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Sūtra 30 (posted 05/2011, updated 12/2011)  Book information on Home page

清淨毘尼方廣經
Vaipulya Sūtra of the Pure Vinaya

Translated from Sanskrit into Chinese in the Later Qin Dynasty by
The Tripiṭaka Master Kumārajīva from Kucha

Preface

Thus I have heard:
    At one time the Buddha was staying on the Gṛdhrakūṭa Mountain, near the city of Rājagṛha, together with 8,000 great bhikṣus and 12,000 Bodhisattva-Mahāsattvas, as well as gods from desire heavens and form heavens, and god-sons from pure abode heavens. Surrounded by a reverent multitude in innumerable hundreds and thousands, the World-Honored One expounded the Dharma.
    At that time a god-son named Silent Taming Tone came to be seated in the assembly. He rose from his seat, bared his right shoulder, knelt on his right knee, and joined his palms, facing the Buddha. He asked, “World-Honored One, where does Mañjuśrī live? The good men in this multitude long to see him and hear the Dharma from him.”
    The Buddha told the god-son Silent Taming Tone, “God-Son, in the east, passing 10,000 Buddha Lands from here, there is a Buddha Land called Treasure Holder. In that land resides a Buddha called Treasure Appearance, the Tathāgata, Arhat, Samyak-Saṁbuddha, who is now expounding the Dharma. Mañjuśrī lives in that land, where he expounds the Dharma to Bodhisattva-Mahāsattvas.”

The Request to Invite Mañjuśrī Bodhisattva

The god-son said, “World-Honored One, I pray only that you will display Your [auspicious] sign and make Mañjuśrī visit our land. Why? Because, World-Honored One, hearing the Dharma from voice-hearers or Pratyekabuddhas cannot compare with hearing it from Mañjuśrī. Except for the Tathāgata, no other Dharma expounder can surpass him. When Mañjuśrī expounds the Dharma, all māra palaces are shut down and all māra multitudes are subjugated. Those with exceeding arrogance end their exceeding arrogance; those who have not activated the bodhi mind activate it; those who have already activated the bodhi mind never regress from it; those who can be drawn into the Dharma are drawn into it; those who should be abandoned [for now] are abandoned. All [hearers] follow the Tathāgata and wish to make the Dharma stay in the world for a long time.”
    Knowing the god-son Silent Taming Tone’s mind, the World-Honored One, from the one white hair between His eyebrows, emitted a radiance that illuminated this Buddha Land and 10,000 Buddha Lands in the east, reaching the land called Treasure Holder.
    When the Bodhisattva-Mahāsattvas in Treasure Holder saw this radiance, they asked Treasure Appearance Buddha, “World-Honored One, why is such radiance displayed everywhere in our land?”
    Treasure Appearance Buddha told the Bodhisattvas, “Good men, going west from here, passing 10,000 Buddha Lands, there is a land called Sahā. In that land resides a Buddha called Śākyamuni, the Tathāgata, Arhat, Samyak-Saṁbuddha, who is now expounding the Dharma. That Buddha has emitted from His one white hair a beam of light, which has passed across 10,000 Buddha Lands to illuminate our land.”
    Those Bodhisattvas asked, “World-Honored One, Why has Śākyamuni, the Tathāgata, Arhat, Samyak-Saṁbuddha, emitted from that one hair a beam of light?”
    That Buddha answered, “Assembled in Śākyamuni Tathāgata’s land are innumerable thousands of koṭis of Bodhisattvas and His four groups of disciples, who wish to see Mañjuśrī the Youth and hear him expound the Dharma. For this reason, Śākyamuni Tathāgata has emitted from that hair a beam of light.”
    Then Treasure Appearance Buddha told Mañjuśrī, “You may go to Sahā. Śākyamuni, the Tathāgata, Arhat, Samyak-Saṁbuddha, will be delighted to see you. The multitudes there wish to see you and hear the Dharma from you.”
    Mañjuśrī responded to that World-Honored One, “I too am aware of this auspicious display of radiance.”

The Arrival of Mañjuśrī Bodhisattva in the Sahā World

Then Mañjuśrī the Dharma Prince, together with 10,000 Bodhisattvas, bowed his head down at Treasure Appearance Buddha’s feet. In the time of a strong man extending or bending his arm, they disappeared from Treasure Holder and arrived in Sahā. They stood in the open sky without revealing themselves. As an offering to Śākyamuni Tathāgata and the multitudes, they showered, to knee deep, various kinds of flowers in assorted colors and with pleasing fragrances. When the multitudes saw the rain of flowers, they asked the Buddha, “World-Honored One, what is the meaning of this sign, this great rain of flowers?”
    The Buddha answered, “Good men, it was sent by Mañjuśrī the Dharma Prince and his 10,000 Bodhisattvas, who have arrived here. Standing in the open sky without revealing themselves, they rained down flowers as an offering to me.”
    The multitudes spoke with one voice, “World-Honored One, we wish to see Mañjuśrī the Dharma Prince and his Bodhisattva-Mahāsattvas.”
    Then Mañjuśrī and the 10,000 Bodhisattvas descended from the sky. After they bowed down at the Buddha’s feet and circled Him, they conjured up seats by spiritual power and sat on one side. The god-son Silent Taming Tone said, “World-Honored One, I would like to ask Mañjuśrī the Dharma Prince to speak about whatever the multitudes wish to hear.”
    The Buddha told the god-son, “You may ask Mañjuśrī the Dharma Prince about your doubts.”


The Teachings

The Highest Truth

So the god-son Silent Taming Tone asked Mañjuśrī, “Why do you enjoy expounding the Dharma in Treasure Appearance Buddha’s land?”
    Mañjuśrī answered, “God-Son, [the sentient beings] there neither invoke nor eradicate greed, neither invoke nor eradicate anger, neither invoke nor eradicate delusion, neither invoke nor eradicate vexation. Why? Because dharmas with no birth have no death.”
    The god-son marveled, “Mañjuśrī, the sentient beings in that land neither invoke greed, anger, or delusion, nor eradicate any of them?”
    Mañjuśrī answered, “They do neither, God-Son.”
    The god-son next asked, “What Dharma does that Buddha pronounce?”
    “He pronounces that dharmas have neither birth nor death. Why? Because the Buddha in that land teaches neither eradication [of afflictions] nor realization [of the truth]. The sentient beings there value the highest truth, not the worldly truth.”
    The god-son asked, “Mañjuśrī, why is it called the highest truth?”
    Mañjuśrī replied, “God-Son, it reveals that dharmas have neither birth nor death, neither place nor no place, and that they are neither appearance nor void space, neither perceptible appearance nor imperceptible appearance, neither the one appearance nor no appearance, neither ending nor not ending, neither terminable nor interminable. Such a pronouncement reveals the highest meaning. God-Son, it pertains to neither the mind [in stillness] nor the mind in continuous thinking, nor words; neither this nor that, nor in-between. Such a pronouncement reveals the highest meaning. God-Son, the truth that cannot be captured and is beyond words is called the highest truth. Why? Because the Buddha says that all sounds are false [appearances].”
    The god-son asked, “Mañjuśrī, can the Tathāgata’s words be false?”
    “God-Son, the Tathāgata’s words are neither true nor false. Why? Because the Tathāgata, neither dependent on nor independent of causality, has no dual appearance and speaks no words, His mind abiding nowhere. Hence, His words are neither true nor false, beyond these two opposites. God-Son, what is your opinion? Are the words spoken by a person magically conjured up by the Tathāgata true or false?”
    “They are neither true nor false. Why? Because a conjured person is unreal.”
    Mañjuśrī said, “Indeed, indeed! God-Son, because dharmas can never be captured, the Tathāgata’s words are neither true nor false. Thus, they are called non-dual.”
    The god-son asked, “Mañjuśrī, how does the Tathāgata expound the highest truth?”
    Mañjuśrī answered, “God-Son, no one can expound the highest truth. Why? Because the speaking and the speaker are both empty.”
    As Mañjuśrī expounded the Dharma, 500 bhikṣus eradicated their afflictions and liberated their minds, and 200 god-sons acquired the Endurance in Dharmas.
    Then the god-son Silent Taming Tone said to Mañjuśrī, “The highest truth is very hard to understand.”
    Mañjuśrī agreed, “Indeed, indeed! God-Son, the highest truth is very hard to understand, especially for those who do not have the right training.”
    The god-son asked, “Mañjuśrī, how does a Bodhisattva not do the right training?”
    Mañjuśrī answered, “If he does not say that he knows, eradicates, trains for, and realizes something, it is called the right training. If he says that he should know, eradicate, train for, and realize something, it is not called the right training. Why not? Because this statement, with such appearances of greed and attachment, is a ludicrous statement.”
    The god-son asked, “Mañjuśrī, how should a Bodhisattva do the right training?”
    “God-Son, he should train to see the equality of true suchness, the dharma realm, and the five rebellious acts; the equality of the dharma realm and various views; the equality of ordinary beings, those who are still learning, and those who have nothing more to learn; the equality of voice-hearers, Pratyekabuddhas, Bodhisattvas, and Buddhas; the equality of saṁsāra and nirvāṇa; and the equality of afflictions and disputes.”
    The god-son asked, “Mañjuśrī, why are afflictions and disputes equal?”
    Mañjuśrī replied, “They are equal in [the Three Samādhis:] emptiness, no appearance, and no wish. Why? Because in emptiness, there is no differentiation, just like the sameness of the void space in a precious vessel and the void space in a cheap pot. Thus, God-Son, the emptiness of afflictions and the emptiness of disputes are the same, without any difference.”

Comparison between Bodhisattvas and Voice-Hearers

The god-son asked, “Mañjuśrī, do Bodhisattvas train according to the holy truth?”
    Mañjuśrī answered, “God-Son, if Bodhisattvas did not train according to the holy truth, how could they expound the Dharma to voice-hearers? God-Son, training according to the holy truth, Bodhisattvas observe [all dharmas] while voice-hearers do not; Bodhisattvas have expertise while voice-hearers do not; Bodhisattvas establish connections [with sentient beings] while voice-hearers do not.
    “Moreover, training according to the holy truth, Bodhisattvas make correct observations and do not enter nirvāṇa.1 Equipped with skillful means, they do not turn away from saṁsāra to nirvāṇa. Training according to the holy truth, Bodhisattvas learn the entire Buddha Dharma.
    “God-Son, as an analogy, someone chooses not to be a great master with companions, and crosses the wilderness alone. Terrified by his experience, he never dares to return. God-Son, likewise a voice-hearer, out of fear of repeated birth and death, does not return to the world, and thus abandons all sentient beings. Failing to learn the entire Buddha Dharma, he has no skillful means. He trains according to the holy truth alone.
    “God-Son, a great master with companions has retinues and assets. He crosses the wilderness with plentiful provisions as he amasses great benefits. God-Son, a Bodhisattva is such a great master with companions because he has retinues and acquires benefits from the Dharma. Equipped with Dharma provisions, including the six pāramitās and the Four Drawing-in Dharmas, he establishes connections with all sentient beings. As he observes the whirlpool of birth and death, he learns the entire Buddha Dharma. From one Buddha Land to another, he trains according to the holy truth by skillful means.
    “God-Son, as a loosely woven cloth steeped briefly in the fragrance of campaka, sumana, or mañjūṣaka flowers quickly loses its fragrance, likewise a voice-hearer trains quickly according to the holy truth. With no vows to fulfill, he enters nirvāṇa. He neither smells the fragrances of [the dharma body with its five aspects]—precepts, samādhi, wisdom, liberation, and the knowledge and views of liberation—nor ends the lingering habits of his afflictions.
    “God-Son, as a silk robe that has been steeped in the fragrance of precious celestial agalloch wood for 100,000 years is pure, fragrant, and valued by humans and gods, likewise a Bodhisattva trains according to the holy truth for a billion koṭi kalpas, during which time, to fulfill his original vows, he does not enter nirvāṇa. Not only does he smell the fragrances of precepts, samādhi, wisdom, liberation, and the knowledge and views of liberation, but he ends the lingering habits of his afflictions. He is esteemed by humans, gods, asuras, gandharvas, and others.”

The Voice-Hearers in Treasure Holder

The god-son Silent Taming Tone next asked Mañjuśrī, “In the land of Treasure Appearance Buddha, the Tathāgata, Arhat, Samyak-Saṁbuddha, how do the voice-hearers go through their training?”
    Mañjuśrī replied, “God-Son, the voice-hearers in that land neither protect the dharma realm nor abide in faith, nor do they teach others to believe. They are not of the eight holy ranks, yet they have transcended the eight evil ways. They are not Srotāpannas [achievers of the first voice-hearer fruit], yet they have transcended the evil life-paths.2 They are not Sakṛdāgāmins [achievers of the second voice-hearer fruit], yet they teach and transform all sentient beings. They are not Anāgāmins [achievers of the third voice-hearer fruit], yet they know that dharmas neither come nor go. They are not Arhats, yet they accept offerings from the Three-Thousand Large Thousandfold World. They are not [truly] voice-hearers, and they can retain the Dharma pronounced by all Buddhas.
    “They do not eradicate greed, yet they are not driven by greed. They do not eradicate anger, yet they are not driven by anger. They do not eradicate delusion, yet they are not driven by delusion. Not eradicating their own afflictions, they enable sentient beings to eradicate their afflictions. Leaving behind the hidden hindrances to all dharmas, they progress energetically. Having transcended their karmic rebirths, they are reborn at will.3 Having no perception of the appearances of selves, humans, and sentient beings,4 they teach and transform sentient beings. Without the concept of taking or giving, they regard all sentient beings as a pure fortune field [for their planting]. They cultivate right mindfulness without thinking or remembering. Knowing that all dharmas have neither birth nor death, they endeavor to end [the evils]. Without attachment to their body or mind, they display their transcendental powers. To complete their training in actions, they deliver all sentient beings to the shore of nirvāṇa according to their capacities. To develop their power, they shatter the bondage [of their afflictions]. To train for bodhi, they acquire [sarvajña] the overall wisdom-knowledge.5 To attain bodhi, they realize that which is beyond causality. To train in samādhi, they head for the true reality. To unfold their wisdom, they penetrate the dharma realm. To acquire wisdom-knowledge, they end their ignorance [of the truth]. To achieve liberation, they end the two mental actions [the passions and the wrong views].
    “Their physical-eye sees all sentient beings, all Buddha Lands, and all Buddhas. Their god-eye sees each sentient being die in one place and be reborn in another. Their wisdom-eye sees all sentient beings undergo birth and death without coming or going. Their dharma-eye sees the equality of all dharmas. Their Buddha-eye sees the entire Buddha realm. Their god-ear hears the entire Buddha Dharma, which they accept and uphold. Their one mind knows the mental actions of all sentient beings and their past lives in past kalpas. Equipped with a billion koṭi transcendental powers, they can travel to innumerable Buddha Lands. Having eradicated their afflictions, they do not enter nirvāṇa for their liberation. They are visible but their bodies are not physical bodies. They speak but their words are emptiness. They think but their minds do not move. Their appearances are dignified and adorned with wonderful features and with garlands of their merits. Their awesome merits are unsurpassed, their renown reaching far and wide.
    “Wearing the fragrance of the pure precepts, they are uncontaminated by worldly dharmas and untainted by their afflictions. Never using abusive speech, they playfully display their transcendental powers. With a broad knowledge, they speak powerfully, like thunderclaps. Their unimpeded speech upholds the ultimate truth. Skilled in making changes, they dispel the darkness and illuminate all with great wisdom. They are always protected and remembered by Buddhas. Constantly thinking of the Bodhi Way, their mindfulness is like the ocean, their samādhi is like Mount Sumeru, and their endurance is like the great earth. Like the god-king Śakra, they valiantly subjugate māras, and no one can disdain them. Their meditation is pure, quiet, and unequaled, like the boundless sky. God-Son, the merits of the voice-hearers in Treasure Appearance Buddha’s land surpass what I have described.”
    As Mañjuśrī expounded the Dharma, in the assembly 500 bhikṣus, 500 bhikṣuṇīs, 500 upāsakas, and 500 upāsikās, as well as 5,000 god-sons, aspired for a voice-hearer’s wisdom. They said to the Buddha, “World-Honored One, we wish to be voice-hearers under Treasure Appearance Tathāgata.”
    Mañjuśrī said, “Good men, you cannot be reborn in His land with a voice-hearer’s mind. You can be reborn in that land only by activating the unsurpassed bodhi mind. Those who are reborn there have all activated the anuttara-samyak-saṁbodhi mind.”
    They immediately activated the unsurpassed bodhi mind. Then the Tathāgata bestowed upon them the prophecy of their rebirth in that land.

The All-Encompassing Bodhisattva Vinaya

At that time the god-son Silent Taming Tone asked Mañjuśrī, “What does Bodhisattva Vinaya mean, and what does Voice-Hearer Vinaya mean?”6
    Mañjuśrī answered, “God-Son, the vinaya based on fear of the Three Realms of Existence is the Voice-Hearer Vinaya; the vinaya for one to undergo innumerable births and deaths in the Three Realms in order to deliver all sentient beings is the Bodhisattva Vinaya. The vinaya that disdains acquiring merit for one’s adornment is the Voice-Hearer Vinaya; the vinaya for one to accumulate merit for one’s adornment is the Bodhisattva Vinaya. The vinaya for one to shatter the bondage of one’s afflictions is the Voice-Hearer Vinaya; the vinaya for one to enable all sentient beings to shatter the bondage of their afflictions is the Bodhisattva Vinaya. The vinaya concerned about neither learning the entire Buddha Dharma nor bringing all sentient beings to maturity is the Voice-Hearer Vinaya; the vinaya concerned about both learning the entire Buddha Dharma and bringing all sentient beings to maturity is the Bodhisattva Vinaya. The vinaya unrecognized by gods is the Voice-Hearer Vinaya; the vinaya recognized by all gods in the Three-Thousand Large Thousandfold World is the Bodhisattva Vinaya. The vinaya dismissed by all māras is the Voice-Hearer Vinaya; the vinaya feared and hated by all māras is the Bodhisattva Vinaya. The vinaya that illuminates one person only is the Voice-Hearer Vinaya; the vinaya that illuminates the whole world is the Bodhisattva Vinaya. The vinaya for one to observe one’s mind only is the Voice-Hearer Vinaya; the vinaya for one to learn the entire Buddha Dharma is the Bodhisattva Vinaya. The vinaya for one to progress step by step is the Voice-Hearer Vinaya; the vinaya that enables one to know everything in one thought is the Bodhisattva Vinaya. The vinaya that destroys the seeds of the Three Jewels is the Voice-Hearer Vinaya; the vinaya that preserves the seeds of the Three Jewels is the Bodhisattva Vinaya. The vinaya that, after its violation, is irreparable, like broken pottery, is the Voice-Hearer Vinaya; the vinaya that, after its violation, is reparable, like a damaged gold or silver vessel, is the Bodhisattva Vinaya. The vinaya without skillful means is the Voice-Hearer Vinaya; the vinaya that fosters skillful means is the Bodhisattva Vinaya. The vinaya that will bring one neither the Ten Powers nor the Four Fearlessnesses is the Voice-Hearer Vinaya; the vinaya that enables one to achieve both the Ten Powers and the Four Fearlessnesses is the Bodhisattva Vinaya. The vinaya that will bring one few fruit trees is the Voice-Hearer Vinaya; the vinaya that will bring one orchards, towers, and delight in the Dharma is the Bodhisattva Vinaya. The vinaya lacking the six pāramitās and the Four Drawing-in Dharmas is the Voice-Hearer Vinaya; the vinaya containing the six pāramitās and the Four Drawing-in Dharmas is the Bodhisattva Vinaya. The vinaya that does not end one’s habits is the Voice-Hearer Vinaya; the vinaya that ends one’s habits is the Bodhisattva Vinaya.
    “Furthermore, God-Son, in regard to scope and limit, the vinaya that brings one little merit and little achievement in precepts, samādhi, wisdom, liberation, and knowledge and views of liberation is the Voice-Hearer Vinaya. The vinaya that brings one immeasurable merit and immeasurable achievement in precepts, samādhi, wisdom, liberation, and knowledge and views of liberation is the Bodhisattva Vinaya.”
    The World-Honored One praised Mañjuśrī, “Very good! Very good! Mañjuśrī, quickly pronounce the Bodhisattva Vinaya. Mañjuśrī, let me speak a few words to complement your meaning. Mañjuśrī, using two people as an analogy, one person praises cow trackes while the other praises the great ocean. Mañjuśrī, what is your opinion? What merit of the cow tracks can the first person praise?”
    Mañjuśrī answered, “While the great ocean is immense, the cow tracks are small. What praiseworthy merit do they have?”
    The Buddha said, “Indeed, indeed. The Voice-Hearer Vinaya is like cow tracks, and its merit is too small to praise. Likewise are the merits of voice-hearers. Mañjuśrī, what is your opinion? What merit of the great ocean can the second person praise?”
    Mañjuśrī answered, “The great ocean has immeasurable praiseworthy merit.”
    The Buddha said, “As the great ocean has immeasurable praiseworthy merit, so too has the Bodhisattva Vinaya. Know that the Mahāyāna is similar [in its immeasurable praiseworthy merit].”
    As the Dharma was expounded, 12,000 god-sons activated the anuttara-samyak-saṁbodhi mind. They said, “World-Honored One, we should learn the Bodhisattva Vinaya and tame all sentient beings, countless in number.”
    Then the god-son Silent Taming Tone asked Mañjuśrī, “Which vinaya do you learn—the Voice-Hearer Vinaya, the Pratyekabuddha Vinaya, or the Bodhisattva Vinaya?”
    Mañjuśrī asked, “God-Son, what is your opinion? Can there be an ocean that does not accept water from all sources?”
    The god-son answered, “An ocean always accepts water from all sources.”
    Mañjuśrī said, “Indeed, God-Son, the Bodhisattva Vinaya is like the great ocean, and it encompasses all vinayas, including the Voice-Hearer Vinaya and the Pratyekabuddha Vinaya. The Bodhisattva Vinaya is all vinayas.”

The True Reality of the Vinaya and One’s Afflictions

The god-son asked, “Mañjuśrī, what does vinaya mean?”
    Mañjuśrī answered, “To subjugate one’s afflictions and to know one’s afflictions are called vinaya.”
    The god-son asked, “Mañjuśrī, how does one subjugate one’s afflictions and how can one know one’s afflictions?”
    Mañjuśrī answered, “One’s afflictions arise from wrong thinking—thinking of self, others, or both—and from the wrong views,7 both of which arise from one’s ignorance [of the truth]. If one can focus on right mindfulness, not thinking of self, others, or both, and if one can discard the wrong views, one will end one’s ignorance and the two mental actions [the passions and the wrong views], and one’s afflictions will not arise. God-Son, the non-arising of one’s afflictions is called the ultimate vinaya.
    “It is called knowledge of one’s afflictions if one knows that one’s afflictions are unreal because they have no selves, no owners, no belongings, no place wherefrom they come, no place whereto they go, neither direction nor no direction, neither shape nor form, and because they neither converge nor accumulate, nor can they be found inside, outside, or in-between. God-Son, if one knows the character of a venomous snake, one can detoxify its venom. Similarly, if one knows the character of one’s afflictions, one can subjugate them.”
    The god-son asked, “What is meant by the character of one’s afflictions?”
    Mañjuśrī answered, “Thinking is the character of one’s afflictions. Without thinking, one’s afflictions do not arise. Whatever does not arise is not called an affliction. Afflictions that do not arise do not have a home. Without a home, there is nothing to burn and nowhere to stay. To have one’s afflictions staying nowhere is called the ultimate vinaya. This is called knowledge of the character of one’s afflictions.”
    The god-son asked, “Mañjuśrī, is subjugation of one’s afflictions something real or unreal?”
    Mañjuśrī said, "God-Son, as an analogy, someone dreams of being bitten by a venomous snake. He then takes medicine to relieve his pain. God-Son, what is your opinion? Is it true that he was bitten by a snake?”
    The god-son answered, “Mañjuśrī, it is not true. As the event is unreal, how does he remove the venom?”
    Mañjuśrī said, “As the venomous snake [in one’s dream] is unreal, so too is the antidote for its venom. We should understand that the holy vinayas are similar [to the antidote]. God-Son, you ask whether subjugation of one’s afflictions is real or unreal. God-Son, one might imagine that one has a self or no self, or has afflictions or no afflictions. If a self were real, then afflictions would also be real. However, neither a self or no self, nor afflictions or no afflictions, can be captured. Then, how does one subjugate one’s afflictions?
    “God-Son, dharmas are quiet because they have no birth, no [fixed] shape or form, and cannot be captured. Dharmas have no end because they have no birth. Dharmas have no birth because they are nonexistent. Dharmas have no death because they have no solidity. Dharmas have no act because they have neither doers nor selves. Dharmas have no selves because they have no control. Dharmas have no control because they are like the open sky. Dharmas do not come because they have no substance. Dharmas do not go because they are boundless. Dharmas do not stay because they have neither birth nor death, nor place. Dharmas [in true reality] are asaṁskṛta because they are free from afflictions. God-Son, realizing that dharmas are asaṁskṛta is their ultimate subjugation.”

The Right Training Doors

The god-son Silent Taming Tone next asked Mañjuśrī, “What Dharma Doors are available?”
    Mañjuśrī answered, “The wrong training door perpetuates one’s birth and death because one is not in command; the right training door leads one to nirvāṇa because one is in command. The door of doubts leads to hidden hindrances; the door of liberation frees from hidden hindrances. The thinking door multiplies afflictions; the no-thinking door leads to freedom from afflictions. The consciousness door leads to bondage of afflictions; the no-consciousness door frees from bondage of afflictions. The door of perception leads to bustling affairs; the door of stillness leads to quietness. The door of views increases arrogance; the door of emptiness eradicates arrogance. The door of evil friends leads to evil dharmas; the door of beneficent friends leads to good dharmas. The door of the wrong views plants roots of suffering; the door of the right views plants roots of goodness. The door of stinginess leads to poverty; the door of generosity amasses wealth. The door of violating the precepts leads to the evil life-paths; the door of observing the precepts leads to the good life-paths. The door of dispute hinders good dharmas; the door of tolerance supports good dharmas. The door of indolence piles mental filth; the door of diligence removes mental filth. The door of observation excites the mind; the door of meditation calms the mind. The door of stupidity raises silly goats; the door of wisdom is revealed through the Thirty-seven Elements of Bodhi.
    “The door of lovingkindness does not hinder wisdom-knowledge; the door of compassion is straight and true; the door of sympathetic joy receives Dharma treasures; and the door of equability frees one from [the extremes of] love and hate. The door of right mindfulness enables one not to lose one’s roots of goodness; the door of right endeavor supports the right actions; the door of instant travel is made with lightness of one’s body and mind. The door of roots of goodness is opened by faith. The door of power eradicates all afflictions. The door of awareness reveals all dharmas. The door of the Eightfold Right Path transcends all wrong paths.
    “Moreover, God-Son, the door of the bodhi mind leads to the entire Buddha Dharma and command of all dharmas, and encompasses all Dharma Doors. The door of drawing in sentient beings is opened by expounding the Dharma. The door of skillful means fits in any situation. The door of wisdom leads to the opposite shore of the mind streams of all sentient beings. The door of the six pāramitās is available in the Mahāyāna. The door of the six transcendental powers is illuminated by wisdom. The door of endurance in giving the Dharma as alms is never swayed.”

The Five No Interruptions on the Bodhisattva Way

The god-son next asked, “Mañjuśrī, what is the door of the dharma realm?”
    Mañjuśrī answered, “God-Son, the universal door is the door of the dharma realm.”
    The god-son asked, “What realm is the dharma realm?”
    Mañjuśrī answered, “The realm of all sentient beings is the dharma realm.”
    The god-son asked, “Mañjuśrī, does the dharma realm have a boundary?”
    “God-Son, what is your opinion? Does the open sky have a boundary?”
    “No.”
    Mañjuśrī said, “God-Son, just as the open sky has no boundary, so too the dharma realm has no boundary.”
    The god-son asked, “Mañjuśrī, do you know the dharma realm?”
    “The dharma realm does not know itself.”
    The god-son asked, “What do you need to know in order to make your statement?”
    “God-Son, what is your opinion? What does an echo know in order to sound?”
    The god-son answered, “Mañjuśrī, an echo knows nothing, and it sounds through causes and conditions.”
    “Similarly, for sentient beings’ sake, a Bodhisattva speaks.”
    The god-son asked, “Where do you abide in order to speak?”
    “God-Son, as a person conjured up by the Tathāgata abides and speaks, likewise I abide and speak.”
    The god-son said, “A person conjured up by the Tathāgata abides nowhere.”
    “God-Son, as a person conjured up by the Tathāgata abides nowhere and speaks, likewise all dharmas abide nowhere and act.”
    The god-son asked, “Mañjuśrī, if all dharmas abide nowhere, where do you abide in order to attain the unsurpassed bodhi?”
    Mañjuśrī answered, “God-Son, I abide in no interruption in order to attain the unsurpassed bodhi.”
    The god-son asked, “Where is this no interruption?”
    “This no interruption abides nowhere.”
    The god-son said, “Those in hell experience the five no interruptions.”
    “God-Son, indeed, indeed. The Tathāgata says that those who commit any of the five rebellious sins will definitely fall into [Avīci Hell] the hell of the five no interruptions. God-Son, I abide in another five no interruptions. God-Son, a Bodhisattva abides in these five no interruptions in order to attain the unsurpassed bodhi. What are they?
    “During the interval from his initial activation of the bodhi mind to his attainment of the unsurpassed bodhi, a Bodhisattva does not fall to the ground of voice-hearers and Pratyekabuddhas. This is called the first no interruption. He rescues all sentient beings without rest. This is called the second no interruption. He gives away everything without stinginess. This is called the third no interruption. He knows that dharmas have no birth, and he does not accommodate other views. This is called the fourth no interruption. Using his wisdom in accord with the ultimate truth, he is constantly vigilant of any thought that sees, knows, or hinders true enlightenment. This is called the fifth no interruption. This is called the fifth no interruption. If a Bodhisattva abides in these five no interruptions, he will definitely attain anuttara-samyak-saṁbodhi.”

The Emptiness of All Dharmas

The god-son asked, “Are there ordinary beings who abide in the five no interruptions in hell? Are there Bodhisattvas who abide in the other five no interruptions and attain the unsurpassed bodhi?”
    “Yes, there are.”
    The god-son asked, “For what reason?”
    “God-Son, all dharmas are empty. Penetrating this emptiness is called attaining bodhi. All dharmas [in true reality] are asaṁskṛta, with no birth, no arising, no appearance, and no wish. However, they appear to be born through causes and conditions. Realizing these causes and conditions is called realizing bodhi.”
    The god-son asked, “Who believes in this dharma [of emptiness]?”
    “Those who abide on neither this shore of saṁsāra nor that shore of nirvāṇa.”
    The god-son next asked, “Who understands this dharma?”
    “Those who do not hold the wrong view that one has an autonomous self.”
    The god-son next asked, “Who thinks of this dharma if abiding in neither this nor the opposite shore?”
    “Those who do not think of any dharma in effect think of this dharma.”
    The god-son next asked, “Who upholds this dharma?”
    “Those who do not uphold their afflictions uphold this dharma.”
    The god-son next asked, “Who will receive this sūtra?”
    “Those who are resolved to deliver all sentient beings will receive this sūtra.”
    The god-son next asked, “What shapes and forms do the deliverers assume?”
    “They assume forms, without grasping the forms of the five aggregates, the twelve fields, or the eighteen spheres.”
    The god-son next asked, “How do they act?”
    “They perform empty acts, no-appearance acts, and no-wish acts.”
    The god-son next asked, “Where do they head?”
    “God-Son, they head for the mental actions of all sentient beings and for the ultimate, realizing that their arrival is no arrival.”

Achieving the Six Pāramitās

The god-son asked, “Mañjuśrī, does a Bodhisattva ever regress?”
    “If a Bodhisattva regresses from the anuttara-samyak-saṁbodhi mind, he is not a Bodhisattva.”
    The god-son asked, “What does one give up?”
    “One gives up one’s afflictions and the ground of voice-hearers and Pratyekabuddhas.”
    The god-son next asked, “Who does not lose samādhi?”
    “Those whose samādhi is in balance do not lose it.”
    The god-son asked, “What is samādhi?”
    “The [meditation] state in which one does not make differentiations.”
    The god-son next asked, “Mañjuśrī, If dharmas have no difference [in their emptiness], who make differentiations?”
    “God-Son, those who do not know the equality of dharmas differentiate them into opposites. They take actions based on duality and are attached to duality. Those who know the equality of dharmas do not make differentiations, and they head for the ultimate equality.”
    The god-son next asked, “Mañjuśrī, are there Bodhisattvas who attain bodhi despite their afflictions?”
    “Yes, there are.”
    The god-son asked, “Who are they?”
    God-Son, Bodhisattvas who, knowing the afflictions of all sentient beings, invoke great compassion and activate the unsurpassed bodhi mind will attain bodhi. A Bodhisattva who eradicates only his own afflictions is actually a voice-hearer.”
    The god-son asked, “Are there those who achieve dāna-pāramitā despite their stinginess?”
    “Yes, there are.”
    “Who are they?”
    “God-Son, if Bodhisattvas, in protecting and supporting sentient beings, do not abandon the bodhi mind, this stinginess is called dāna-pāramitā.”
    The god-son next asked, “Are there those who achieve śīla-pāramitā despite their violation of the precepts?”
    “Yes, there are.”
    “Who are they?”
    “God-Son, if Bodhisattvas violate the precepts so that they can bring a great many benefits to all sentient beings, this violation of precepts is called śīla-pāramitā.”
    The god-son next asked, “Are there those who achieve kṣānti-pāramitā despite abandonment of their endurance of adversity?”
    “Yes, there are.”
    “Who are they?”
    “If Bodhisattvas abandon non-Buddhist precepts and resolutely observe the Buddha precepts, this abandonment of their endurance is called kṣānti-pāramitā.”
    The god-son next asked, “Are there those who achieve vīrya-pāramitā despite their indolence?”
    “Yes, there are.”
    “Who are they?”
    “If Bodhisattvas are indolent in cultivating the ground of voice-hearers and Pratyekabuddhas but make energetic progress in training for the unsurpassed bodhi, this indolence is called vīrya-pāramitā.”
    The god-son next asked, “Are there those who achieve dhyāna-pāramitā without a mind in meditation?”
    “Yes, there are.”
    “Who are they?”
    “God-Son, if Bodhisattvas do not invoke, even in a dream, the mind of a voice-hearer or Pratyekabuddha, they will achieve dhyāna-pāramitā without a mind in meditation.”
    The god-son next asked, “Are there those who achieve prajñā-pāramitā without wisdom?”
    “Yes, there are.”
    “Who are they?”
    “God-Son, if Bodhisattvas do not have the worldly knowledge to subdue insanity by using potions or incantations, but are concerned about bringing forth Dharma wisdom out of all sentient beings, they will achieve prajñā-pāramitā and acquire the overall wisdom-knowledge.”

Avoiding the Ground of Voice-Hearers and Pratyekabuddhas

Then the World-Honored One praised Mañjuśrī, “Very good! Very good! Mañjuśrī, you expound so well what Bodhisattvas should or should not do. Mañjuśrī, let me say a few words. Mañjuśrī, as a hungry man would rather endure his hunger pangs than eat poisonous food, likewise, as Bodhisattvas mindfully practice almsgiving, observance of precepts, endurance, energetic progress, meditation, and development of wisdom, they would rather have stinginess, violation of the precepts, dispute, indolence, a chaotic mind, and lack of wisdom, than stand on the ground of voice-hearers and Pratyekabuddhas. Why? Because Bodhisattvas should fear [that ground].”
    The god-son asked the Buddha, “Do Bodhisattvas not fear the bondage of their afflictions?”
    The Buddha said, “They should fear it. However, Bodhisattvas should doubly fear the ground of voice-hearers. God-Son, what is your opinion? As a person fears for his life, should he fear the severance of his head or his hands and feet?”
    The god-son answered the Buddha, “He fears the severance of his head, not his hands and feet. Why? Because, World-Honored One, one who has lost his hands and feet still can do meritorious karmas, through which one will be reborn in heaven. World-Honored One, if one has his head severed, one can no longer cultivate virtue.”
    The Buddha said, “Indeed, God-Son, a Bodhisattva would rather violate the precepts than abandon the bodhi mind. He would rather be a Bodhisattva with afflictions than an Arhat, who has eradicated his afflictions.”
    The god-son marveled, “Rare World-Honored One, the Bodhisattva Way surpasses the ways of the world. World-Honored One, a voice-hearer who observes the precepts and progresses diligently cannot compare with a Bodhisattva who violates the precepts and fails to progress.”
    The Buddha said, “Indeed, indeed, it is just as you say. God-Son, a poor man’s food is a Wheel-Turning King’s poison. Although a voice-hearer diligently eradicates his afflictions, he does not benefit even the sentient beings in Jambudvīpa, much less all sentient beings. God-Son, as a great merchant lord endowed with land and riches diligently gives alms to benefit and nurture others, likewise a Bodhisattva invokes great lovingkindness and compassion for all sentient beings and diligently nurtures them, enabling them to have worldly and supra-worldly joy.”
    Then the Elder Mahākāśyapa asked the World-Honored One, “Voice-hearers realize that dharmas in true reality are asaṁskṛta while Bodhisattvas work with saṁskṛta dharmas. Why do Bodhisattvas surpass voice-hearers?”
    . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
    The Buddha said, “Kāśyapa, a voice-hearer’s wisdom-knowledge of that which is asaṁskṛta is like a drop of water8 acquired from the ocean by using one hundredth of a hair. Kāśyapa, the virtues of a Bodhisattva’s roots of goodness developed through saṁskṛta dharmas are like water that fills up four great oceans. Kāśyapa, what is your opinion? Which is superior?”9
    “World-Honored One, the ripe grains under the autumn moon spread across the great earth. These innumerable grains, as provisions, relieve and nurture innumerable sentient beings. World-Honored One, by contrast, an ant holding one grain does not bring anyone benefits.”
    “Kāśyapa, as an ant holds one grain, likewise a voice-hearer holds his liberation fruit. As autumn grains spread across the great earth, likewise do the virtues of a Bodhisattva’s roots of goodness developed by practicing the six pāramitās and the Four Drawing-in Dharmas. Bodhisattvas nurture innumerable sentient beings, bring them to maturity, and give them worldly joy, supra-worldly joy, and joy of nirvāṇa. Kāśyapa, suppose a shipment of 100,000 crystal beads has arrived in the city while a priceless aquamarine jewel remains aboard the ship. However, if it safely arrives in Jambudvīpa, it can help all those in poverty and suffering. Kāśyapa, what is your opinion? Can the shipment of 100,000 crystal beads compare with the priceless aquamarine jewel?”
    “No, World-Honored One.”
    “Kāśyapa, a voice-hearer’s merit acquired from his realization of that which is asaṁskṛta is like the shipment of 100,000 crystal beads. By contrast, as the priceless aquamarine jewel aboard the ship will bring great peace and joy to Jambudvīpa, likewise a Bodhisattva who preserves the seeds of the Three Jewels and acquires the overall wisdom-knowledge will bring great peace and joy [to all sentient beings].”
    Then Kāśyapa said to the World-Honored One, “What has never before been heard, the Tathāgata says so well. Bodhisattvas who invoke the mind of overall wisdom-knowledge surpass all voice-hearers and Pratyekabuddhas.”

The Equality of All Dharmas in Their Emptiness

Having heard these words, the Bodhisattvas who had come with Mañjuśrī from Treasure Holder said to the World-Honored One, “All statements are ludicrous because they contain differentiations, and denouncement of afflictions. World-Honored One, in Treasure Appearance Buddha’s land, there are no such statements. There are teachings only about how Bodhisattvas neither regress nor make differentiations. The World-Honored One is rare. Śākyamuni Buddha, the Tathāgata, Arhat, Samyak-Saṁbuddha, can endure the suffering here and realize the one flavor of dharma nature, which does not differentiate dharmas into high, middle, and low, and He provides the Three Vehicles [to sentient beings].”
    Those Bodhisattvas then rained down celestial flowers as an offering to the Buddha. They said to Mañjuśrī, “Can we now return to Treasure Holder?”
    Mañjuśrī said, “You know the right time and you may go.”
    They asked Mañjuśrī, “You are not coming with us?”
    Mañjuśrī said, “Good men, all worlds are equal, all Buddhas are equal, all dharmas are equal, and all sentient beings are equal. Why should I live there?”
    Those Bodhisattvas asked, “Why are all worlds equal, all Buddhas equal, all dharmas equal, and all sentient beings equal?”
    Mañjuśrī replied, “Good men, all worlds are equal because they are like the open sky. All Buddhas are equal because the Buddha realm is inconceivable. All dharmas are equal because they are unreal. All sentient beings are equal because they have no selves. Because of these meanings, I say these words, from the equality of all worlds to the equality of all sentient beings.”
    Then Mañjuśrī demonstrated his spiritual power, through which he made the Sahā World look like Treasure Holder, without any difference, and made Śākyamuni Tathāgata look like Treasure Appearance Tathāgata, without any difference. Those Bodhisattvas each thought: “We have arrived at Treasure Holder.”
    Taking Śākyamuni Buddha for Treasure Appearance Buddha, they asked the Buddha, “Who made us return to this land?”
    The Buddha answered, “Who made you go?”
    They replied, “Mañjuśrī the Youth made us go.”
    The Buddha said, “Actually, he brought you here.”
    Then Mañjuśrī told those Bodhisattvas, “Good men, you each should enter samādhi and observe who brought you here and who took you there.”
    Those Bodhisattvas each entered samādhi and observed. They each thought: “We have not left Sahā, but we thought that we had arrived at Treasure Holder.”
    They said, “World-Honored One, this is unprecedented. Mañjuśrī made us think that we had arrived at Treasure Holder, though we still remain here in Sahā. World-Honored One, we pray that all sentient beings will acquire the same spiritual powers that Mañjuśrī has acquired.”
    At that time the Buddha told the Bodhisattvas from Treasure Holder, “Good men, the void space is the same in all vessels, whether made of gold, silver, iron, diamond, aquamarine, crystal, clay, or sandalwood or other wood. Just as these different vessels contain the same kind of space, likewise they are the same in dharma nature, true suchness, and true reality.
    “Similarly, sentient beings assume various shapes and forms. As they are reborn in different places, their bodies are changed into 100,000 koṭi shapes and forms, becoming hell-dwellers, hungry ghosts, animals, humans, gods, voice-hearers, Pratyekabuddhas, Bodhisattvas, or Buddhas. These forms are equal in true suchness and emptiness. God men, this is why Mañjuśrī says that all worlds are equal and all sentient beings are equal. This is why he says that he will not return to Treasure Holder.”
    Having received the teachings from the World-Honored One, those Bodhisattvas bowed their heads down at the Buddha’s feet and circled Him three times. Without stepping away from the multitudes, they disappeared from Sahā and went back to Treasure Holder.


Circulation of the Sūtra

At that time the Buddha told Ānanda, “Accept and uphold this sūtra, recite it, and widely pronounce it to the multitudes.”
    The venerable Ānanda said to the World-Honored One, “I do uphold this sūtra. World-Honored One, what is the name of this sūtra? How does one uphold it?”
    The Buddha told Ānanda, “This sūtra is called Questions of the God-Son Silent Taming Tone, also called Pure Vinaya, also called Entire Buddha Dharma.”
    After the Buddha pronounced this sūtra, the god-son Silent Taming Tone, all Bodhisattvas, including Mañjuśrī, all voice-hearers, including Mahākāśyapa and the venerable Ānanda, having heard the Buddha’s words, greatly rejoiced.

Vaipulya Sūtra of the Pure Vinaya
Translated from the digital Chinese Canon (T24n1489)


Notes

    1. While attaining nirvāṇa means realizing the truth that dharmas have no birth, entering nirvāṇa means entering parinirvāṇa. (Return to text)
    2. According to the Mahāyāna doctrine, only a holy being, one who has achieved the first voice-hearer fruit (becoming a Srotāpanna) or above, or has ascended to the First Bodhisattva Ground or above, will never again go down the evil life-paths. (Return to text)
    3. See “two types of birth and death” in the glossary. (Return to text)
    4. See “four appearances” in the glossary. (Return to text)
    5. See “three wisdom-knowledges” in the glossary. (Return to text)
    6. The Voice-Hearer Vinaya refers to the body of liberation precepts observed by the Buddha’s seven groups of disciples. (Return to text)
    7. One’s afflictions, as defined in the glossary, include the five passions and the five wrong views. The former are called thinking confusions (思惑) and the latter are called view confusions (見惑). (Return to text)
    8. In text 1489, the Chinese word su (酥) means butter. Here, it is translated as water. (Return to text)
    9. The line of spaced periods right above this paragraph indicates the omission of a few obscure paragraphs. (Return to text)


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