Then Ananda, after paying the usual reverence to the Lord Buddha, rose in his place and addressed the Lord, saying:

Noble Lord! If the perception of the eyes and ears is free from death and rebirth, why did my Lord say that we had forgotten our true nature of mind and acted in a state of “reversed confusion?” Pray, my Lord, have pity on us all and purify our contaminated minds and clear away our attachments to them.

Immediately the Lord Buddha stretched out his arm with fingers pointing downward in some mystic “mudra.” He said to Ananda: As you are looking at my fingers, are they in an upright position or in a reversed position?

Ananda replied: My Lord! Most people in this world would say that they were in a reversed position, but because the fingers are arranged in some mystic mudra, I do not know which is the upright position and which is the reverse.

The Lord replied: Ananda, if human beings regard this as in a reversed position, what would they regard as an upright position?

Ananda replied: My Lord, if you were to turn the hand so that the fingers were pointing up, that they would call an upright position.

The Lord Buddha suddenly turned his hand and said to Ananda: If this interpretation of positions, reversed or upright, is simply made by turning the hand so that the fingers are pointing either up or down without any change in the location of the hand, that is, as viewed by beings in this world, then you should know that the essence of the Lord Tathagata’s true body, the pure Dharmakaya, may be interpreted differently by viewing it from different viewpoints of attainment, as being either the Lord Tathagata’s “True Omniscience” (upright position), or as the body of one’s own mind, the “reversed position.”

Now, Ananda, concentrate your mind on this and explain it to me — When you say that your mind is in the reversed position, in what position is your body to be regarded? Is the body, also, in a reversed position?

At this question, Ananda and the whole assembly were confused and stared up at him with open mouths. What did he mean by a reversed position of both their body and mind?

In great compassion of heart, the Lord Buddha pitied Ananda and the great assembly. He spoke to them reassuringly, and his voice was like the subdued sound of the ocean’s billows: My good, faithful disciples! Have I not been constantly teaching you that all of the causes and conditions that characterize changing phenomena and the modes of the mind, and of the different attributes of the mind, and the independently developed conditions of the mind, are all simply manifestations of the mind; and all of your body and mind are but manifestations of the wonderful, enlightening, and true nature of the all-embracing and mysterious Essence of Mind.

My good, faithful disciples! Why do you so easily forget this natural, wonderful, and enlightening Mind of perfect Purity — this mysterious Mind of radiant Brightness? And why are you still bewildered in your realizing consciousness? Open space is nothing but invisible dimness; the invisible dimness of space is mingled with darkness to look like forms; sensations of form are mingled into illusive and arbitrary conceptions of phenomena; and from these false conceptions of phenomena, is developed the consciousness of body. So, within the mind, these jumblings of causes and conditions, segregating into groups and coming into contact with the world’s external objects, there is awakened desire or fear which divides the mind and causes it to sink into either indulgence or anger. All of you have been accepting this confusing conception of phenomena as being your own nature of mind. As soon as you accepted it as your true mind, is it any wonder that you became bewildered and supposed it to be localized in your physical body, and that all the external things, mountains, rivers, the great open spaces, and the whole world, were outside the body. Is it any wonder that you failed to realize that everything you have so falsely conceived has its only existence within your own wonderful, enlightening Mind of True Essence.

In likeness you have abandoned all the great, pure, calm oceans of water, and clung to one bubble which you not only accept but which you regard as the whole body of water in all the hundreds of thousands of seas. In such bewilderment, you reveal yourselves as fools among fools. Though I move my fingers up or down, there is no change in the hand itself, but the world makes a distinction, and says that now it is upright, now it is reversed. Those who do this are greatly to be pitied.

Ananda was profoundly moved by this teaching and through the kindness of the Lord Buddha was delivered from his foolish bewilderment. He sincerely repented and pressing his hands together reverenced the Lord Buddha, saying: My Noble Lord! Though I have been listening to the Lord’s wonderful teaching and have realized that this wonderful Enlightening Mind is by nature perfect in itself and is the permanent ground of my changing mind, but, as I have been listening to this Teaching of the Dharma, I think of my concentrating mind. I know that it is of a higher order than my conditional mind, but I dare not recognize it as being the pure, original ground of my mind. Pray, my Lord, have pity upon us all and kindly declare to us the complete teaching and remove this root of suspicion and doubt, so that we may attain to supreme Enlightenment.

The Lord Buddha replied to Ananda, saying: Ananda, from what you have just said, I can see that you have been listening to my teaching with your conditional mind, and so my teachings have become conditional, also. It shows that you have not yet fully realized the pure Essence of your mind. It is like a man calling the attention of another man to the moon by pointing his finger toward it. The other man ought to look at the moon, but instead he looks at the finger and by so doing, not only misses the moon but misses the finger, also. And why? Because he has taken the finger to be the moon. Not only that, he has failed to notice the difference between darkness and brightness. And why? Because he takes the dark finger to be the moon’s brightness. That is why he does not know the difference between darkness and brightness. Ananda, you are just as foolish as that man.

The Lord Buddha continued: Ananda, if you take that which discriminates my teaching as your mind, then when it lays aside its conceptions of the discriminated teaching, the mind should still retain its own discriminating nature, which it does not. It is like a traveller seeking an inn where he may rest for a short time but not permanently. But the innkeeper lives there permanently, he does not go away. It is the same with this difficulty. If the discriminating mind is your true Mind, it should never change. How can it be your true Mind when, as soon as the sound of my voice ceases, it has no discriminating nature?

Ananda, this is true not only as regards discriminations of sound, but also of sight and all other sensations, and if the mind is free from all conceptions of phenomena, inherently it must be free from discriminations in its own nature. And even if there is no discriminated object before it, the mind is neither vacuity nor phenomena. If it can be, that when you leave off all the conditions of phenomena, there shall remain no discriminating nature of mind, then both your mind and its Essence will have one individual and original nature, which would be their own and true reality.

Ananda said to the Lord Buddha: Noble Lord, if both my mind and its Essence have one originality, why does the wonderful, enlightening original Mind, which has just been proclaimed by the Lord Buddha as being one with my discriminating mind, not return to its original state? Have pity upon us, my Lord, and explain it more clearly.

The Lord Buddha replied, saying: Ananda, as you look at me with this enlightening Essence of sight, its perception of sight is the same thing and yet is not the same as the Enlightening Mind of the wonderful Essence. It is just like a reproduction of the true moon — that is, it is not merely a shadow of the moon. Now, Ananda, listen and I will show you the originality that has no need of returning at all.

Let us consider this great Lecture Hall which opens toward the east: when the crimson sun rises, it is filled with a glorious brightness; but when it is midnight and no moonlight, and the sky overcast by clouds and mist, then there is dense darkness. Again, because it has doors and windows, the interior is visible, but if there were no doors or windows, the perception of sight would be hindered. Where there is only space, then there is only a common emptiness, but when discriminations are made, they straight away condition the sight. When the air is shut in by walls, it soon becomes close and gloomy and permeated with dust; when clear fresh air comes in, the dust soon disappears and the room becomes clear and refreshing to the eyes.

Ananda, during your life you have experienced many changes; I am now going to return these changes to their respective originalities. What do I mean by their respective originalities, Ananda? I will explain. In this Lecture Hall, first let us return the brightness to the crimson sun. Why? Because if there were no sun, there would be no brightness. That is, the origin of the brightness is in the sun, so let us return the brightness to the sun. Let us do the same with the other conditions; darkness returns to the dim moon, passage of light returns to the doors and windows, hindrance to light returns to the dense walls of the house, conditions return to discriminations, space returns to emptiness, closeness and gloominess return to dust and clearness and freshness return to the purifying air. Thus all the existencies in the world may be included in these eight kinds of phenomena.

Now, Ananda, let us consider the perceiving mind which distinguishes these eight kinds of phenomena and which we have already found has its ground in the enlightening nature of the Essence of Mind; to which one of these eight phenomena shall it be returned? If you return the faculty of perceiving to brightness, then when there is no brightness, there will be no perception of darkness. Though there may be all degrees of illumination between brightness and darkness, perception in its self-nature possesses no differentials. (Therefore, we can not return perceiving, which belongs to our Essence of Mind to the phenomena of brightness or any other of the eight classes of phenomena noted above.) Thus we see that those things which can be returned to their originalities do not belong to your own true nature; and that which we can not return to its originality, is the only thing which truly belongs to us. This shows that your mind has its own mysterious nature of brightness and purity, and when you try to refer your mind to the various classes of phenomena, you simply deceive and bewilder yourself, and, by so doing, you have lost your own true nature and have suffered endless misfortunes, like a vagrant adrift on the ocean of deaths and rebirths. That is why I look upon you as being most pitiable.

Ananda was still in doubt as to the true nature of his mind, and begged the Lord Buddha for further elucidation, saying: My Lord, though I now can see that the nature of the mind’s perceiving is constant and does not need to be referred to any originality in phenomena, but how can I fully realize that it is my true and essential nature?

The Lord Buddha replied: Ananda, you have not yet attained to the pure state of freedom from the intoxicants, but you have, with the aid of my Transcendental Power, advanced to the first attainment of Dhyana and thus acquired the state of Perfect Intelligence. In the state of Freedom from Intoxicants, Anuruddha looking upon the countries of this world, sees them as clearly as he sees an amala fruit lying in the palm of his hand. In that state the Bodhisattva-Mahasattvas, looking beyond this world, have seen with like clearness, all the worlds, even hundreds of thousands of worlds. It is the same with the Tathagatas of the ten quarters of all the universes. Their sight reaches everywhere; they see clearly all the Buddha-lands of Purity, greater in number than the fine particles of dust. But the perception of the eyes belonging to ordinary sentient beings cannot pierce through the thickness of a tenth of an inch.

Let us consider the palaces of the Four Heavenly Kings! How great the distances. How different the conditions of water and earth and air. In those Heavenly Realms there may be seen similarities to light and darkness, and all other phenomena of this world, but that is because of the lingering memory of objects seen in this world. Under those Heavenly conditions, you would still have to continue making distinctions between yourself and objects. But, Ananda, I challenge you, by the perception of your sight, to detect which is my True Essence and which manifestation.

Ananda, let us go to the extreme limit of our sight — to the palaces of the sun and moon — do you see anything there that belongs to our nature? Coming near to the Seven Golden Mountains that surround Mt. Sumaru, look carefully, what do you see? We see all sorts of brightness and glory, but nothing that belongs to our nature. Moving nearer, we come to the massing clouds, the flying birds, the hurrying winds, the rising of dust, the mountains, the familiar woods, trees, rivers, herbs, vegetables, animals, none of which belong to our nature.

Ananda, regarding all these things, far or near, as perceived by the pure essence of your perceiving eyes, they have different characteristics, but the perception of our eyes is always the same. Does this not mean, that this wonderful perception of sight is the true nature of our minds?

Ananda, if the perception of sight is not your own nature, but is to be regarded as an object, then since it is to be regarded as an object, my perception of sight is to be regarded as an object also, and you should be able to see my perception of sight. Moreover, if when you see the same thing that I do, you regard it as seeing my perception of sight, then since you have seen the sphere of my seeing, you should also see the sphere of my not seeing. Why can you not do so? Furthermore, if you falsely say that you see the sphere of my not seeing, it is then simply your own sphere of not seeing and it cannot be the phenomena of my not seeing. And if not, how can it be that the phenomena of your not seeing is to be regarded as mine? Therefore, if you really do not see the sphere of my not seeing, then the selfness of this perception of site cannot be an object that can be seen with the eyes and touched with the hands. And if it is not an object, then why is it not your own true nature? If you still falsely regard your perception of sight as an object, the object should be able to see you, too. If you try to explain it in this way, the substantiality of an object and the selfness of the perception of sight of the object would be hopelessly jumbled together. No one would be able to tell which is subject and which is object.

Ananda, as the nature of the perception of sight is universal, how can it be regarded as otherwise than your own true nature? What does it mean, Ananda, that you do not recognize the true nature that naturally belongs to you, and on the contrary, you are asking me to show you another reality?

Ananda said to the Blessed One: Noble Lord! If the nature of the perception of my sight is my true nature and not any different, then when my Lord and I (in a Samapatti state) were visiting the transcendental, mystical, and magnificent palace of the Four Heavenly Kings and were sojourning in the palaces of the sun and moon, the perception of our sight was then perfect and universal, reaching and including every part of the Saha world. But when we returned to this Jetavena grove we see only this Hall — a still, quiet place with doors and windows — and when we look out from within, we are able to see only the veranda and eaves. Now I learn from my Lord, that the essence of the perception of sight naturally permeates the whole universe. If that is so, why is it now our perception of sight only embraces this little hall and nothing more? What does it mean, my lord? Does it mean that the perception of site is reduced from universality to the finiteness of moral mind? Or is it that the perception of sight is partitioned off by walls and houses? I do not see where the point of your explanation lies. Please explain it more clearly for we are very ignorant and stupid.

The Lord Buddha replied: as all things in the universe, either great or small, external or internal, are objects in the presence of our sight, so it would not be right to say that our perception of sight has the potentiality of enlarging and reducing. For instance, take an empty square vessel. When you consider the space in the square vessel, is that square space fixed or changeable? If it is fixed, then if you put a round vessel inside of it, the square space would not permit the admission of the round vessel; or if it is changeable, then the space in the square vessel would no longer appear square. You said that you did not see where the point lies. Well here is the point: it is the nature of space to be neither fixed nor changeable (and the same is true of the mind’s perception), as I have stated before, so it is absurd for you to repeat your question.

Or, Ananda, (if you are still unconvinced) suppose your fill the square vessel with objects and then remove the vessel squareness; are you still troubled as to the existence of shape in open space? Supposing that it is true that when we reentered the Hall, the perception of our sight became limited, and when we look at the sun, it appears to lengthen to reach the surface of the sun. Or when we build a wall or a house, it appears to set apart or limit the perception of our sight, but when we make a hole in the wall, is the perception of our sight unable to look through and beyond? The point of my explanation is that changeableness is not an attribute of our perception of sight.

The Lord Buddha continued: Ananda! Since beginningless time sentient beings have been led astray by mistaking the nature of their mind to be the same as the nature of any other object. As they thus lose their true and essential Mind their minds become bewildered by outer objects and the perception of their sight becomes changeable to conform to the dimensions of its visual field and to become limited strictly according to outer conditions. But if you can learn to see things by your true and essential Mind, right away you will become equal to all the Tathagatas — both your mind and your body will become perfectly enlightened and you will be in the same state of tranquillity and stillness as though you were sitting under the Bodhi tree. So perfectly universalized will your mind have become that even at the point of a single hair all the kingdoms of the ten quarters of the universe will be seen.

Ananda said: Noble Lord, if the Essence of the perception of sight is my wonderful, enlightening Mind, then this wonderful Mind must be something which we can consider, and if the perception of sight is my true Essence, then what becomes of my present body and mind? I feel that both my body and mind have their separate existence, and yet this Essential perception of sight, even in its concentrated state of stillness, appears to make no discrimination of my body. If this Essential Nature of my perception of sight is truly my Mind then it should be able to show me in the presence of my sight, that it is my true self, but if it does, what becomes of my body, does it belong to me or not? This would seem to be contrary to what my Lord has previously said, that the object could not see the mind. We beg, my Lord to have pity upon us and enlighten our ignorant minds.

The Lord Buddha said: Ananda, what you have just questioned, as to whether the perception of sight is something that can be considered as standing in your presence, is not true. If it was really present before your sight and you could really see it, then as the Essence of the perception of sight has a location, it will no longer be without a point of direction.

Suppose we were sitting in the Jetavana grove and our sight reached everywhere in the grove — to the streams, to the Royal Palace and its mansions, up to the sun and the moon and down to the River Ganges. All of these different phenomena, which we are supposing you are indicating with your hand as being within the purview of our sight, each has its distinctive characteristic; the grove is shady, the sun is bright, the wall is an obstacle to light, the opening in the wall is a passage for the light, and the same is true even of the smaller things, the trees, herbs, fine grasses, etc. Though in dimensions they all differ from one another, so long as it has appearance, there is nothing that is beyond the range of our sight or description. If the perception of sight is present before your sight, you should be able to point to me, which is your perception of sight and describe it to me.

If it is space that is the perception of sight, you ought to know, and if we were to remove perception of sight, what would you substitute for space? If one of the many objects is the perception of sight and has now become the perception of sight, what other object will you substitute for the first? Suppose you look closely, analyze all the phenomena before you, pick out the essential and enlightening, pure and wonderful nature of the perception of sight, and show it to me just as describable and tangible as the other things.

Ananda said to the Lord: My Lord! Standing in the Lecture Hall of this imposing building and looking out into the far distances, to the vista of the Ganges, up to the sun and the moon, looking everywhere my hand can point and my sight can reach, there is nothing in sight but objects, and I see nothing that is analogous to my perception of sight. It is just as my Lord has taught us. I am simply a junior Arhat not yet free from the intoxicants, but it is the same with the Bodhisattva-Mahasattvas, we are all alike unable to detect the presence of anything to be called the perception of sight among all the appearances of phenomena, nor are we able to point out an analogous something that transcends all objects.

The Lord Buddha was greatly pleased with this reply and said: So it is, Ananda, so it is! There is neither the Essence of the perception of sight, nor any other essential nature transcending all objects. There is no such “thing” as the perception ofsight. Now let me ask you some more questions.

Suppose Ananda, that you and I are again sitting in the Jeta grove, looking out over the gardens, even to the sun and moon, and seeing all the multitudinous objects, and no such thing as perception of sight can be pointed out to us. But, Ananda, among all these multitudinous phenomena, can you show me anything which does not belong to the perception of sight?

Ananda replied: Noble Lord! True, I see every part of the Jeta grove, but see nothing which does not belong to the perception of sight. And why? Because if the trees in the grove do not belong to the perception of sight, we could not call them trees. But if the trees belong to the perception of sight, why do we still call them trees? It is the same with space. If it does not belong to the perception of sight, we could not see space, and if it does belong to the perception of sight, why should we still call it space? I am convinced now that all objects whatsoever, be they little or big, wherever there are manifestations and appearances, all belong to the perception of sight.

Again, the Lord Buddha expressed agreement, saying: So it is, Ananda, so it is!

Then all the junior disciples, except the older ones among them who had finished the practice of meditation, having listened to the discussion and not understanding the significance of the conclusion, became confused and frightened and lost control of themselves.

The Lord Tathagata, recognizing that the junior disciples were thrown into perplexity and discouragement by the teaching, took pity upon them and consoled them, saying to Ananda and to all of them:

My good, pious disciples! Do not be disturbed by what has been taught. All that the supreme Teacher of the Dharma has taught are true and sincere words, they are neither extravagant nor chimerical. They are not to be compared with the puzzling paradoxes given by the famous heretic teachers. Do not be disturbed by what has been taught, but ponder upon it seriously and never give yourself up either to sadness or delight.

Thereupon the great disciple Manjusri, regarded by all as a Prince of the Lord’s Dharma, took pity upon the confused ones among the Brothers, rose in his place and bowing with great reverence at the feet of the Lord Buddha, said to him: Blessed Lord!There are some among the Brothers in this Assembly who have not yet fully realized the significance of these two seemingly ambiguous interpretations relating to whether phenomena and space belong to perception of sight, which have been presented by my Lord Tathagata.

Blessed Lord! If the conditioning causes in the presence of our sight, such as phenomenal objects, space, etc., are meant as belonging to the perception of sight, they should have relations to be pointed out; or, if they are not meant as belonging to the perception of sight, they should not be seen by our sight. The Brothers do not see the point of the teaching and, therefore, have become confused and frightened. It does not mean that the roots of the Brothers’ goodness in previous lives are too weak for such profound teaching, but for them the explanation needs to be very plain. I pray the Blessed Lord to be kind enough to bring out the Truth more simply as to what relations there are lying between the phenomenal objects and the Essence of the perception of sight. What are their origins, and how is the ambiguity as to whether they belong or do not belong, to be gotten rid of.

Then the Lord Buddha replied: Manjusri and all my good pious Disciples! The Tathagatas in the ten quarters of the universe, together with all the great Bodhisattva-Mahasattvas, as they are intrinsically abiding in Samadhi, regard all of the perceptions of sight, their causes and conditions, and of all conceptions of phenomena, as being visionary flowers in the air, having no true nature of existence within themselves. But they regard the perceiving of sight as belonging to the Essence of the wonderful, pure, enlightening Mind (Bodhi), Why should there be any ambiguity as to belonging or not belonging, between the perception of sight and the perceiving of objects?

Manjusri, let me ask you, supposing there is another Manjusri, just such as you are. What do you think? Is there truly another Manjusri? Or is it an impossible supposition.

Blessed Lord, it is just as you say, it is impossible. I am the true Manjusri; it is impossible to have another of me. And why? Because if it was possible to have another in perfect likeness, there would be two Manjusris, but I would still be the one and true Manjusri. There is no ambiguity of one or two.

The Lord Buddha was pleased with this reply and continued: It is just the same with this wonderful, enlightening perception of sight, the seeing of objects, as well as objects themselves, they all intrinsically belong to the pure, perfect, Essential Mind of the wonderful, enlightening, Supreme Bodhi. But they have been discriminated as phenomena of sight, space, the perception of seeing, hearing, etc. It is just like a man with defective eyes seeing two moons at the same time. Who can tell which is the true moon? Manjusri, there is only one true moon; there can be no ambiguity of one being true and the other untrue. Therefore, when one is looking upon these manifestations arising from the senses in contact with objects, he must remember that they are all illusion and then there will be no ambiguity. But if the feeling still persists that there is some ambiguity as to whether the essence of the perceiving mind is the wonderful, enlightening Mind of the True Essence or not, the wonderful enlightening Mind itself can free you from the ambiguity as to whether it is the True Mind or not.

Ananda said: NobleLord! My Lord Dharma has said that the perceptions and their causes are universally permeating the ten quarters, that by nature they are tranquil and permanent, and that their nature is devoid of deaths and rebirths. If this is so, then what is the difference between it and the heretical teachings, such as the doctrine of “naturalism,” and similar teaching, all of which teach that there is a “True Ego” universally permeating the ten quarters? My Lord has also given teachings to the wise Saraputra, our Brother, and to many others, on Mount Lankara, in which he explained to them that, while the heretics were always talking about “naturalism,” my Lord taught the principle of “causes and conditions,” which was fundamentally different from the teachings of the heretical philosophers. Now when I learn from my Lord’s teaching that this nature of perception of sight is also natural in its origin, is devoid of death and rebirth, and is perfectly free from all sorts of illusive reversions, it does not seem to belong to your principle of “causes and conditions.” How can it be distinguished from the “naturalism” taught by the heretics? Pray explain this to us, so that we do not fall into their heresy, and so that we may realize the wonderful, enlightening, and intelligent nature of our True Mind.

The Lord Buddha replied, saying: Ananda, I have already explained it to you and shown you the Truth, but you have not realized it. On the contrary your mind is bewildered and you have mistaken my teaching of Mind-essence, as being “naturalism.” Ananda, if your perception of sight belonged to “naturalism,” then we should examine into the essence of its nature. Let us do so. In this wonderful, enlightening perception of sight, what would you take as belonging to itself? Does your perception of sight take its brightness from its own nature? Does it take its darkness from its own nature? Does it take its limitlessness from its own nature? Or its being limited by impenetrable objects as belonging to its own nature?

Ananda, if brightness belongs to it by nature, then it should not see darkness. If its ability to see everywhere in space belongs to it, then it should not be hindered by impenetrable objects. The opposite of this is true also. If darkness belongs to its nature, then there should be no brightness in the perception of sight. How then could it see the phenomena of brightness?

Then Ananda said to the Lord Buddha: Noble Lord! If this wonderful perception of sight can not be explained as belonging to the principle of “naturalism,” then how can it be explained as belonging to the principle of “cause and condition”? When I come to study the question of how the perception of sight can arise from causes and conditions, my mind is still confused. I beg my Lord to explain it for us once more.

The Lord Buddha replied: Ananda, as to what you have just asked me about the nature of cause and condition, I would rather ask you a few questions first. Supposing the nature of your perception of sight was before us now for our examination. How could it be manifested to us? Would it be because of its brightness? Or its darkness? Or because of the clearness of space? Or because of the impenetrability of objects?

If the perception of sight is manifested by reason of its brightness, then we could not see darkness, or vice versa. And the same would be true if our perception of sight was manifested by the clearness of space, or the impenetrability of objects. Again, Ananda. Is the perception of sight manifested by the condition of brightness? Or the condition of darkness? Or the condition of the clearness of space? Or under the condition of impenetrable objects? If it is manifested under the condition of brightness, then it could not see darkness. And the same would be true of the opposite, or of open space and its opposite, impenetrable objects.

Ananda, you ought to realize that the nature of this essentially wonderful, intelligent, enlightening, perception of sight belongs to neither cause nor condition, to neither nature nor phenomena, to neither the ambiguities of being or not being, or of nothingness or not nothingness. Neither does the conception of sight belong to any conception of phenomena, and yet it embraces all phenomena.

Now, Ananda, after all these arguments, how can you dis- criminate within your mind, and how can you make distinctions and give them all those worldly fictitious names? You might as well try to take a pinch of space, or rub space with your hand. You would use up your strength and the air in the space would remain undisturbed. How would it be possible for you to catch and hold even a tiny bit of space? The same is true of your perception of sight.

Then Ananda said to the Lord Buddha: Noble Lord! If this wonderful, enlightening nature of perception of sight, belongs neither to its own nature, nor to causes and conditions, then why did my Lord once explain to the Bhikshus that the nature of perception of sight is under four kinds of conditions, namely, space, brightness, mind and eyes? What did you mean by that explanation?

The Lord Buddha replied, saying: Ananda! What I said about the causes and conditions in this phenomenal world, was not my supreme, intrinsic Teaching. Let me ask you again, Ananda: When the people of this world say they can see this and that, what do they mean by it, Ananda?

My Lord, they mean that by the light of the sun or the moon or a lamp, they are able to see, and when devoid of the light of sun, moon or lamp, they are unable to see.

Suppose, Ananda, there is no light and they are unable to see things, does that mean that they cannot see the darkness? If it is possible to see darkness when it is too dark to see things, it simply means there is no light; it does not mean they can not see. Supposing, Ananda, they were in the light and could not see the darkness; does that mean, also, that they can not see? Here are two kinds of phenomena, light and darkness, and of both you say, ‘he cannot see.’ If these two kinds of phenomena are mutually exclusive, then he can not see at all and that would mean, as far as the perception of sight is concerned, a temporary discontinuance of existence. But the fact is not so. Therefore, it is quite clear that you must mean that he can not see at all. I am puzzled to know just what you do mean, when you say, “he can not see in the darkness.”

Listen, now Ananda, to what I am going to teach you. When you are seeing light, it does not mean that the perception of sight belongs to light, and when you are seeing darkness, it does not mean that the perception of sight belongs to darkness. It is just the same when you see through clear space, or can not see through impenetrable objects. Ananda, you should understand the significance of those four things, for when you are speaking of the perception of sight you are not referring to the phenomena of seeing with the eyes, but to the intrinsic perception of sight that transcends the experiential sight of the eyes, and is beyond its reach. Then how can you interpret this transcendental perception of sight as being dependent upon causes and conditions, or nature, or a synthesis of all of them? Ananda, are you of all the Arahats so limited in understanding that you cannot comprehend that this Perception of Sight is pure Reality itself? This is a profound teaching and I want all of you to ponder upon it seriously. Do not become tired of it, nor indolent in realizing it. While it is the most profound of all teachings, it is the surest way to Enlightenment.

Still Ananda was not satisfied and said to the Lord Buddha: Noble Lord! Although my Lord has explained to us the principles of causes and conditions, of naturalism, and all the phenomena of conformity, and non-conformity, yet we do not fully realize any of them, and now as we listen to the teachings of our Lord about Perception of Sight, we become more puzzled than ever. We do not understand what you mean when you say that our mental perception of sight is not our intrinsic Perception of Sight. Pray, my Lord, have mercy upon us; give us the true eye of Transcendental Intelligence and reveal to us more clearly our Intuitive Mind of Brightest Purity. At this Ananda was so far overcome that he broke into sobs and bowed down to the ground waiting for the Lord’s further instruction.

Thereupon the Blessed One had pity for Ananda and for all the younger members of the Assembly, and solemnly recited the Great Dharani which is the mystic way to the full attainment of Samadhi.

Then he said: Ananda! Though you have an excellent memory, it seems to serve only to increase your knowledge. You are still a long way from the mysterious insight and reflection that accompany the attainment of Samapatti. Now, Ananda, listen carefully to me and I will teach you more particularly, not for your sake alone, but for the sake of all true disciples in the future, so that all alike may reap the fruit of Enlightenment.

The reason why all sentient beings in this world have ever been bound to the cycle of deaths and re-births is because of two reverse, discriminative and false perceptions of the eyes which spring up everywhere to bind us to this present life and keep us turning about in the cycle of deaths and re-births by every wind of karma. What are these two reverse perceptions of the eyes? One is the false perception of the eyes that is caused by individual and particular karma of any single sentient being. The other is the false perception of eyes that is caused by the general karma of many sentient beings.

Ananda, what is meant by the false perceptive karma that is caused by the individual and particular karma of single sentient beings? Supposing in this world there was someone who was suffering from inflamation of the eyes, so that when he looked at the light of a lamp in the night time, he would see a strange halo of different colors, surrounding the light. What do you think, Ananda? Is this strange bright halo caused by the lamp, or does it belong to the perception of the eyes? If it belongs to the lamp, then why do others with healthy eyes not perceive it? If it belongs to the perception of the eyes, then why does not every one see it? What is the strange sight only perceived by the single individual with the inflamed eyes?

Again, Ananda. If this halo that surrounds the light, exists independently of the lamp, then other objects nearby should have like halos about them, screen, curtain, desk, table, etc. If it exists independently of the perception of the eyes, then it ought not to be seen by the eyes at all. How is it, that only the inflamed eyes see it?

Ananda, you should know that the sight really belongs to the lamp, but the halo is caused by the inflamation of the particular eyes, for the halo and the perception are both under the condition of the inflammation, but the nature that perceives the effect of the inflammation of the eyes is not sick itself. So, in conclusion, it should not be said that the halo belongs exclusively either to the lamp or to the perception of the eyes, nor should lit be said that it belongs neither to the lamp nor to the perception of the eyes. It is just the same as the reflection of the moon in still water: it is neither the real moon nor its double. And why? Because the reproduction of any sight is always accounted for by causes and conditions, so that the learned and intelligent do not say that the origin of any sight that can be accounted for by causes and conditions, belongs to the object, nor does not belong to the object. It is the same with the sight caused by the inflamed eyes, which should not be said to be either independent of the perception of the eyes nor not independent of the perception of the eyes. Would it not be absurd to try and distinguish what part of the sight belongs to the eyes and what part belongs to the lamp? Would it not be more absurd to try and distinguish which part of the sight does not belong to the lamp and which part does not belong to the inflamed eyes?

Ananda! Now let us consider, what is meant by false perception of eyes that is caused by the general karma of many sentient beings. In this world there are many thousands of kingdoms, great and small. Supposing we think that in one of the smallest of these kingdoms, all of the people are under the influence of a common bad condition of mind, that is, they all see many sorts of unpropitious signs that are not seen by any other people — two suns, two moons, or different eclipses of the sun or moon, or halos about the sun or moon, or comets, with or without tails, or flying meteors seen only for an instant, or gloomy shadows like a great ear near the sun or moon, or sometimes rainbows seen early or late. Supposing that all these strange phenomena of evil omen are seen only by this small kingdom, and have never been seen or heard of by any other people. Now, Ananda, we will consider these two examples together. First let us refer to the individual and particular false perception of eyes as seen by a single individual in the strange halo about the night lamp. Though it appeared to belong to the conditions in the presence of sight yet, after all, it belonged to the perception of the inflamed eyes. The imaginary halo meant only the sickness of the perception of eyes; it had nothing whatever to do with sight in itself. That is, the nature of the perception of the eyes that sees an imaginary halo is not responsible for the viewing mistakes. For instance, Ananda, when you are viewing the whole appearance of a country, seeing its mountains, rivers, kingdoms, people, etc., they seem to be discriminated particulars of fact, but in truth, they are all made up by the original, beginningless, sickness of perceiving eyes. To both the visual condition of the eyes and the perception of the eyes these particular sights seem manifested in our presence, but to our intuitive, enlightened nature it is seen to be, what it truly is, a morbid sight indicative of sick eyes. So any and all perceptions of enlightened nature, for instance, even the particular perception of eyes itself, are seen to be simply an obscuring mist. But our fundamental, intuitive, enlightening Mind that perceives this perception of eyes and its visual conditions can by no means be regarded as something imaginary and morbidly sick. Therefore, we must be careful not to plunge this intuitive nature that perceives this morbid mist that is discriminated by the perception of inflamed eyes into the same morbid mist. We must be careful to distinguish between the perception of our eyes and the intrinsic Perception of Sight by our enlightened Mind that is conscious of the fallible perception of the eyes.

Since this intrinsic Sight is not identical with the perception of the sight as perceived by the eyes, how can the perceptions of morbid sight, such as your common seeing, hearing, perceiving and discriminating, how can you continue to call it your True Mind, Ananda? Thus when you are regarding yourself, or me, or any of the ten species of sentient beings in this world, you are simply regarding the morbid mist of the perception of the eyes; it is not the true, unconditioned Sight. The nature of this intrinsic Sight naturally manifests no morbid mist in its transcendental Perceiving and, accordingly, your intrinsic Mind is not the same as your perceiving, experiential mind.

Ananda! Let us now regard those sentient beings with their general, common and false perception of eyes and compare them with this one person who is suffering under his individual and particular karma of false perception of eyes. This inflamed-eye individual who perceived an imaginary halo about the light, caused by the morbid mist in his perceiving mind, is perfectly typical of all the people in that little kingdom who saw the imaginary unpropitious signs in the heavens caused by the general and common karma of false perceptions of eyes. They are alike developments of a false perception of sight since beginningless time. For instance, in this great world with its continents and oceans, in the social world with all its races of people and kingdoms, all of these sentient beings and all the natural phenomena all have their origin in the intuitive, enlightening, non-intoxicating, mysterious, intrinsic Mind, but they are all manifestations of the false, morbid conditions that belong respectfully to the perceptions of the eyes, ears, nose, tongue, touch, discrimination, emotion, thinking. All these sentient beings are ever subject to the sufferings of an unceasing cycle of deaths and rebirths according to the general principle of causes and conditions.

Ananda! If you can remain perfectly independent of these false perceptions and of all conformity and non-conformity to them, then you will have exterminated all the causes leading to deaths and rebirths and, besides, you will have attained a perfectly matured enlightenment that is of the nature of non-death and non-rebirth. This is the pure Intrinsic Mind, the ever abiding Intuitive Essence.

ཨེ་མ་ཧོ། ཕན་ནོ་ཕན་ནོ་སྭཱཧཱ།
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