The Lankavatara Sutra
Translated by Suzuki and Goddard
Then said Mahamati: Pray tell us, Blessed One, what is the nature of Self-realization by reason of which we shall be able to attain Transcendental Intelligence?
The Blessed One Replied: Transcendental Intelligence rises when the intellectual-mind reaches its limit and, if things are to be realized in their true and essence nature, its processes of mentation, which are based on particularized ideas, discriminations and judgements, must be transcended by an appeal to some higher faculty of cognition, if there be such a higher faculty. There is such a faculty in the intuitive-mind (Manas), which as we have seen is the link between the intellectual-mind and Universal Mind. While it is not an individualized organ like the intellectual-mind, it has that which is much better,- direct dependence upon Universal Mind. While intuition does not give information that can be analyzed and discriminated, it gives that which is far superior,- self-realization through identification.
Mahamati then asked the Blessed One, saying: Pray tell us, Blessed One, what clear understandings an earnest disciple should have if he is to be successful in the discipline that leads to self-realization?
The Blessed One replied: There are four things by the fulfilling of which an earnest disciple may gain self-realization of Noble Wisdom and become and Bodhisattva-Mahasattva: First, he must have a clear understanding that all things are only manifestations of mind itself; second, he must discard the notion of birth, abiding and disappearance; third, he must clearly understand the egolessness of both things and persons; and fourth, he must have a true conception of what constitutes self-realization of Noble Wisdom. Provided with these four understandings, earnest disciples may become Bodhisattvas and attain Transcendental Intelligence.
As to the first; he must recognize and be fully convinced that this triple world is nothing but a complex manifestation of one's mental activities; that is devoid of selfness and its belongings; that there are no striving, no comings, no goings. He must recognize and accept the fact that this triple world is manifested and imagined as real only under the influence of habit-energy that has been accumulated since beginningless past by reason of memory, false-imagination, false-reasoning, and attachments to the multiplicities of objects and reactions in close relationship and in conformity to ideas of body-property-and-abode.
As the to second; he must recognize and be convinced that all things are to be regarded as forms seen in a vision and a dream, empty of substance, un-born and without self-nature; that all things exist only by reason of a complicated network of causation which owes its rise to the discrimination and attachment and which eventuates in the rise of the mind-system and its belongings and evolvements.
As to the third; he must recognize and patiently accept the fact that his own mind and personality is also mind-constructed, that it is empty of substance, unborn and egoless. With these three things clearly in mind, the Bodhisattva will be able to enter into the truth of imagelessness.
As to the fourth; he must have a true conception of what constitutes self-realization of Noble Wisdom. First, it is not comparable to the perceptions attained by the sense-mind, and neither is comparable to the cognition of the discriminating and intellectual-mind. Both of these presuppose a difference between self and not-self and the knowledge so attained is characterized by individuality and generality. Self-realization is based on identity and oneness; there is nothing to be discriminated nor predicated concerning it. But to enter into it the Bodhisattva must be free from all presuppositions and attachments to things, ideas and selfness.
Then said Mahamati to the Blessed One: Prey tell us, Blessed One, concerning the characteristics of deep attachments to existence and as to how we may become detached from existence?
The Blessed One replied: When one tries to understand the significance of things by means of words and discriminations, there follow immeasurably deep-seated attachments to existence. For instance: there are the deep-seated attachments to signs of individuality, to causation, to the notion of being and non-being, to the discrimination of birth and death, of doing and of not-doing, to the habit of discrimination itself upon which philosophers are so dependent.
There are three attachments that are especially deep-seated in the minds of all: greed, anger and infatuation, which are based on lust, fear and pride. Back to these lies discrimination and desire which is procreative and is accompanied with excitement and avariciousness and love of comfort and desire for eternal life; and, following, is a succession of rebirths on the five paths of existence and a continuation of attachments. But if these attachments are broken off, no signs of attachment nor of detachment will remain because they are based on things that are non-existent; when this truth is clearly understood the net of attachment is cleared away.
But depending upon and attaching itself to to the triple combination which works in unison there is the rising and the continuation of the mind-system incessantly functioning, and because of it there is the deep-felt and continuous assertion of the will-to-live. When the triple combination that causes the functioning of the mind-system ceases to exist, there is the triple emancipation and there is no further rising of any combination. When the existence and the non-existence of the external world are recognized as rising from the mind itself, then the Bodhisattva is prepared to enter into the state of imagelessness and therein to see into the emptiness which characterizes all discrimination and all the deep-seated attachments resulting therefrom. Therein he will see no signs of deep-rooted attachment nor detachment; therein he will see no one in bondage and no one in emancipation, expect those who themselves cherish bondage and emancipation, because in all things there is no "substance" to be taken hold of.
But so long as these discriminations are cherished by the ignorant and simple-minded they go on attaching themselves to them and, like the silkworms, go on spinning their thread of discrimination and enwrapping themselves and others, and are charmed with their poison. But to the wise there are no signs of attachment nor of detachment; all things are seen as abiding in solitude where there is no evolving of discrimination. Mahamati, when you and other Bodhisattvas understand well the distinction between attachment and detachment, you will be in possession of skillful means for avoiding becoming attached to words according to which one proceeds to grasp meanings. Free from the domination of words you will be able to establish yourselves where there will be a "turning-about" in the deepest seat of consciousness by means of which you will attain self-realization of Noble Wisdom and be able to enter into all the Buddha-lands and assemblies. There you will be stamped with the stamp of powers, self-command, the psychic faculties, and will be endowed with the wisdom and the power of the ten inexhaustible vows, and will become radiant with the variegated rays of the Transformation Bodies. Therewith you will shine without effort like the moon, the sun, the magic wishing-jewel, and at every stage will view things as being of perfect oneness with yourself, uncontaminated by any self-consciousness. Seeing that all things are like a dream, you will be able to enter into the stage of the Tathagatas and be able to deliver discourses on the Dharma to the world of beings in accordance with their needs and be able to free them from all dualistic notions and false discriminations.
Mahamati, there are two ways of considering self-realization: namely, the teachings about it, and the realization itself. The teachings as variously given in the nine divisions of the doctrinal works, for the instructions of those who are inclined toward it, by making use of skillful means and expedients, are intended to awaken in all beings a true perception of the Dharma. The teachings are designed to keep one away from all dualistic notions of being and non-being and oneness and otherness.
Realization itself is within the inner consciousness. It is an inner experience that has no connection with the lower mind-system and its discriminations of words, ideas and philosophical speculations. It shines out with its own clear light to reveal the error and foolishness of mind-constructed teachings, to render impotent evil influences from without, and to guide one unerringly to the realm of the good non-outflowings. Mahamati, when the earnest disciple and Bodhisattva is provided with these requirements, the way is open to his perfect attainment of self-realization of Noble Wisdom, and to the full enjoyment of the fruits that arise therefrom.
Then Mahamati asked the Blessed One, saying: Pray tell us, Blessed One, about the One Vehicle which the Blessed One has said characterizes the attainment of the inner self-realization of Noble Wisdom?
The Blessed One replied: In order to discard some easily discriminations and erroneous reasonings, the Bodhisattva should retire by himself to a quiet, secluded place where he may reflect within himself without relying on anyone else, and there let him exert himself to make successive advances advances along the stages; this solitude is the characteristic feature of the inner attainment of self-realization of Noble Wisdom.
I call this the One Vehicle, not because it is the One Vehicle, but because it is only in solitude that one is able to recognize and realize the path of the One Vehicle. So long as the mind is distracted and is making conscious effort, there can be no culmination as regards the various vehicles; it is only when the mind is alone and quiet that it is able to forsake the discriminations of the external world and seek realization of an inner realm where there is neither vehicle nor one who rides in it. I speak of the three vehicles in order to carry the ignorant. I do not speak much about the One Vehicle because there is no way by which earnest disciples and masters can realize Nirvana, unaided. According to the discourses of the Tathagatas earnest disciples should be segregated and disciplined and trained in meditation and dhyana whereby they are aided by many devices and expedients to realize emancipation. It is because earnest disciples and masters have not fully destroyed the habit-energy of karma and the hindrances of discriminative knowledge and human passion that they are often unable to accept the twofold egolessnesss and the inconceivable transformation death, that I preach the triple vehicle and not the One Vehicle. When earnest disciples have gotten rid of all their evil habit-energy and been able to realize the twofold egolessnesss, then they will not be intoxicated by the bliss of the Samadhis and will be awakened into the super-realm of the good non-outflowings. Being awakened into the realm of the good non-outflowings, they will be able to gather up all the requisites for the attainment of Noble Wisdom which is beyond conception and is of sovereign power. But really, Mahamati, there are no vehicles, and so I speak of the One Vehicle. Mahamati, the full recognition of the One Vehicle has never been attained by either earnest disciples, masters, or even by the great Brahma; it has been attained only by the Tathagatas themselves. That is the reason that it is known as the One Vehicle. I do not speak much about it because there is no way by which earnest disciples can realize Nirvana unaided.
Then Mahamati asked the Blessed One, saying: What are the steps that will lead an awakened disciple toward the self-realization of Noble Wisdom?
The Blessed One replied: The beginning lies in the recognition that the external world is only a manifestation of the activities of the mind itself, and that the mind grasps it as an external world simply because of its habit of discrimination and false-reasoning. The disciple must get into the habit of looking at things truthfully. He must recognize the fact that the world has no self nature, that it is un-born, that it is like a passing cloud, like an imaginary wheel made by a revolving firebrand, like the castle of the Gandharvas, like the moon reflected in the ocean, like a vision, a mirage, a dream. He must come to understand that mind in its essence-nature has nothing to do with discrimination nor causation; he must not listen to discourses based on the imaginary terms and qualifications; he must understand that Universal Mind in its pure essence is a state of imagelessness, that it is only because of the accumulated defilements on its face that body-property-and-abode appear to be its manifestations, that in its own pure nature it is unaffected and unaffecting by such changes as rising, abiding and destruction; he must fully understand that all these things come with the awakening of the notion of an ego-soul and its conscious mind. Therefore, Mahamati, let those disciples who wish to realize Noble Wisdom by following the Tathagata Vehicle desist from all discrimination and erroneous reasoning about personality and its sense-world or about such ideas as causation, rising, abiding and destruction, and exercise themselves in the discipline of dhyana that leads to the realization of Noble Wisdom.
To practice dhyana, the earnest disciple should retire to a quiet and solitary place, remembering that life-long habits of discriminative thinking cannot be broken off easily nor quickly. There are four kinds of concentrative meditation (dhyana): The dhyana practiced by the ignorant; the dhyana devoted to the examination of meaning; the dhyana with "suchness" (tathata) for its object; and the dhyana of the Tathagatas.
The dhyana practiced by the ignorant is the one resorted to by those who are following the example of the disciples and masters but who do not understand its purpose and, therefore, it becomes "still-sitting" with vacant minds. This dhyana is practiced, also, by those who, despising the body, see it as a shadow and a skeleton full of suffering and impurity, and yet who cling to the notion of an ego, seek to attain emancipation by the mere cessation of thought.
The dhyana devoted to the examination of meaning, is the one practiced by those who, perceiving the untenability of such ideas as self, other and both, which are held by the philosophers, and who have passed beyond the twofold-egolessnesss, devote dhyana to an examination of the significance of egolessnesss and the differentiations of the Bodhisattvas stages.
The dhyana with Tathata, or "Suchness", or Oneness, or Divine Name, for its object is practiced by those earnest disciples and masters who, while fully recognizing the twofold egolessnesss and the imagelessness of Tathata, yet cling to the notion of ultimate Tathata.
The dhyana of the Tathagatas is the dhyana of those who are entering upon the stage of Tathagatahood and who, abiding in the triple bliss which characterizes the self-realization of Noble Wisdom, are devoting themselves for the sake of all beings to the accomplishment of incomprehensible works for their emancipation. This is the pure dhyana of the Tathagatas. When all lesser things and ideas are transcended and forgotten, and there remains only a perfect state of imagelessness where Tathagata and Tathata are merged into perfect Oneness, then the Buddhas will come together from all their Buddha-lands and with shining hands resting on his forehead will welcome a new Tathagata.