Then Ananda from his place in the Assembly bowed down in reference to the Lord Buddha and asked him:

Noble Lord! You have just taught us that if we get rid of the three causes of karma (killing, stealing, and lust) that the three great causes for the interrelated continuity of existence will never appear again; that as soon as this madness is cleared away, Enlightenment will be acquired, not from some outside source, but will be revealed within the mind itself. This seems to come clearly under the principle of causes and conditions to which my Lord Buddha objects. As for myself, I certainly acquired realization by means of causes and conditions. And not only myself but all of us practicing junior Arhats and all of our elder Brothers, the senior Arhats, the venerable Maudgalyayana, Sariputra, Subhuti, and many others, after listening to the Lord’s instruction, began their practicings of devotion, acquired the realization, and attained perfect non-recession; are these not causes and conditions? But, now, the Lord Buddha seems to be teaching that Enlightenment appears spontaneously and from no calls nor condition. To me, this appears to be somewhat like the teaching of the heretic Kusali of Sravasti who teaches that naturalism is the supreme principle of all natures. Pray, my Lord, have great kindness towards us and clear away the uncertainty.

The Lord Buddha replied: Ananda! In regard to the insane man in Sravasti, should the causes and conditions of his insanity be removed, the nature of his non-insanity would be revealed and thus the heretical teachings of causes and conditions and of naturalism would fall short of the true interpretation. Ananda! Is that insane man of Sravasti has his head according to the principle of naturalism, then, as his head belongs to his nature, so everything he thinks can not be otherwise interpreted than as being the natural manifestation of his mind, then why was he, by causes and conditions, frightened and became mad and run away? Or, if his natural head causes him to go insane by means of causes and conditions, then why does he not also lose his natural head, by means of causes and conditions? How since his own head has not been lost, but there rises in it the illusion of fright and madness, and his head shows not the slightest change, how is it to be said that the madness comes from causes and conditions? Does this not clearly explain that no principle of causes and conditions, or of naturalism, can reveal the true nature of mind? Or, if the man’s insanity primarily belonged to his nature and he possessed madness and fright from the beginning, before he became suddenly mad and frightened, where did his madness conceal itself? Or, if by nature he is not insane and his head is normal, then why was he suddenly carried away by a fit of madness? Or, if he realized that his head was normal and that he had been carried away by a fit of madness, then the principles of both cause and condition and naturalism are mere talk. I have explained that as soon as the three conditions of killing, stealing, and impurity have been gotten rid of, the mind becomes enlightened. When the mind of enlightenment is attained, then the mind of variability and ignorance disappears. But if you keep these conceptions in mind simply as arbitrary conceptions, then they are mere whimsical talk. When one has discarded the last arbitrary conception of death and rebirth, then he has attained to a state of perfect emptiness. As one is able to get rid of the thought that he is practicing meditation, then he is truly advancing towards enlightenment. Indeed, this is no whimsical talk. But even if the mind is free from the thought that one is practicing meditation, and one has advanced on the path of enlightenment, and even if one has attained to a perfect state of emptiness, it cannot be said that it has been accomplished according to a principle of naturalism. For so long as the mind cherishes any arbitrary conception, such as, that a perfect state of emptiness of mind belongs to the principle of naturalism, then there will develop along with it the arbitrary conception that as soon as the natural mind is developed that its variability and ignorance will disappear. This above all else is whimsical talk of a variable and ignorant mind. My teaching of the non-variability of the true Mind is a teaching that does not belong to whimsical speaking, neither does it belong to the principle of naturalism either. Or, if one thinks that the non-variability of true Mind is a kind of naturalism, that would be like mixing up natural phenomena into one all inclusive compost and thinking of it under the category of combination and conformity, and the thinking of its opposite — non-combination and non-conformity — as being of the nature of originality. Such thinking is whimsical, indeed; it belongs to a habit of contrasting dualistic, and therefore false, conceptions. In regard to the nature of originality, it should be understood that, although it is invariable, yet it yields freely to conditions, so that it can not be regarded as coming under any law of naturalism. In regard to the phenomena manifested by combination and conformity, though they, also, yield to conditions, yet their body considered as a whole, suffers no change, so that these phenomena also, in their Essence, do not come under the principle of combination and conformity. When interpreted in this way even these things are no longer whimsical words but are a true teaching, although they a long way from Enlightenment and Nirvana.

Listen Ananda! Although you hold in memory all the pure and profound teachings of the twelve classes of the Sacred Scriptures, if you use your learning only for flippant talk, of what value is it? To attain wisdom, you must practice mindfulness and concentration of mind in Dhyana for many, many kalpas. Although you have spoken glibly about the principles of causes and conditions, and naturalism, and although you are commonly regarded as the most learned man in the assembly, your learning and thinking only increases your knowledge and you become more and more cultured with the multiplying of the kalpas, and as a consequence, you could not escape from the seductive allurement of Pchiti, the beautiful maiden. And why was it, Ananda, that by my transcendental power her sexual lust was immediately calmed and she became one of my most zealous disciples, and you found escape from your dangerous entanglement and receive this opportunity of instruction?

Therefore, Ananda, though you have kept in mind all the wonderful and systematic and profound teachings of the Tathagata for many kalpas, it would have been far better for you if you had practiced — even for one day — the lesson of resistance to the earthly passions of lust and hatred. Pchiti responded to her lesson and when her lust was quieted by my transcendental power, she became a true Bhikshuni in our assembly. Both she and Yasdra, the mother of Rahula, have matured their karma of previous lives and now realize the causes of their sufferings in previous lives from yielding to loving desires and greediness. So each of you, after many kalpas of suffering, by simply yielding to a single lesson have found emancipation. She has attained the stage of an Anagamin disciple and you have been assured of your future attainment of Arhat. Oh, Ānanda, why do you still linger about, merely listening to my teachings, and deceiving yourself by thinking up foolish questions?

ཨེ་མ་ཧོ། ཕན་ནོ་ཕན་ནོ་སྭཱཧཱ།
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