Shurangama-Chapter 2-2


Chapter 2-2

“All of you good people, I have often said that form and mind and all conditions, as well as dharmas pertaining to the mind – all the conditioned dharmas – are manifestations of the mind only. Your bodies and your minds all appear within the wonder of the bright, true, essential, wonderful mind. 2:50

”Why do I say that you have lost track of what is fundamentally wonderful in you, the perfect, wonderful bright mind, and that in the midst of your bright and enlightened nature, you mistake the false for the real because of ignorance and delusion? 2:52

”Mental dimness turns into dull emptiness. This emptiness, in the dimness, unites with darkness to become form. 2:52

”Stimulated by false thinking, the form takes the shape of a body. 2:53

”As causal conditions come together there are perpetual internal disturbances which tend to gallop outside. Such inner disturbances are often mistaken for the nature of mind. 2:54

”The primary misconception about the mind and body is the false view that the mind dwells in the physical body. 2:54

”You do not know that the physical body, as well as the mountains, the rivers, empty space, and the great earth are all within the wonderful bright true mind. 2:55

”It is like ignoring hundreds of thousands of clear pure seas and taking notice of only a single bubble, seeing it as the entire ocean, as the whole expanse of great and small seas. 2:55

”You people are doubly deluded among the deluded. Such inversion does not differ from that caused by my lowered hand. The Thus Come One says you are most pitiable.” 2:56

Having received the Buddha’s compassionate rescue and profound instruction, Ananda’s tears fell, and he folded his hands and said to the Buddha, “I have heard these wonderful sounds of the Buddha and have realized that the wonderful bright mind is fundamentally perfect; it is the eternally dwelling mind-ground. 2:58

”But now in awakening to the Dharma-sounds that the Buddha is speaking, it is my conditioned mind which I use to contemplate them reverently. Having just obtained the mind, I do not acknowledge that it is the fundamental mind-ground. 2:59

”I pray that the Buddha will take pity on me and proclaim the perfect sound to pull out my doubts by the roots and enable me to return to the unsurpassed Way.” 2:60

The Buddha told Ananda, “You still listen to the Dharma with the conditioned mind, and so the Dharma becomes conditioned as well, and you do not obtain the Dharma-nature. It is like when someone points his finger at the moon to show it to someone else. Guided by the finger, that person should see the moon. If he looks at the finger instead and mistakes it for the moon, he loses not only the moon but the finger also. Why? He mistakes the pointing finger for the bright moon. 2:61

”Not only does he lose the finger, but he also fails to recognize light and darkness. Why? He mistakes the substance of the finger for the bright nature of the moon, and so he does not understand the two natures of light and darkness. The same is true of you. 2:62

”If you take what distinguishes the sound of my speaking Dharma to be your mind, then that mind itself, apart from the sound which is distinguished, should have a nature which makes distinctions. It is like the guest who lodges overnight at an inn; he stops temporarily and then goes on. He does not dwell there permanently, whereas the innkeeper does not go anywhere: he is the host of the inn. 2:64

”Likewise, if it is truly your mind, it does not go anywhere. However, in the absence of sound it has no discriminating nature of its own. Can you tell the reason why? 2:65

”This, then, applies not only to the distinguishing of sound; in distinguishing my appearance, there is no distinction-making nature apart from the mark of form. 2:65

”Thus even when the making of distinctions is totally absent, when there is no form and no emptiness – the obscurity which Goshali and the others take to be the ‘profound truth’ – in the absence of causal conditions, the distinction-making nature ceases to exist. 2:66

”How can we say that the nature of your mind plays the part of host since everything perceived by it returns to something else?” 2:67

Ananda said, “If every state of our mind returns to something else as its cause, then why does the wonderful bright original mind mentioned by the Buddha return nowhere? I hold out the hope that the Buddha will shower us with such compassion as to enlighten us on this point.” 2:68

The Buddha said to Ananda, “As you now see me, the essence of your seeing is fundamentally bright. If the profound bright original mind is compared to the moon, the essence of your seeing is the second moon rather than its reflection. 2:69

”You should listen attentively, for I am now going to show you the place of no returning. 2:70

”Ananda, this great lecture hall is open to the east. It is flooded with light when the sun rises in the sky. It is dark at midnight during a new moon or when obscured by clouds or fog. Looking out through open doors and windows your vision is unimpeded; facing walls or houses your vision is hindered. Your vision is causally conditioned in such places where there are forms of distinctive features; in dull void, you can see only emptiness. Your vision will be distorted when the objects of seeing are shrouded in dust and vapor; you will perceive clearly when the air is fresh. 2:70

”Ananda, observe all these transitory characteristics as I now return each to its place of origin. What are the basic origins? Ananda, among all these transitions, the ‘light’ returns to the sun. Why? Without the sun there is no light; therefore the reason for light belongs with the sun, and so it can be returned to the sun. 2:73

”’Darkness’ returns to the new moon. ‘Penetration’ returns to the doors and windows while ‘obstruction’ returns to the walls and eaves. ‘Conditions’ return to distinctions. ‘Emptiness’ returns to dull emptiness. ‘Darkness’ and ‘distortion’ return to the mist and haze. Bright ‘purity’ returns to freshness, and nothing that exists in this world goes beyond these kinds. 2:73

”To which of the eight states of perception will the essence of your seeing return? Why do I ask? The answer lies in the fact that if it is returned to brightness, you will not see darkness when there is no light. Although such states of perception as light, darkness, and the like differ from one another, your seeing remains unchanged. 2:75

”That which can be returned to other sources is clearly not you; that which can be returned nowhere is none other than you. 2:76

”Therefore I know that your mind is fundamentally wonderful, bright, and pure. You yourself are confused and deluded. You miss what is fundamental, and you are caught in the turning wheel of the six paths, tossing and floating on the stormy sea of birth and death all the time. No wonder the Thus Come One says that you are the most pitiable of creatures.” 2:78

Ananda said, “I recognize that the seeing-nature does not return to anything, but how can I come to know that it is my true nature?” 2:80

The Buddha told Ananda, “Now I have a question for you. At this point you have not yet attained the purity of no outflows. Blessed by the Buddha’s spiritual strength, you are able to see into the first dhyana heavens without any obstruction, just as Aniruddha looks at Jambudvipa with such clarity as he might an amala fruit in the palm of his hand. 2:81

”Bodhisattvas can see hundreds of thousands of realms. The Thus Come Ones of the ten directions see everything throughout the pure lands as numerous as fine motes of dust. Living beings’ sight does not extend beyond a fraction of an inch. 2:87

”Ananda, as you and I now look at the palace where the four heavenly kings reside, and inspect all that moves in the water, on dry land, and in the air, some are dark and some are bright, varying in shape and appearance, yet all are nothing but dust before us – distinctions and obstructions. 2:89

”Among them you should distinguish which is self and which is other. I ask you now to select from within your seeing which is the substance of the self and which is the appearance of things. 2:90

”Ananda, if you take a good look at everything everywhere within the range of your vision extending from the palaces of the sun and moon to the seven gold mountain ranges, all that you see is not you, but are things of different features and lights. At closer range you will gradually see clouds floating, birds flying, wind blowing, dust rising, trees, plants, rivers, mountains, grasses, animals, people, all of which are not you, but things. 2:91

”Ananda, all things, near and far, have the nature of things. Although each is distinctly different, they are seen with the same pure essence of seeing. Thus all the categories of things have their individual distinctions, but the seeing-nature has no differences. This essential wonderful brightness is most certainly your seeing-nature. 2:94

”If seeing were a thing, then you should also be able to see my seeing. 2:96

”If you say you see my seeing, when we both look at the same thing, then when I am not seeing, why don’t you see my not-seeing? 2:96

”If you do see my not-seeing, it is clearly not the thing that I am not seeing. If you do not see my not-seeing, then it is clearly not a thing, and how can you say it is not you? 2:97

”What is more, if your seeing is a thing, things should also see you when you see things. With substance and nature mixed up together, you and I and everyone in the world are no longer in order. 2:100

”Ananda, if, when you see, it is you and not I who see, then the seeing-nature pervades everywhere. Therefore whose is it if it is not yours? 2:101

”Why do you have doubts about your own true nature and come to me seeking verification, thinking your nature is not true?. 2:102

Ananda said to the Buddha, “World Honored One, given that this seeing-nature is certainly mine and does not belong to anything else, when the Thus Come One and I regard the palace of the Four Heavenly Kings with its supreme store of jewels and stay at the palace of the sun and moon, this seeing completely pervades the lands of the Saha world. Upon returning to the sublime abode, I only see the monastic grounds and in the pure central hall I only see the eaves and corridors. 2:103

”World Honored One, that is how the seeing is. At first its substance pervaded everywhere throughout the one realm, but now in the midst of this room it fills one room only. Does the seeing shrink from great to small, or do the walls and eaves press in and cut it off? Now I do not know where the meaning in this lies and hope the Buddha will let fall his vast compassion and proclaim it for me thoroughly.” 2:104

The Buddha told Ananda, “All the aspects of everything in the world, such as big and small, inside and outside, are classed as the dust before you. You should not say the seeing stretches and shrinks. 2:107

”Consider the example of a square container in which a square of emptiness is seen. I ask you further: is the square emptiness that is seen in the square container a fixed square shape, or is it not fixed as a square shape? 2:108

”If it is a fixed square shape, when it is switched to a round container the emptiness would not be round. If it is not a fixed shape, then when it is in the square container it should not be a square-shaped emptiness. 2:108

”You say you do not know where the meaning lies. The nature of the meaning is thus; how can you speak of its location? 2:109

”Ananda, if you now wished there to be neither squareness nor roundness, you would only need to take the container away. The substance of emptiness has no shape, and so you should not say that you would also have to take the shape away from the emptiness. 2:110

”If, as you ask, your seeing shrinks and becomes small when you enter a room, then when you look up at the sun is your seeing pulled out until it reaches the sun’s surface? If you build walls and eaves which can press in and cut off your seeing why then is there no evidence of a joining when you drill a small hole? Therefore, that idea is incorrect. 2:111

”From beginningless time until now, all living beings have mistaken themselves for things and, having lost the original mind, are turned around by things. That is why they contemplate bigness and smallness in the midst of all this. 2:111

”If you can turn things around, then you are the same as the Thus Come One. 2:112

”With body and mind perfect and bright, you are an unmoving place of the Way. 2:114

”The tip of a single fine hair can completely contain the lands of the ten directions.. 2:114

>> Continue to Chapter 2-3


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