies the One Mind, the Buddha mind, which is one with our real nature, the Buddha-nature.

Hsin literally means "heart. Hsin is the mind that merge with the all-encompassing One Mind. Ming literally means "inscription. Ming also means warnings or admonitions. Hsin-hsin Ming is one of the earliest and most influential Zen writings. It is usually referred to as the first Zen poem. It consists of unrhymed four-character 1 verses 2 lines , total characters 3.

The Hsin-hsin Ming was composed in shih 4 form. Like the early shih , the Hsin-hsin Ming consists of lines that are 4-characters in length, but contrary to most shih , no end rhyme is employed in the poem. As a characteristic of shih , one line usually constitutes a single syntactical unit. Since one character represents one syllable, and since classical Chinese is basically monosyllabic, this means that there are usually four words to a line. Lines tend to be end-stopped, with few run-on lines, so that the efffect is of a series of brief and compact utterances. This concise form of four characters a line is shorter than the general run of Chinese verse, which usually has five or seven characters per line.

Economy, even starkness of expression is a characteristic of the Hsin-hsin Ming. It is more of a verse than poetry and its brevity is one of the peculiar characteristics of this famous work. Many verses are like a short Zen saying and therefore can be taken as if they are a single-sentence Zen maxim. The original text was not divided in stanzas. Some translators divided the poem in different ways, with or without adding numbers to them. The poem has been very influential in Zen circles and many important commentaries were written on it.

The opening stanza, "The best way is not difficult. It only excludes picking and choosing," is quoted by many Zen masters as well as in the classical Zen works such as the Blue Cliff Records 6. Along with the following influential poems, it is considered as a poem which reveals the essence of Zen philosophy:.

Song of Realizing the Way. Harmony of Difference and Sameness. Song of Precious Mirror Samadhi. Mind Inscription. Mind King Inscription. The title of the work bears resemblance to three previously composed poems:. Inscription of Stopping the Mind. Enlightenment-Mind Inscription. A unique aspect of the Hsin-hsin Ming is the particular Taoist concepts it contains, the poem, therefore, blends together Buddhist and Taoist teachings. The following quotations contain further information on the Hsin-hsin Ming :. The famous Hsin hsin ming Jap: Shin jin mei is known as the first Zen poem.

It consists of four-word lines, directly and vividly expressing the Zen spirit in a simple, compact form. An outstanding characteristic of the poem is that it is written in genuine Chinese without using any Sanskrit or Pali Buddhist terms. The main themes expressed in the Hsin hsin ming derive from Two Entries and Four Acts , one of the few authentic writings of the great Zen Patriarch Bodhidharma, who brought Buddhism from India to China in the sixth century.

The roots of Bodhidharma's work can be traced to the Vimalakirtinirdesa Sutra , written sometime before the third century c. Even though authorship of the Hsin hsin ming is traditionally attributed to the Third Patriarch, Chien-chih Seng-ts'an Jap: Kanchi Sosan , the idioms employed in the poem have caused some scholars to place the date of its composition in a later year. The title Hsin hsin ming is translated as Verses on the Faith Mind. The title of a poem is sometimes likened to the forehead, which expresses a person's unique characteristics.

In Hsin hsin ming , hsin is generally understood as "faith. Faith mind are not two. Nondual faith mind. The translator renders these lines as:. To live in this faith is the road to nonduality. In this context, faith does not have the usual meaning of "having faith in something," but rather that faith is the very fact of existence or reality itself. Dogen Zenji says, "Without attaining Buddhahood, the faith won't manifest.

Where the faith manifests, Buddhas and Patriarchs manifest" Shobogenzo. The Nirvana Sutra says, "Great faith is no other than Buddha nature. The word ming means "written expression" and also "warnings or admonitions," hence the title means "the verbal expression of the fact that the very nature of existence and of all the phenomenal world are no other than the faith mind.

Although all dualities come from the one. Do not be attached even to this One. That is to say, at the bottom of the two there is one and at the bottom of one there is zero. And that zero is "just this," the unborn one Mind, which is the faith mind. From the time of its composition up to the present day, the Hsin hsin ming has been published and translated repeatedly by various scholars and appreciated by different Chinese and Japanese masters, who have written numerous commentaries on it.

The masters' frequent references to the poem have authenticated it as a genuine expression of the spirit of Zen. In the Sung dynasty, the verse Hsin hsin ming nien-ku of Chen-hsieh Ch'ing-liao Jap: Shinketsu Seiryo, was the first major commentary. The founder of the Japanese Soto School, Dogen Zenji , quoted a number of passages from the Hsin hsin ming in his Eihei-koroku , written in Chinese. In , Keizan Zenji, the cofounder of the Japanese Soto School, wrote the most famous Japanese commentaries on the verse, known as the Hsin hsin ming nentei " Teisho on the Hsin hsin ming.

In , during the Edo period, Kozan Garyu wrote a commentary, the Hsin hsin ming yatosui , which also contains Chen-hsieh Ch'ing-liao's verse and Keizan's Nentei. Rinzai master Isshi Benshu also wrote a major commentary in Japanese entitled the Hsin hsin ming benchu. In modern times, several Japanese commentaries have been written. In addition, Ian Kishizawa Roshi has written the Hsin hsin ming kattoshu.

Suzuki also gave concise, pithy comments on the Hsin hsin ming. The most recent commentary was written by Koun Yamada Roshi. The Eye That Never Sleeps xv-xviii. Thomas Cleary. Quotations from this favorite work appear throughout later Zen literature. Generally speaking, it is a guide to Zen meditation, but the unifying theme is mental balance. Many of the Zen instructions translated in the present volume are very much in the spirit of this early Zen classic.

Heinrich Dumoulin.


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Suzuki makes clear in his English paraphrase, these verses should not be understood in a nihilistic sense. The key idea of the poem is the unity of nondualistic reality. For the enlightened mind, all duality is overcome. Zen Buddhism: A History, Japan Christmas Humphreys. It may be asked why, as it seems the most simple, it is put at the end of so much harder reading.

The answer is that although it is simple it is at the same time enormously profound, and until it is realized that these are not moral maxims for the class-room, but fragments from a vast and deep experience, the quintessence of all the teaching that has gone before, they will not be appreciated at their true value. Author Unknown. Suzuki sensei's fine translation of Seng-ts'an's 'Hsin-hsin-ming' 'On Believing in Mind,' pages , the very first verse treatise on Zen — which in the original Chinese takes up just two thirds of a page in the more than , pages of 'Taisho' — a text which embodies the quintessence of Zen and that deserves to be far better known.

From a book review of Manual of Zen Buddhism by D. The original text of the Hsin-hsin Ming with obsolete Chinese ideograms. In the following text, the obsolete characters in the original text are replaced with newer, simplified characters used in contemporary Japanese. These newer characters are indicated with gray font color. Translated by Prof. Dusan Pajin of Belgrade University, Yugoslavia.

Faith-Mind Inscription. The best way is not difficult. Once you stop loving and hating. Depart for a hairbreadth. If you want it to appear. To set longing against loathing. Not knowing the deep meaning of the way. Complete it is like great vacuity. When you grasp and reject. Do not follow conditions,. Cherishing oneness in the hearth,. Rest to stop motion,. If you are merely in either,.

Not understanding oneness. Expelling being you will be without it,. The more words and thoughts. Return to the root and obtain the purport;. For a moment turn inward,. Changes that go on in emptiness. Do not seek the true,. Do not dwell in dual views,. The slightest trace of right and wrong. One being is the source of the two,. With one mind there is no arising,.

No blame, no things;. The subject follows when the object ceases. The object is related to the subject. If you want to know these two. In one emptiness both are equal. Do not differentiate coarse and fine. Small views are irresolute, full of doubt,. Letting go leads to spontaneity,. Accord your nature with the way. Fettered thinking strays from the real,. To weary the spirit is not good;. In following the One vehicle. Things are not different,. To use the mind to hold the mind,. Out of confusion arise rest and disturbance;.

Bodhisattva Skt. Bodhisattvas may be "ordinary" or "nobel" depending on whether they have attained the path of seeing and are residing on one of the ten bodhisattva grounds. The bodhisattvas practise on the basis of their wish to benefit others. They are motivated by bodhichitta, which has as its focus all sentient beings and is characterized by the wish to establish them all at the level of perfect buddhahood, free from the causes and effects of suffering and endowed with all the causes and effects of happiness.

With this motivation, they take the bodhisattva vows of aspiration and application in the proper way, through the ritual of either the tradition of Profound View or Vast Conduct. They then observe the points of discipline concerning what should be adopted and abandoned, and heal and purify any impairments.

Concerning the basis of their path, how they determine the view, if we speak in terms of philosophical tenets, the approach of Mind Only is to assert that outer objects are not real and all phenomena are but the inner mind, and to claim that the self-aware, self-knowing consciousness devoid of dualistic perception is truly real. The approach of the Middle Way is to realize that all phenomena appear in the manner of dependent origination, but are in reality emptiness, beyond the eight extremes of conceptual elaboration.

Through these approaches, on the basis of the explanation of the two levels of reality, they realize completely the absence of any personal self or phenomenal identity. Concerning their path and how they practise meditation, the bodhisattvas realize and train in developing their familiarity with the indivisibility of the two levels of reality, and, on the basis of the yogic meditation that unites shamatha and vipashyana, meditate sequentially on the thirty-seven factors of enlightenment while on the path of training.

They practise the six transcendent perfections for their own benefit and the four means of attraction for the sake of others. They attain the level of buddhahood, which is the ultimate attainment in terms of both abandonment and realization since it means abandoning all that has to be eliminated, the two obscurations including habitual traces, and realizing everything that must be realized, included within the knowledge of all that there is and the knowledge of its nature. They accomplish the two types of dharmakaya for their own benefit and the two types of rupakaya for the benefit of others.

Bodhisattva Bhumis Skt. Bodong Tib. It is sometimes considered a branch of the Sakya tradition. It also propagated a specific Lamdre lineage that was later incorporated into the Sakya lineage. Je Tsongkhapa studied at Bodong E. Body, Skt. When speaking of two kayas: dharmakaya and rupakaya. The three kayas are dharmakaya, sambhogakaya and nirmanakaya. See also 'three kayas. Brahma Skt. He is considered to epitomize the energy of life, light, and growth, and to actually be all things and all beings.

His body is constituted by the fifty sacred seed syllables of the divine language of perfection, Sanskrit. Brahma is not at all destructive, unlike Shiva and Indra, who are capable of great destruction and violence, but is the essence of creativity. There are said to be four abodes of Brahma, or Brahma realms, of immeasurable love, compassion, joy and equanimity. Also Brahma was the first to appear after Buddha Shakyamuni attained enlightenment, with an offering of a thousand-spoked golden wheel, requesting him to turn the teaching wheel of the dharma. Not to be confused with Brahmin — the priestly caste in Hinduism, Brahman — a metaphysical concept in Hinduism, or Brahmanas — a layer of text in the Vedas.

Brahmin or brahman Skt. This term often indicates hermits and spiritual practitioners. It should be noted that the Buddha rejected the caste system and proclaimed on several occasions that the true Brahmin is not someone so designated through an accident of birth, but one who has thoroughly overcome defilement and attained freedom. Not to be confused with Brahman — a metaphysical concept in Hinduism, Brahma — a Hindu god, or Brahmanas — a layer of text in the Vedas.

Buddha Skt. Buddha, however, also has a much deeper meaning. It means anyone who has completely awakened from ignorance and opened to his or her vast potential for wisdom. A buddha is one who has brought a final end to suffering and frustration and discovered a lasting and deathless happiness and peace. The Seventy Verses on Taking Refuge says: One who sleeps no more in ignorance, And in whom genuine wisdom is brought forth, Has truly awoken as an awakened buddha, Just as one wakes from ordinary sleep. And: Their minds have opened to all that is knowable, And they have overcome the tight seal of delusion, So the awakened have blossomed like lotus flowers.

Buddha field Skt. Beings born into a buddha field may travel the path towards enlightenment without falling back into the lower realms. More generally, any place that is seen as a pure manifestation of wisdom is a buddha field. Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche says: In the sutras we can read how, on their eve of their attaining enlightenment, bodhisattvas such as Amitabha would make profound prayers and tremendous offerings to all the buddhas.

They prayed that they might manifest a buddha field and then emanate themselves within that buddha field, so as to bring the greatest possible benefit to all sentient beings. From the Vajrayana perspective, however, the understanding of buddha fields is a deeper one. The root of the Vajrayana is "pure vision", or the perception of the perfect purity of all phenomena. To enact this purity of perception, we do not perceive the place where we are now as just an ordinary place; we imagine it to be a celestial buddha field.

Khenpo Ngakchung wrote: Then, by relying on the six paramitas, we have to train in the pure vision of infinite realms. We train in both pure and impure realms. Alak Zenkar Rinpoche explains that sbyong ba has the sense of preparing. In other words, by visualizing and praying and aspiring, we actually prepare and set up our pure realm for when we need it. Buddha nature Tib. Maitreya, Sublime Continuum, I, Buddhagosha A 5th-century Indian Theravada Buddhist commentator, translator and philosopher. His best-known work is the Visuddhimagga "Path of Purification" , a comprehensive summary of older Sinhalese commentaries on Theravada teachings and practices.

According to Sarah Shaw, in Theravada this systematic work is "the principal text on the subject of meditation. He is generally recognized by both Western scholars and Theravadins as the most important philosopher and commentator of the Theravada, but is also criticised for his departures from the canonical texts. Buddhaguhya Skt. He was a Vajrayana Buddhist scholar-monk. Vimalamitra was one of his students. A major commentary by Buddhaguhya of the Mahavairocana Tantra was written in and is preserved in Tibetan. Hodge translates it into English alongside the text itself.

Buddhaguhya is held to have received teachings from Lilavajra. Buddhahood Wyl. It is the ultimate goal of the Buddhist path attained when we become a buddha. Upon the attainment of buddhahood, enlightenment manifests at three levels, which are known as the three bodies of the Buddha: the Absolute or Truth Body, or dharmakaya; the Enjoyment Body, or sambhogakaya; and the Emanation Body, or nirmanakaya. Buddhapalita Skt. Buddhapalita was a great master and exponent of the Prasangika system of Mahayana Buddhism.

It is said that he was born in Hamsakrida, South India and from an early age took a deep interest in the teaching of the Buddha. He received novice and full ordination and entered Nalanda monastery where he studied under acharya Sangharaksita, himself a disciple of Nagamitra.

Buddhapalita quickly mastered the teachings of arya Nagarjuna and later while resident at Dantapuri monastery in South India he composed many commentaries to the works of Nagarjuna and Aryadeva. As a true Prasangika treatise it extensively employed consequences to elaborate Madhyamaka view. To generate a valid conception of emptiness, one must state autonomously established syllogisms.

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In general though Nagarjuna and Buddhapalita clearly taught the Prasangika view neither is regarded as the founder of the Prasangika system because historically they did not clearly set forth this view in contradistinction to the Svatantrika view. His personal writings include a celebrated history of Buddhism Tib.

Shalu was the first of the major monasteries to be built by noble families of the Tsang dynasty during Tibet's great revival of Buddhism, and was an important center of the Sakya tradition. Buton was born into a family associated with a monastery named Sheme Gomne shad smad sgom gnas in the Tropu khro phu area of Tsang His mother, also a Nyingma master, was called Sonam Bum bsod nams 'bum, d.

Buton catalogued all of the Buddhist scriptures at Shalu, some 4, religious and philosophical works and formatted them in a logical, coherent order. He wrote the famous book, the History of Buddhism in India and Tibet at Shalu which many Tibetan scholars utilize in their study today. After his death he strongly influenced the development of esoteric studies and psychic training in Tibet for centuries. The purpose of his works were not to cultivate paranormal magical abilities but to attain philosophical enlightenment, a belief that all earthly phenomena are a state of the mind.

Central Land Tib. From this standpoint, a country devoid of Dharma will still be termed barbarous, even though it may possess a high level of civilization and technology. Cessation Skt. As the third of the four noble truths, it refers specifically to the pacification of suffering and its causes, and is therefore a synonym of nirvana. Cessation is of two kinds: analytical Skt. Another example which is mentioned in the commentaries is the fact that other types of consciousness do not arise when the eye-consciousness is distracted by a visual form.

This also includes all the various forms of non-existence or absence , such as the absence of a vase in a particular place. Cessation in Dzogchen is the cessation of all conceptualizations. There are two cessations: the individual analytical cessation is attained through discriminations and analysis by the mind. The non-analytical cessation is attained through contemplating on the ultimate nature with no mental discriminations. Chakra, Tib. These are centers of the psycho-physical wind energy located at the different points on the central channel, from which smaller channels radiate to the rest of the body.

Depending on the teachings and practice in question, their number varies from four to six. Chakravartin, Skt. Someone who has the power to overcome, conquer and rule all inhabitants of a four-continent world system. In the Buddhist teachings this is considered an example of the most powerful rebirth possible within samsara. Rebirth as a universal monarch can occur only when the lifespan of the human beings of the four continent world system ranges from eighty thousand to a countless number of years.

Universal monarchs are in possession of three sets of seven emblems: the seven precious emblems of royalty, the seven secondary possessions, and the seven types of jewel insignia. Chandragomin Skt. Candragomin, Tib. Chandrakirti Skt. Charvaka Skt. The Charvakas are materialistic believing the four elements to be the sole cause of all phenomena , do not believe in reincarnation and seek happiness sukha in this life while it lasts.

They deem it as foolish to abandon happiness just because it might come mingled with suffering: it would be like throwing away the rice because of the husk. Sensation direct perception is considered to be the only means to acquire knowledge therefore any attempt to construct generalisations inference out of sense data is rejected. Consciousness is considered to be a product of matter just like the intoxicating power of alcohol is the product of the fermentation of grains.

It is based on this view that Charvakas negate previous lives: no one perceives them. Similarly future lives are denied because body and mind are one entity and, therefore, when the body perishes, the mind also perishes, just like when a stone is destroyed, a design on the stone is likewise destroyed. They also assert that all phenomena arise from their own nature, causelessly. They say: The rising of the sun, the running downwards of a river, The roundness of peas, the sharpness of thorns, The 'eyes' of peacock feathers and so forth all phenomena Arise from their own nature, without being made by anyone.

Charya tantra Skt. One is matured by means of the five empowerments, which include the empowerments of the vajra, bell and name in addition to the water and crown empowerments[2], and then maintains the samayas of charya tantra, as described in the particular texts themselves. The view is determined in the same way as in the yoga tantra. During meditation one visualizes oneself as the samaya being Skt. The conduct here is the same as in kriya tantra. In the short term, one attains the common accomplishments and ultimately one reaches the level of a vajradhara of the four buddha families i.

Chittamatrins Skt. Its followers say that all phenomena are merely mind—the all-ground consciousness manifesting as environment, objects and the physical body, as a result of habitual tendencies stored within the all-ground. Khenpo Ngakchung says: All the dualistic phenomena of the imputed nature and the mind and mental phenomena of the dependent nature are the deceiving phenomena of delusion, the relative truth.

The essence of the dependent nature, which is the naturally luminous consciousness, and the fully established nature, which is the fact that this [i. Clear light, Tib. The unique feature of the Dzogchen approach is that right from the beginning you make the experience of clear light itself manifest, almost as if it were something tangible — a direct, bare experience of clear light.

In Dzogchen, on the basis of the clear light itself, the way in which the clear light abides is made vivid and certain by the aspect of rigpa or knowing. This is free from any overlay of delusion and from any corrupting effect, due to conceptual thoughts, that will inhibit the experience of clear light. Cognitive obscurations Skt. Their function is to prevent complete enlightenment.

According to Mipham Rinpoche, the cognitive obscurations are overcome in their imputation kun btags aspect at the path of seeing and in their innate lhan skyes aspect on the path of meditation. Compassion Skt. It is defined as the wish that others may be free from suffering and its causes. This is what enables us to enter into the pain of others and, to some extent, participate in the pain of others. Also, it belongs to that category of emotions which have a more developed cognitive component. We can think of empathy as the characteristic of a very warm-hearted or well-meaning person; reason as that of someone who is very practical and truly intelligent and wise.

When the two are put together, the combination is highly effective. For more see three kinds of compassion. Compassionate energy Tib. The third quality of the Ground is its compassionate energy. Just as the sky and sunlight are indivisible, so the empty essence and cognizant nature are always a unity. This unceasing compassionate energy is described as: unconfined, unobstructed, and all-pervasive.

It too possesses three wonderful qualities: the wisdom that knows, the compassion that is loving and caring, and the power that is able to liberate, protect, and benefit beings and fulfil the enlightened activity of the buddhas. All the phenomena of samsara and nirvana are like this; there is not a single phenomenon in samsara or nirvana that is not like this, and which exists from its own side. Therefore, in short, all the phenomena of samsara and nirvana are but a display arising through the creative power of the wisdom of rigpa within our own minds. Compounded phenomena, Tib.

Conceived object, Tib. It thus refers to sense objects as apprehended by this consciousness, but also to imaginary objects that are mistakenly assumed to exist. One of the four types of object, is defined as rang 'dzin rtog pas zhen nas rtogs par bya ba. Concentration Skt. According to the Compendium of Abhidharma, it belongs to the subgroup of the five object-determining mental states. Its function is to support [correct] cognition. Rigpa Translations Concentration means to have one-pointed mind with regard to the examined object.

Its function is to support [right] cognition. Confession Tib. See also the four powers. Dzongsar Khyentse Rinpoche says: "Confession in Mahayana Buddhism has a lot to do with exposing oneself. Uncovering what? Pride, vulnerability, selfishness—all the attachments we cling to and cherish. This is what we are supposed to expose. As the power of support, trust in the field of merit as a method for purifying your harmful actions.

As the power of regret, develop remorse for all the negativity you have accumulated including the ten non-virtuous actions the three of the body, the four of the speech and the three of the mind. Feel as much regret as if you had just swallowed poison. As the power of resolve, vow not to repeat them in future. For the power of action as an antidote, consider that all your harmful actions and obscurations, and all those of other sentient beings, are gathered together in the form of a black pile on the tip of your tongue.

Then rays of light emanate from the field of merit, strike the pile, and purify it just like a stain being completely washed away. Ultimately, the way to confess and purify is by resting in the luminosity of the dharmakaya nature of mind without grasping at the three spheres of subject, object and activity as being true or real.

Confident faith Tib. This is the kind of faith one should have. Conqueror, Skt. Jina, Tib. More generally, in its Tibetan form, this same epithet is frequently used as an honorific title before the names of highly venerated beings, e. Gyalwa Yeshi Norbu for H. Conscientiousness Skt. According to the Compendium of Abhidharma, it belongs to the subgroup of the eleven virtuous states.

Its function is to accomplish the excellence of existence and peace [samsara and nirvana]. Rigpa Translations, Erik Pema Kunsang Conscientiousness is a meticulous concern for what is to be engaged in and what is to be avoided. This is an essential component of maintaining discipline. It is described at length in chapter four of the Bodhicharyavatara.

Contact Skt. Contact is also the sixth of the twelve nidanas. It is the support of sensation. Rigpa Translations Contact is the meeting together of the three object, sense faculty and consciousness and the cognition of the faculty's particular event. It supports sensation. Contentment Tib. It is an essential prerequisite for genuine happiness. Craving Skt.

It is the craving that perpetuates existence, which is attended upon by the passion for enjoyment, and which finds pleasures here and there. That is the origin of suffering. It finds fresh delight now here and now there, namely, thirst for sense-pleasures; thirst for existence and becoming; and thirst for non-existence self-annihilation. The Dhammacakkappavattana-sutta quote above distinguishes three main cravings: thirst for sense-pleasures Skt.

Craving can also be divided into the three cravings of: the realms of desire, form and formlessness. Daka Skt. Dakini Skt. Female lamas and the spiritual wives of male lamas often have the epithet 'khandro'. Defeat, Tib. Defiled mental consciousness or emotional consciousness Skt. It is focused inwards upon the ground of all, or alaya, mistaking it for a substantial self, with the result that all experience is subsequently divided into wanted and unwanted. It is always present, underlying all ordinary mental states, whether virtuous, non-virtuous or neutral, and only ceases when the noble path is actualized, during the absorption of cessation or at the state of buddhahood.

Thrangu Rinpoche explains: The seventh consciousness refers to the most basic level of mental afflictions, or klesha. It refers not to the coarse kleshas, but to the root of the kleshas. Specifically, the afflicted consciousness is the most subtle level of fixation on a self. Dependent origination Skt.

SKS - Shortened barrel

Nor are they caused by a causeless and permanent creator such as the self, time or God. In fact, they arise through the coming together of their own particular causes and conditions. Desire Skt. It produces the suffering of [samsaric] existence. Rigpa Translations Attachment is to be attached to the defiling aggregates of the three realms. It produces the pain of [samsaric] existence Erik Pema Kunsang. Desire realm Skt. The desire realm is so called because the beings inhabiting it are prey to intense emotion and crave happiness based on the pleasures of the senses.

The desire realm consists of thirty-six abodes where the six classes of beings live. Destructive emotions Skt. When classified as five, pride and jealousy are added the five poisons. Pride is a combination of ignorance and attachment, and jealousy is a combination of attachment and aggression. The Abhidharma further categorizes all destructive emotions into: Six root disturbing emotions and Twenty subsidiary disturbing emotions In the Abhidharma it says there are three main causes of negative emotions: Not having abandoned the latent tendencies or predispositions Tib.

The antidotes have the quality of being strengthened through training and practice. The essential nature of the mind is pure and undefiled by the destructive emotions. Ringu Tulku Rinpoche says: "Ignorance is the most fundamental of the kleshas, but also the most difficult to work with, so we need to begin with our attachment and aversion.

Traditionally the teachings begin with attachment, but I think it is easiest to begin with anger or aversion. Attachment is so strong in us we are not really ready to work on it. Of course, if we can deal with attachment then aversion is taken care of automatically, whereas dealing with aversion will not necessarily rid us of attachment. But most people are not prepared to work on their attachment straight away, although they can quite easily see how anger and aversion are destructive and unpleasant.

In a sutra it says this very clearly. It says that of the three poisons, ignorance is the most basic and pervasive. It is like the earth. If we can rid ourselves of this, we will rid ourselves of all the negative emotions, but this is difficult precisely because it is so deep and fundamental. Yet ignorance does not cause us acute pain or present immediate difficulties, nor will it throw us into the hells.

So we can deal with it more slowly. Then attachment, it says, is like water: it is very pervasive. It causes us pain and suffering and it is not easy to get rid of. Attachment is not all bad—it has both a negative and positive side, e. We can be a little patient with this too.

Water takes a long time to dry up. Aversion is compared to fire.

It has almost no positive side. Wishing harm for others will always bring us suffering for others and for ourselves too. Aversion then is where we must begin. It has the quality of a flame: it bursts up very quickly and can burn away everything, but when the fuel is no longer there it will go down again just as quickly. In the causal vehicles of philosophy, the bodhisattvas purify them. In Mantra, the followers of the Outer Tantras transform [destructive emotions] while the followers of the Inner Father and Mother Tantras[2] take control of them.

For a practitioner of Atiyoga, the object of abandonment and its remedy are of one taste. Dharma Skt. It also refers to phenomena, meaning things and events. Dharma of realization Tib. For example, in the lesser path of accumulation, the Dharma of realization refers to the four close mindfulnesses; in the middle path of accumulation, it refers to the four genuine restraints; and the great path of accumulation, it refers to the four bases of miraculous powers, and so forth.

In addition, the Dharma of realization refers to the wisdom resulting from elimination and realization, which suffuses the minds of supreme beings. Now all the qualities of the path and of wisdom are nothing but the actualization of what is already the essential nature of the mind - the tathagatagarbha. These qualities are not causally produced as something new and extraneous, for the ultimate nature is actualized in no other way than by the elimination or removal of obscurations.

In the Mantrayana, these obscurations are removed by following the profound pith instructions which lead straight to the true reality of body, speech, and mind. In the generation-stage practice, which is conceptual, the practitioner meditates on the three seats of the deities, thus causing the co-emergent primordial wisdom to arise. Through the perfection-stage practice, which is non-conceptual, the primordial wisdom is cultivated, together with the dharanis of unforgetfulness, the ten limitless ayatanas, and nine successive absorptions and so forth.

Therefore the Dharma of realization comprises all the qualities possessed by beings abiding by the main practices of the path of learning i. Dharma of transmission Skt. Arising from the "dominate condition," namely the Tathagata himself, it is perceived by beings as the twelve branches of the sacred scriptures, the sutras, poetic epitome, and so forth. And when these are systematized in terms of antidotes to the three poisons, one arrives at the Tripitaka, namely, the Vinaya, the Sutra, and the Abhidharma.

Finally, even more profound than the Tripitaka and endowed with even more skillful means is the pitaka of the Vidyadharas. Dharmadhatu Skt. All-encompassing space. Dharmadhatu can be synonymous with buddha nature. This is because the nature of space is empty and nonexistent. Due to this quality of openness, things can occur. Likewise, dharmadhatu is the essence of things—empty and inconcrete—where all phenomena such as trees, houses, mountains, oneself, other beings, emotions, wisdom, and all experiences can occur openly. It encompasses whatever appears and exists, including the worlds and all beings.

If there is no place, there is no environment for the person to exist in; and there is no person unless that person also has a mind dwelling in the body. In the same way, the main field or realm called dharmadhatu has the nature of dharmakaya. Dharmakaya has the quality of [the wisdom of dharmadhatu], which is like the mind aspect.

Dharmakaya Skt. See Resultant Dharmakaya. Dharmapalas , Skt. These are either enlightened beings or spirits and gods who have been subjugated by great masters and bound under oath to guard the teachings. Their task is protect the Doctrine, its upholders and its practitioners. Wrathful aspect of Avalokiteshvara Mahakalas are the chief dharmapalas, protectors of the Dharma. They are either black or dark blue in color and wrathful [RY]. Dharmata Skt. Dharmata is the naked, unconditioned truth, the nature of reality, or the true nature of phenomenal existence. Dhatu, Skt. Although a dhatu in this sense may be considered as a composite of these three elements, in fact each of these elements is referred to as a dhatu in its own right.

Thus, the six senses, six objects, and six corresponding consciousnesses may be referred to as eighteen dhatus, as expounded in the Ahbidharma. Space, element, layer, part of a whole, ingredient; esp. A constituent element or essential ingredient. Discipline Skt. The purpose of discipline is to simplify our lives. Discipline is a way of being that is conducive to positive and happy states of mind.

It is the first of the three trainings and the second of the six paramitas. Patrul Rinpoche says: "The means of keeping discipline are: Conscientiousness, which is a meticulous concern for what is to be engaged in and what is to be avoided; Mindfulness, which means not forgetting what should be adopted and abandoned; And vigilance, which involves [continually] checking the status of your body, speech and mind. Firstly, through mindfulness, you do not lose sight of what should be adopted or abandoned.

Then secondly, because you are checking the status of the body, speech and mind with vigilance, you recognize any occasions when you are tempted to avoid something virtuous or to engage in something negative. At that time, because of your conscientiousness, you recall the benefits of virtuous actions and undertake them, or remember the faults of negative conduct and unwholesome actions and avoid them.

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The second means that you strive to practise virtue as much as you possibly can, beginning with the tiniest of positive acts. Be sure to embrace these acts with the proper preparation, main part and conclusion. Thirdly, bringing benefit to beings means working for the welfare of others through the four ways of attracting disciples, once the time has come for you to do so, and when you are free from any selfish motivation. For beginners, it is most important to train the mind in the first two types of discipline with the bodhichitta motivation of wishing to benefit others.

Dominant condition Skt. The other three are the causal condition rgyu'i rkyen , the immediately preceding condition de ma thagpa'i rkyen , and the objective condition dmigs pa'i rkyen.

The enabling cause is explained as the dominant condition. Its characteristics are not hindering the arising of the result and being suitable to be a condition. Doubt Skt. Doubt is also one of the seven kinds of cognition identified in Buddhist logic and epistemology. Its function is to prevent one from engaging in what is wholesome.

Rigpa Translations ; Doubt means to be of two minds about the meaning of the [four] truths. Its function is to make one not engage in what is virtuous. Erik Pema Kunsang ; It is characterized by uncertainty as regards the truth and acts as the basis for not engaging oneself in virtue. Sogyal Rinpoche writes: I sometimes think that doubt is an even greater block to human evolution than desire and attachment. Our society promotes cleverness instead of wisdom, and celebrates the most superficial, harsh, and least useful aspects of our intelligence. We have become so falsely "sophisticated" and neurotic that we take doubt itself for truth, and the doubt that is nothing more than ego's desperate attempt to defend itself from wisdom is deified as the goal and fruit of true knowledge.

This form of mean-spirited doubt is the shabby emperor of samsara, served by a flock of "experts" who teach us not the open-souled and generous doubt that Buddha assured us was necessary for testing and proving the worth of the teachings, but a destructive form of doubt that leaves us nothing to believe in, nothing to hope for, and nothing to live by.

His Holiness the Dalai Lama says: "There are actually three types of doubt: incorrect doubt, uncertain doubt, and correct doubt. The first type involves starting to think about the truth but still doubting it is correct. The second is more open but ambivalent and unsure of what is correct or incorrect. The third is when we start to believe in the truth. Downfall, Tib. Dualistic perception, Tib. The apprehension of phenomena in terms of subject and object, and the belief in their true existence.

Object and subject duality, graspable object and grasping subject, grasping and fixation, dualistic fixation, grasper and the grasped, perceiver and the perceived, apprehendable and the apprehender. Dzogchen or Dzogpachenpo Skt. The practice of Dzogchen is the most ancient and direct stream of wisdom within the Buddhist tradition of Tibet.

As a way in which to realize the innermost nature of mind—that which we really are—Dzogchen is the clearest, most effective, and most relevant to the modern world. Dzogchen is both the final and ultimate teaching, and the heart of the teachings of all the Buddhas. Though generally associated with the Nyingma or Ancient School of Tibetan Buddhism founded by Padmasambhava, Dzogchen has been practised throughout the centuries by masters of all the different schools as their innermost practice.

Its origins reach back to before human history, and neither is it limited to Buddhism, nor to Tibet, nor indeed even to this world of ours, as it is recorded that it has existed in thirteen different world systems. Dzogchen is an abbreviation of the Tibetan word Dzogpachenpo. It is uncreated, yet spontaneously accomplished. The first is Mahasandhi, which means the gathering of all or the quintessence, signifying that Dzogchen is the very essence, the cream and the heart juice of all teachings. It has the sense of scaling a mountain, reaching the peak and having a view over everything.

For Atiyoga or Dzogchen stands at the apex of the characteristic Nyingmapa presentation of the Buddhist path as Nine Yanas or vehicles, with the three Inner Tantras special to the Nyingma tradition: Mahayoga, Anuyoga and Atiyoga. This is the Mind Direct Transmission Tib. Yinguang describes his religious attitude after joining the monastic order as a mixture of both despair and aspiration. He despairs of his poor fortune and lack of good karma, disabilities that lead him to believe that it would be impossible for him to attain Buddhahood through his own intelligence and exertions.

Thus, he says, "The Buddha was my only thought, the Pure Land my only goal. Lady Yueguo, an ardent Pure Land devotee, converts her entire household to Pure Land practice with the exception of one young maidservant. One day, the lady admonishes the maid, who awakens to her own sinfulness and sloth and repents. Not long afterward, the maidservant dies, and the lady has a dream of her in which the maid takes her to the Pure Land.

Once there, the lady is shown a pond with lotus blossoms of varying color and splendor. In Daniel Stevenson's translation, the maid interprets these differences to the lady as follows:. The lady of the house set off with the maid, and in time they came to two pools of water, both of which were filled with white lotus blossoms of varying size. Some were glorious. Others were withered or drooping. However, each one was different. Her ladyship said, "Why are they like this? To which the maid replied, "They all represent persons of the mundane world who have made the resolution to seek rebirth in the western pure land.

With the arousing of the [first] flicker of thought [of the pure land], one's wholesome [karmic] roots will have already sent forth a sprout. Eventually it will form a single blossom. However, because people's degrees of diligence are not the same, there are differences in the quality of the blossoms. For those who are unrelenting in their efforts, [the blossom] is fresh and resplendent. For those who are sporadic, it is withered. As the lady looks on, one of the blossoms opens, and a person presented as an exemplary practitioner emerges from his blossom decked in regal garments covering an adamantine body.

Another opens, but this blossom is withered and the occupant's raiment and body are far less distinguished. The lady responds by asking in what estate she will be reborn, and the maid assures her that her high level of practice and virtue will gain her rebirth at the highest level. It is important to recognize that both of the figures that the lady sees emerging from their lotus calyxes have achieved rebirth in the Pure Land; thus, for both of them, salvation is assured.

Nevertheless, the story shows a great concern for the level and quality of their rebirth, and the lady's own desire to know the degree of rebirth she will attain in the future demonstrates that this was not an insignificant question for the Chinese Pure Land practitioner. Rebirth was assured, but at what grade or level still mattered.

This in itself could. As Yinguang observes,. In other words, one obtains good results even without serious ethics or practice. In addition, the Pure Land is pleasant enough even at the lowest rebirth, so it should not really matter how long one resides there. Why then tax oneself with moral striving in order to shorten one's stay or improve one's status within it? It is absolutely essential to remember that Pure Land Buddhism in any region or time posits two goals on the path: rebirth in the Pure Land first, and then the attainment of Buddhahood.

The Pure Land is a subsidiary goal, a way-station on the path to Buddhahood, a place within which realization of the final goal becomes more feasible. This depends upon completing one's practice while there, which one must do for oneself, albeit with the Buddha's teaching and support. The fourth fascicle deals with the characteristics of various levels of teaching, and has six sections. The first section is very interesting for the purposes of this essay. According to Yuan, moral conduct helps even non-Buddhists avoid rebirth in the hells, or as hungry ghosts or animals, keeping them in the realms of humans and gods.

Buddhist practitioners attain the final goal proposed by the form of Buddhism in which they have taken refuge: some become arhats , some pratyekabuddhas , some bodhisattvas. Pure Land writers , one's very ability to practice Pure Land depends upon having these good roots. All of this necessarily involves taking the Three Refuges, then receiving and keeping the various sets of precepts. Yuan's presentation depends for its coherence on the assumptions that 1 the final goal is the attainment of Buddhahood; 2 rebirth in the Pure Land is a step along the way to this goal; and 3 ethical conduct is essential for producing the "good roots" that both goals require.

He clearly distinguishes the first two as separate goals, and posits the third as a prerequisite for both. The second factor that we will consider serves to bring all of the above arguments together. These thinkers clearly granted that if a Buddhist devotee engaged in religious practice, then some level of attainment was possible in this present life, and this would be "credited" toward the attainment of Buddhahood, which we now understand is the final goal.

While it might be quixotic for one to plan on achieving complete and perfect Buddhahood in this life, or to assume that one will continue on a trajectory of uninterrupted progress in lives to come, one's practice in this life still had some value in gaining one rebirth at a higher grade or level in the Pure Land, and this affected the length of time that it would take to achieve Buddhahood once there.

This difference in time could be considerable: from the instantaneous achievement of the highest of the high to the twelve kalpas that the lowest of the low spends locked in the lotus bud before even beginning practice. The final question we must answer is this: why should it matter how long one dwelt in the Pure Land? If one was serious about this motivation, then it made sense to choose the path that led to Buddhahood sooner rather than later, for the sooner one reached the goal, the sooner one could get about the task of saving all other sentient beings.

Yuan Hongdao also makes this connection. In the first fascicle of his Colloquy on the West , in a brief section devoted to the abstract philosophical issue of the "inconceivability of cause and effect," he uses the progression from practice to attainment to subsequent service as his example:.

For example, practicing nianfo is the cause, and seeing the buddha is the effect. Seeing the buddha is the cause, and becoming a buddha is the effect. Becoming a buddha is the cause, and saving all sentient beings. The fact that Yuan brings this up as a casual illustration to make another point demonstrates that he took it very much for granted: the purpose of Pure Land practice was Buddhahood, and the purpose of Buddhahood was compassionate service to liberate other sentient beings.

Jixing Chewu makes the same point in much the same way. As a way of illustrating the simultaneity of past, present, and future, he says:. The very moment of contemplating the buddha nianfo is the very moment of seeing the buddha and becoming the buddha. The three margins of time are all a single, identical time; there is no before and after. Like Yuan, Chewu takes this progression so much for granted that he uses it without further elaboration to illustrate another point, knowing that his audience will accept it unquestioningly.

Yinguang is more explicit in connecting rebirth in the Pure Land with the aspiration to achieve Buddhahood for the sake of others:. In fact, the concluding section of his Treatise Resolving Doubts About the Pure Land contains a ritual formula to be used by those embarking on the Pure Land path in which the new convert makes this aspiration explicit:. I ask only that when I die, I may be reborn in the highest grade, so that upon seeing the Buddha and hearing the teachings, I may at once attain to the Unborn.

Afterwards, without separating from the Pure Land, I will enter into all ten directions universally. With the stream or against it, using all manner of expedient means, I will carry this teaching to all places, and liberate all beings. Not a single moment will I rest in all future times. In space without limit, I vow to reach the furthest extremity. If I do not think of universal liberation, but seek only to benefit myself, then I am deficient as to the principle. If the mind is not pacified, how much more will I not generate the Great Mind? This being so, then externally I will not attain sympathetic resonance ganying with all of the buddhas, and internally, I will not be able to accommodate my own fundamental nature.

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Above, I will not be able to attain the perfect Buddha-way, and below, I will not be able to benefit the multitude of beings. Unless one's mind and the Buddha's mind are consonant in this manner, one will not create ganying , and will not elicit the deployment of the Buddha's other-power and attain rebirth in the Pure Land. Furthermore, Chewu emphasizes the value of getting to Buddhahood expeditiously, explaining that true compassion for others entails the desire to gain the ability to render aid as quickly as possible:.

Therefore, I need to generate the great mind of enlightenment in accordance with nature, and, having generated it, cultivate great practices.