The Many Manifestations of the Wonderful Essence-Mind, and of the Perfect Principle of the Three Excellencies within the All-Inclusive Unity of the Womb of Tathagata.

When Ananda came into the presence of the Lord Buddha, he bowed down to the ground in great humility, blaming himself that he had not yet fully developed the potentialities of Enlightenment, because from the beginning of his previous lives, he had too much devoted himself to study and learning. He earnestly pleaded with the Lord Buddha and with all the other Tathagatas from the ten quarters of the Universe, to support him in attaining perfect Enlightenment, that is, to support him in his practice of the Three Excellencies of Dhyana, Samadhi and Samapatti, by some most fundamental and expedient means.

At the same time, all of the Bodhisattvas-Mahasattva, as numerous as the sands of the river Ganges, together with all the Arhats, Pratyeka-Buddhas, from all the ten quarters, with one accord and with gladness of heart, prepared to listen to the instruction to be given to Ananda by the Lord Buddha. With one accord they paid homage to the Lord and then resuming their seats, waited in perfect quietness and patience to receive the sacred teaching.

Then the Lord Buddha spoke to Ananda, saying: Ananda, you and I are from the same ancestral blood and we have always cherished a fraternal affection for each other. Let me ask you a few questions and you answer me spontaneously and freely. When you first began to be interested in Buddhism what was it that impressed you in our Buddhist way of life and most influenced you to forsake all worldly pleasures and enabled you to cut asunder your youthful sexual cravings?

Ananda replied: Oh, my Lord! The first thing that impressed me were the thirty-two marks of excellency in my Lord’s personality. They appeared to me so fine, as tender and brilliant, and transparent as a crystal.

From that time I have constantly thought about them and have been more and more convinced that these marks of excellence would be impossible for anyone who was not free from all sexual passion and desire. And why? Because when anyone becomes inflamed by sexual passion, his mind becomes disturbed and confused, he loses self-control and becomes reckless and crude. Besides, in sexual intercourse, the blood becomes inflamed and impure and adulterated with impure secretions. Naturally from such a source, there can never originate an aureole of such transcendently pure and golden brightness as I have seen emanating from the person of my Lord. It was because of this that I admired my Lord and it was this that influenced me to become one of your true followers.

The Lord Buddha then said: Very good, Ananda! All of you in this Great Dharma Assembly ought to know and appreciate that the reason why sentient beings by their previous lives since beginningless time have formed a succession of deaths and rebirths, life after life, is because they have never realized the true Essence of Mind and its self-purifying brightness. On the contrary they have been absorbed all the time busying themselves with their deluding and transient thoughts which are nothing but falsity and vanity. Hence they have prepared for themselves the conditions for this ever returning cycle of deaths and rebirths.

Ananda, if you are now desirous of more perfectly understanding Supreme Enlightenment and the enlightening nature of pure Mind-Essence, you must learn to answer questions spontaneously with no recourse to discriminating thinking. For the Tathagatas in the ten quarters of the universes have been delivered from the ever returning cycle of deaths and rebirths by this same single way, namely, by reliance upon their intuitive minds.

It is because of the straight-forwardness of their minds and the spontaneity of their mentations that the Tathagatas have ever remained, from beginningless time to endless time, of one pure Suchness, undisturbed by any complexity within their minds nor any rising thoughts of discrimination.

Then the Lord Buddha said: Ananda, I want to question you; please listen carefully. You have just said that at the time your faith in me was awakened, that it was due to seeing the thirty-two marks of excellence. Let me ask you: What was it that gave you the sensation of seeing? What was it that experienced the sensation? And who was it that experienced the feeling of being pleased?

Ananda replied: My Lord! At the time I experienced the sensation of being pleased, it was both through my eyes and my mind. When my eyes saw my Lord’s excellencies, my mind immediately experienced a feeling of being pleased. It was then that I made up my mind to become your disciple so that I might be delivered from the cycle of deaths and rebirths.

The Lord said: From what you have just said, Ananda, your feeling of being pleased originated in your eyes and mind. But if you do not know where lies the perception of sight and where the activities of the mind originate, you will never be able to subjugate your worldly attachments and contaminations. It is like a king whose city was pestered by robbers and who tried to put an end to the thieving but was unsuccessful because he could not locate the secret hiding place of the robbers. So it is in the lives of human beings who are always being troubled by worldly attachments and contaminations, causing their perception of sight to become inverted and unreliable and seducing their thoughts and causing them to wander about ignorantly and uncontrolled. Ananda, let me ask you? Referring to your eyes and mind, do you know their secret hiding place?

Ananda replied: Noble Lord! In all the ten different orders of life, the eyes are in the front of the face, as are my Lord’s clear lotus eyes, and mine also. The same is true of the other sense organs, they are on the surface of the body, but the mind is hidden within the body.

The Lord Buddha interrupted: Ananda, you are now sitting in the lecture Hall, are you not? And when you are looking out to the Jetavana Grove, can you tell me where the hall and the grove are situated?

Certainly, my Lord. This quiet and splendid Lecture Hall and the Jetavana Grove are both situated in Anathapindika’s beautiful park.

Now, Ananda, what do you see first, the people in this hall or the park outside?

I first see my Lord, then I see the noble audience, and other things in turn, and only afterward do I see the grove and the lovely park outside.

True, Ananda! Now tell me, while you are looking outside at the grove and park, what is it that enables you to distinguish the different views that your eyes see?

Noble Lord! It is because the windows and doors of the lecture hall are open wide. That is why I can see the distant views from inside the hall.

Then the Blessed Lord, in view of the great audience, reached out his golden hand and softly stroked Ananda’s head, at the same time speaking to both him and the great assembly, saying:

There is a particular Samadhi called The Samadhi of Heroic Progress (Śūraṅgamasamādhi), which was the Lord Buddha’s Crowning Experience, and by it he attained a perfect realization of all manifestations and transformations. It was a wonderful door that opened to the mysterious Path that all the Tathagatas of all the ten quarters of all the universes have followed. It is of this Highest Samadhi that I am going to speak. Listen very carefully.

Then Ananda and the great audience bowed to the ground in deep adoration and then resumed their seats and waited humbly for the Master’s solemn teaching.

The Lord Buddha then addressed Ananda and the great assembly, saying:

Ananda, you have just said that from the inside of the lecture hall you can look out to the grove and the distant park because the windows and doors are open wide. It is possible that there are some within this very audience that only see these outside things and who are unable to see the Lord Tathagata within.

Ananda interrupted: But my Lord, how can it be that anyone in this hall who can see the grove and streams without can fail to see the Lord within?

It does seem absurd, Ananda, but it is just that way with you. You say that your mind exists within your body and that it is quite clear of all obstructions, but if this clear mind really exists within your body, then you ought to see the inside of your body first of all. But there are no sentient beings who can do this, that is, see both the inside and outside of their bodies. Though they may not see all the inside things — such as the heart, stomach, liver, kidneys, etc. — but at least they ought to see the growth of the finger-nails, the lengthening of the hair, the knotting of the sinews, the throbbing of the pulse. If the mind is within the body, why does it not see these things? But if the mind is within the body and can not see the things within, how can it see the things without the body? So you must see that what you have said about the perceiving mind, abiding within the body, is untrue.

With a respectful bow, Ananda said to the Lord: Listening to the words of my Lord, I begin to realize that my mind, after all, may be outside my body. It may be like a lamp. It the lamp is within the room, it will certainly illumine the room first and then shining through the open door and windows will illumine the yard outside. If it was like that, why is it that one seeing only outside objects does not see the things within? It must be that the mind is like a lamp placed outside of a room, for then it would be dark within. If one can clearly understand what his mind is, he would no longer be puzzled, but would have the same intelligence and understanding that the Buddhas have. Would it not be so, my Lord?

The Lord replied: Ananda, this morning all of the Bhikshus followed me to the city of Sravasti begging for food in regular order and afterwards all returned to this Grove. I was fasting at the time, but the others ate the food. What think you, Ananda? If only one of the Bhikshus ate the food, would the others be satisfied of their hunger?

Ananda replied: No, my Lord, and why? Because, although all of these Bhikshus are Arahats, yet their physical bodies are individually separated. How could it be, that one Bhikshu eating, could satisfy the hunger of all?

The Lord Buddha replied: Ananda if your perceiving, understanding mind is really outside your body, then what the mind perceives could not be felt by the body, and what the body feels could not be perceived by the mind. Look at my hand, Ananda. When your eyes are looking at it, does your mind make any discriminations about it?

Yes, my Lord, it makes discriminations.

The Lord continued: But if your mind and body are in mutual correspondence, how can it possibly be said, that the mind exists outside the body? Therefore, Ananda, you ought to know that what you have just said about the mind existing outside the body is impossible.

Then Ananda said: According to what my Lord says, the perceiving mind does not exist within the body because it does not see the things within, neither does it exist outside the body, because the mind and body are in mutual correspondence and therefore cannot be isolated from each other. Yet it seems to me that the perceiving mind must be in some locality.

Then the Lord Buddha questioned Ananda further: But Ananda, where is its abiding place?

Ananda replied: My Lord, since this perceiving mind cannot know the inside of its own body, but can see outside objects, it seems to me now, that it must be concealed in the sense organ itself. It may be like a man covering his eyes with a crystal bowl; though his eyes are covered yet there is no hindrance to his sight — the eye can still see clearly and make distinctions as usual. The reason that it does not see the inside of the body is because it is a part of the organ of the eye, and the reason it can see outside objects clearly is because it is hidden in the organ of the eye.

But, Ananda, you have just said that this perceiving mind concealed within the organ of the eye is like a crystal bowl covering the eyes. Now suppose a man has covered his eyes with a crystal bowl, but is still able to see outer objects such as mountains, rivers, etc., tell me, does he see the crystal bowl, also?

Yes, my Lord, while the man is covering his eyes with the crystal bowl, he sees the crystal bowl, also.

‘The Lord said: Ananda, if your mind is just the same as the crystal bowl covering the eyes, why does your mind, while seeing the outside mountains and rivers, not see your own eyes, too? Or, supposing your mind does see your eyes, then your eyes will be regarded as any other objective thing and they will no longer be regarded as a dependent organ. Or, if the mind cannot see everything, then how can it be said of the perceiving mind, that it is concealed within the organ of the eyes in the resemblance of a crystal bowl covering the eyes? Therefore, Ananda, what you have asserted, that this perceiving mind is concealed within the organ of the eyes like a crystal bowl covering the eyes, is impossible also.

Then Ananda said to the Lord Buddha: Honored of the worlds! It may be like this: As all sentient beings have their intestines inside the body and the opening outside the body, the intestines are hidden to their sight but the opening is visible. While I am standing before you and open my eyes, I see your brightness — this means to see the outside. When my eyes are closed, I see the hiddenness — this means to see the inside.

The Lord interrupted: Ananda, when you close your eyes, you say you see the hiddenness, but this hidden condition, is it in an opposing direction to your eyes, or is it not? If it is directly opposed to your eyes, then the hiddenness must be in front of your eyes and then it cannot be thought of as a part of your inside. Or suppose it is meant as part of your inside, then when in any dark room, without the light of any such thing as sun, moon, or lamp, the whole dark space of the room might be regarded as your intestines or your heart. Or, if it is in a direction not opposite to your eyes, then how does it happen that the sight of your eyes is being affected at all?

Or, if you put aside this outside perception of sight and say that it is to be regarded as being in an inside opposite direction to your eyes, so that when you shut your eyes, you see darkness only, which would mean to see your inside body. But when you open your eyes and see the brightness, why do you not see your own face, also? If you do not see your own face, it would mean that the face is not in an inside opposite direction to your eyes. Or, supposing you can see your own face, then both this perceiving mind and the organ of sight must be in the open space, or they can no longer be thought of as being in an inside opposite direction.

If your perceptive mind is supposed to be in the open space, naturally it can not belong to the body, and then, when the Lord Tathagata is in sight of your face which would mean that he is a part of your body, your eyes will, of course, get the perception, but the others parts of your body could not get into consciousness at the same time.

Or, if you persistently claim that the body and the eyes have each a separate consciousness, then there would be two perceiving minds, which would mean that your single personality would see two Buddhas. Therefore you should understand that it is utterly absurd for you to say that to see into the dimness of the eyes is the same as seeing into the inside of the body.

Then Ananda said to the Lord Buddha: I have constantly learned from the instruction of my Lord and from the teaching of all four classes of your disciples that all the existences of phenomena are simply the manifestation of the mind itself and vice versa that all the existences of mind are the manifestation of phenomena. Now it seems to me that this thinking mind is really the essence of my mind, and that wherever it happens to meet outer objects, there is a manifestation of mind. That is, the perceiving mind is neither inside, nor outside, nor between the body.

The Lord interrupted, saying: What you are just saying — that all the manifestations of thoughts are simply meant as all the existences of phenomena and that wherever the mind happens to meet outer objects, there is its manifestations. But if your mind has no substantiality of its own, how can it meet any outer objects? Or, if it should be that in spite of the mind having no substantiality of its own, it might happen to meet outer objects, then there would be another newly assumed datum of nineteen spheres of mentation, namely, the six objects, the six sense organs, the six perceptions, plus this newly assumed normality of thought considered as a “thing in itself.” And then there must be assumed a new datum of seven objects, — the object of sight, the object of hearing, of smelling, of tasting, of touching, of the unified object of thought, plus this outer “thing of itself.” No, your suggestion is by no means the right interpretation.

Ananda, your interpretation that the perceiving mind has a substantiality of its own at the point where the object and thought meet, would put fetters to your mind, like putting fetters to your hands and feet. Let me ask you in this way: does your mental consciousness arise within or without your body? If it arises within, you should be able to know the inside of your body; if it comes from outside your body, you should be able to first see your own face.

Ananda replied: My Lord! I see with my eyes and I perceive with my mind. That does not mean that they art interchangeable.

The Lord Buddha continued: Ananda, if your eyes can see by themselves, then supposing you are within a room, can the door share the perception of seeing? If the door shares with the eyes this perception of seeing, then all dead bodies that still have eye organs intact, should continue to see things. If they can still perceive, how can it be said that they are dead bodies.

Ananda, if we grant that your perceiving mind has some kind of substantiality, is it one body or many bodies? Is it located in one place in your body or is it distributed all over the body? If it is one body, then if you bind one limb the others will feel bound. If they all feel bound, then there can be no sure knowledge of the exact place of the binding. Or, if the perception of being bound is located in one place, then the perceiving mind cannot be considered as one localized body. Or if the perceiving mind is considered to be many bodies or involved in many bodies, it would mean that there must be as many personalities, and the question would arise, which of these localized perceiving minds rightly belongs to you. Or if your mind is considered as being uniformally distributed over all parts of your body, then if your limb was tightly bound, then the whole body would feel the suffering. Or if not uniformally distributed, but only on some parts of the body, then if you touch your head and at the same touch your feet, one would know it and the other would not. We know that this is not so. Therefore, Ananda, you must see that your suggestion that wherever the mind happens to meet outer objects, there is localized a manifestation of mind is unreasonable.

Then Ananda said to the Lord Buddha: Now I recall hearing my Lord Buddha say, at a time when he was teaching Brother Manjusri and other princes of the Dharma, that the mind neither abides inside nor outside the body. It seems to me, if it is inside and we cannot see the inside, and if it was outside we ought not to feel the outside. We know that we cannot see the inside of the body, so it must mean that the mind is not abiding inside the body; it must mean that in some way our mind and body are in mutual correspondence with each other through the faculty of perception, and that would mean that it is not abiding outside the body. Now, My Lord, I see that since our mind and body are in mutual cor- respondence and yet we cannot see the inside of our body, it must be that the perceiving understanding mind must be abiding between these things.

The Lord Buddha resumed: Ananda, now you think that the mind must be abiding between somethings. Let us consider it. If it is abiding between somethings, there must be some particular place where it is abiding. We can not conceive of an indefinite abiding place. Now Ananda, supposing you guess between what things it is located. Is it located between outside things and our bodies? Then it would be on the surface of the body and could not mean any place within the body. If it is located between parts of our body, then it would be within the body. Or, if it is between external things, what is its standard of direction? Suppose we take the case of a man: if he is standing between things looking toward the east, be must be standing in the west; or if he is looking toward the west, he must be standing in the east; or if he is looking toward the south, he must be standing in the north. If the mind is between things but has no standard of direction, it is the same as saying that it has no existence; or even if it has some standard of direction, there can be no certainty about it (if by just turning he can be either in east or west or north or south). If the standard is uncertain, the mind will be confused naturally.

Ananda replied: What I said of the mind being “between somethings,” is not meant in that sense. On one occasion my Lord has said: “As causal conditions, eyes and sights are mutually attracted,” but there must be something that is manifested in the consciousness that is dependent upon the eyes. That is what I meant by the mind being “between somethings.” The eyes note discriminations while objects and sights are insensible things. As consciousness develops between them, the conceiving mind must be localized between them.

The Lord Buddha interrupted, saying: Ananda, if it is stated that the mind is existing between the sense organ and the object, then, let me ask, is the essence of mind separated into two parts or not? If it is, the object and essential mind will be confusingly mingled, and as the object can not be exactly the same as essential mind which possesses the consciousness, they must be opposite to each other. How then can you say, that the mind exists between them?

If the statement that the mind is separated into two parts has no ground, then the statement that the insensible object is imperceptive, means just the same as saying that it has no essence itself and must be, therefore, imperceptible. So the expression “between somethings,” has no meaning. Therefore, Ananda, you must admit that the statement that the mind exists between somethings, is an absurd statement that is incapable of interpretation.

Ananda then addressed the Lord Buddha, saying: Noble Lord! Some time ago when my Lord was discussing the intrinsic Dharma with the four great Bodhisattva-Mahasattvas, Maudgalyayana, Subhuti, Puma, and Sariputra, I overheard my Lord to say, that the essence of the discerning, perceiving, conscious mind existed neither inside nor outside, nor between, in fact, that it had no location of existence. Since my Lord has interpreted this in his teachings just now, I have ceased to grasp any arbitrary conception as to the location of mind, but if this is true, and it is something intangible, in what sense can it be thought of as “my mind.”

The Lord Buddha replied: Ananda, as to what you have just said that the essence of the discerning, perceptive, conscious mind has no definite location anywhere, the meaning is clear; it is neither in this world, in the vast open spaces, neither in water, nor on land, neither flying with wings, nor walking, nor is it anywhere. But when you say that your mind no longer grasps any arbitrary conception of the existence of the phenomena of mind, what do you mean by it? Do you mean that the phenomena have no true existence, or that they have no tangible existence? If you mean that they have no true existence, that would mean that they are like hair on a tortoise, or like horns on a rabbit. But so long as you retain this notion of not grasping, you cannot mean perfect non-existence. But what do you mean? Of course if your mind is perfectly blank, it must mean, as far as you are concerned, absolute non-existence, but if you are still cherishing some arbitrary conception of phenomena, you must mean some kind of existence. How is it then, that so long as the notion of not- grasping of anything, as for instance, the notion of “my mind,” that you mean its non-existence? Therefore, Ananda, you ought to see that what you have just said concerning the non-existence of anything just because you no longer cherish a conception of it within your mind, and that would mean the non- existence of a discerning, perceptive, conscious mind, would be quite absurd, would it not?

Thereupon, Ananda rose from his place in the midst of the assembly, adjusted his ceremonial scarf, knelt upon his right knee, placed the palms of his hands together, and respectfully addressed the Lord Buddha, saying:

My Noble Lord! I have the honor of being your youngest relative and you have always treated me with affectionate kindness. Although I am now only one of your many converts, you still continue to show your affection for me. But in spite of all I have gained mentally, I have not become liberated from contaminations and attachments and consequently I could not overcome the magic spell at the home of a harlot. My mind became confused and I was at the point of drowning in its defilement. I can see now that it was wholly due to my ignorance as to the right realization of what is true and essential Mind. I pray thee. Oh my Lord, to have pity and mercy upon me and show me the right Path to the spiritual graces of the Samapatti so that I may attain to self-mastery and become emancipated from the lure of evil myself, and be able to free all heretics from the bonds of their false ideas and craft.

ཨེ་མ་ཧོ། ཕན་ནོ་ཕན་ནོ་སྭཱཧཱ།

When Ananda had finished his plea, he bowed humbly before the Lord Buddha, with hands and forehead touching the ground, and the whole audience, awed into intense excitement, waited with earnest and reverential hearts for the response of the Blessed One.

Suddenly in the Meditation Hall, filled with its awed and expectant throng, there appeared a most marvelous sight that transcended everything that had ever been seen before. The Hall was filled with a radiant splendor that emanated from the moon-like face of the Blessed One, like hundreds of thousands of sunbeams scintillating everywhere, and wherever the rays reached immediately there were seen celestial Buddha-lands. Moreover, the person of the Lord Buddha was vibrant with the six transcendental motions simultaneously manifesting and embracing all the Buddhadands of the ten quarters of all the universes, as numerous as the finest particles of dust in the sunlight. And this all-embracing, blessed and transcendent glory united all these innumerable Buddha-lands into one single whole, and all the great Bodhisattvas of all these innumerable Buddha-lands were seen to be each in his own place with hands raised and pressed together expectantly waiting for the words of the Blessed One.

Then the Lord Buddha addressed the assembly, saying: Ananda, from beginningless time, from life to life, all sentient beings have had their disturbing illusions that have been manifested in their natural development each under the conditioning power of his own individual karma, such as the seed-pod of the okra which when opening always drops three seeds in each group. The reason why all devoted disciples do not at once attain to supreme enlightenment is because they do not realize two primary principles and because of it some attain only to Arhatship, or to Pratyakaship, and some to even lower attainments, to the state of devas and heretics, and some to Mara kings and their dependents. The reason for these great differences is because, not knowing these two basic principles, they become confused in mind and fall into wrong practices. It is as if they were trying to cook fine delicacies by boiling stones or sand, which of course they could never do if they tried for countless kalpas.

What are these two fundamental principles, Ananda? The First Fundamental Principle is the primary cause of the succession of deaths and rebirths from beginningless time. (It is the Principle of Ignorance, the outgoing principle of individuation, manifestation, transformation, succession and discrimination.) From the working out of this Principle there has resulted the various differentiation of minds of all sentient beings, and all the time they have been taking these limited and perturbed and contaminated minds to be their true and natural Essence of Mind.

The Second Fundamental Principle is the primary cause of the pure unity of Enlightenment and Nirvana that has existed from beginningless time. (It is the Principle of integrating compassion, the in-drawing, unifying principle of purity, harmony, likeness, rhythm, permanency and peace.) By the in-drawing of this Principle within the brightness of your own nature, its unifying spirit can be discovered and developed and realized under all varieties of conditions. The reason why this unifying spirit is so quickly lost amongst the conditions is because you so quickly forget the brightness and purity of your own essential nature, and amid the activities of the day, you cease to realize its existence. That is why, Ananda, you and all sentient beings have fallen through ignorance into misfortune and into different realms of existence.

Now, Ananda, you wish to know the right road to Samapatti, so as to escape from the cycle of deaths and rebirths. Is it not so, Ananda? Then let me ask you some more questions. The Lord Tathagata raised one of his arms with hand and fingers clenched, saying: Ananda, do you see this?

Yes, I see it, my Lord.

What do you see, Ananda?

I see my Lord raising one of his arms with hand clenched and its brightness blinds my eyes and warms my heart.

With what do you see it, Ananda?

I see it with my eyes, of course.

Then the Lord Buddha said: Ananda, you have just answered me by saying that when the Tathagata by clenching his fingers made a shining fist, that its brightness shone into your eyes and warmed your heart. Very good. Now I will ask you: While my fist is shining brightly and while you are looking at it closely, what is it that reveals the existence of your mind?

Ananda replied: You are now asking me about the existence of my mind. To answer that question I must use my thinking and reasoning faculty to search and find an answer. Yes, now I understand. This thinking and reasoning being is what is meant as “my mind.”

The Lord Buddha rebuked Ananda sharply and said: Surely that is nonsense, to assert that your being is your mind.

Ananda stood up with hands pressed together and said with astonishment: Why, my Lord, if my being is not my mind, what else can be my mind?

The Lord Buddha replied: The notion that your being is your mind, is simply one of the false conceptions that arises from reflecting about the relations of yourself and outside objects, and which obscures your true and essential Mind. It is because, since from beginningless time down to the present life, you have been constantly misunderstanding your true and essential Mind. It is like treating a petty thief as your own son. By so doing you have lost consciousness of your original and permanent Mind and because of it have been forced to undergo the sufferings of successive deaths and rebirths.

Ananda, in dismay and confusion, said to the Lord: I am your beloved cousin and owing to my appreciation of your marks of excellence, you have permitted me to become your disciple. So, in regard to my mind, it is not simply that my mind has offered adoration to my Lord Tathagata, but it has also offered praise to all the Buddhas and learned Masters of all the innumerable Buddha Lands. More than that, it is my mind that has been attempting all manner of difficult practices with great resolution and courage. These are all activities of my mind as well as of myself. How can they be separated? Even my evil acts of slandering the Dharma, neglecting good practices, these also are activities of my mind as well as of myself. Myself is my mind. If these acts can be shown to be not the activities of my mind, then I would be mindless, just like any other image made from a log or from earth. Or, if I should give up my perceptions and consciousness, there would be nothing left that could be regarded as my self or as my mind. What do you mean, my Lord, when you say that my being is not my mind? As you can see, I am astonished and confused. And this audience, they are also in doubt. Pray have mercy upon us all and explain yourself clearly for we are only ignorant disciples.

Thereupon the Blessed Lord laid his hand affectionately upon the head of Ananda and proceeded to explain the true and Essence nature of Mind, desiring to awaken in them a consciousness of that which transcended phenomena. He explained to them how necessary it was to keep the mind free from all discriminating thoughts of self and not-self if they were to correctly understand it.

He continued: Ananda and all my Disciples! I have always taught you that all phenomena and their developments are simply manifestations of mind. All causes and effects, from great universes to the fine dust only seen in the sunlight come into apparent existence only by means of the discriminating mind. If we examine the origin of anything in all the universe, we find that it is but a manifestation of some primal essence. Even the tiny leaves of herbs, knots of thread, everything, if we examine them carefully we find that there is some essence in its originality. Even open space is not nothingness. How can it be then that the wonderful, pure, tranquil and enlightened Mind, which is the source of all conceptions of manifested phenomena, should have no essence of itself.

If you must stingily grasp this perceptive mind of discriminating consciousness that is dependent upon the different sense organs as being the same as Essential Mind, then the discriminative mind would have to forsake all those activities responding to any kind of form, sight, sound, odor, taste, touch, and seek for another and more perfect self-nature. You are now listening to my teaching and your minds are making discriminations by means of the sounds rising from my speaking, but when the sounds cease and all the perceptions arising from the sounds come to an end, still the mind goes on discriminating the memory of those sounds and you find it difficult to keep your mind in emptiness and tranquillity. This does not mean that I am instructing you not to grasp at these following activities, but I am instructing you to study their nature more closely. If your mind, after the object is removed from sight, still has its discriminating nature, does it necessarily mean that your discriminating mind has lost its substantiality? Does it not rather mean that you are now discriminating merely the shadows and reflections of unreal things which had their origin in objects in the presence of your sight? Objects certainly are not permanent; as they vanish, does your mind vanish, also, and become like hair on a tortoise, or a horn on a rabbit? If mind vanishes, then the Dharmakaya would be exterminated and who would be devoted to the practice of attaining perseverance in getting rid of the developments arising from the conceptions of phenomena? At this, Ananda and the great audience became more confused and speechless.

The Lord Buddha continued: Ananda, if in this world disciples practiced meditation assiduously, though they attained all the nine stages of calmness in Dhyana, yet do not accomplish the attainment of Arhats free from the intoxicants arising from worldly contaminations and attachments, it is wholly due to their grasping this deceiving conception of discriminative thinking that is based on unrealities and mistaking the delusion as being a reality. Ananda, although you have learned a great deal, you are not yet ready for the maturity of Buddhahood.

ཨེ་མ་ཧོ། ཕན་ནོ་ཕན་ནོ་སྭཱཧཱ།

When Ananda heard this solemn teaching, he became very sorrowful and with tears falling, with forehead, hands and feet touching the ground, he paid homage to the Lord. Then kneeling, he said:

Noble Lord! Since I determined to follow you and become your disciple, I have always thought that I could rely upon your supernormal strength and that it would not be difficult to put your teachings into practice. I expected that the Lord would favor me with an experience of Samadhi in this body; I did not appreciate that the body and mind were different and could not be substituted for each other, so I have likely lost my own mind. Although I have become a disciple of Buddha, my heart is not yet absorbed in Enlightenment. I am like a prodigal son who has forsaken his father. I now see that in spite of my learning, if I am not able to put it into practice, I am no better than an unlearned man. It is like a man talking about food, but never eating and becoming satisfied. We are all entangled in these two hindrances: knowledge and learning, and vexation and suffering. I can now see that it is all due to our ignorance of the eternal and tranquil nature of true Mind. Pray, my Lord Tathagata, have mercy upon us all; show us clearly the mysterious, enlightening Mind, and open our true eye of Enlightenment.

Suddenly from the holy symbol on the breast of the Lord Tathagata, there shown forth a glorious, blazing brightness, which radiated forth brilliantly into hundreds and thousands of colored rays reaching to the ten quarters of the universes, which were instantly turned into innumerable Buddha-lands, and glorified all the holy shrines of the Tathagata, in all the ten quarters of the universes. And, finally, the scintillating splendor returned to rest on the crown of Ananda and upon the crown of each one in the assembly.

Then the Lord Buddha addressed Ananda, saying: For the sake of all I will lift the luminous beacon of the Dharma so that by its light all sentient beings may realize the wonderful, mysterious nature of the pure enlightening Mind and acquire its true intrinsic Eye.

First, let me question you, Ananda. You saw my fist and it seemed bright to you. By what means did its brightness manifest itself? By what means was it seen, and by what means was the thought of brightness conceived?

Ananda replied: My Lord, the brightness comes from the whole luminous body of my Lord which is as brightly shining as a valley filled with rubies. Your holy body, shining as it does, could not have originated except from Purity itself. Your hand being clenched was in the form of a fist, I saw it with my eyes, my mind conceived its brightness.

The Buddha said: You say that it takes the movement of my fingers and the seeing of your eyes to give you the conception of a fist. Does that mean that the nature of the movement of the fingers and the seeing of the eyes and the thinking of the mind are all alike?

Ananda replied: Yes, my Lord. If you had no hand, or I had no eyes, there could be no conception of a fist. There must be the meeting of the two conditions.

The Lord Buddha interrupted: You state that the movement of the hand and the seeing of the eyes being in agreement, the mind conceives a fist. Is that wholly true? If a man loses his hand he loses it forever, but if a man loses his eyes, he does not wholly lose the sense of sight, nor does he lose the conception of a fist. Suppose you meet a blind man on the road and you ask him, “In your blindness, what do you see?“ He will give you some such answer as this: “I can only see darkness, nothing else.” This means that the objects within the range of his former sight have become darkened; there is no loss of his conception of sight but the conception is of darkness.

Ananda asked: My Lord, if the blind man can only perceive darkness, how can it mean that he still possesses the perception of sight?

The Buddha replied: Ananda, this blind man of no eyes simply sees darkness just as any seeing man who is shut up in a dark room sees darkness. Close your eyes, Ananda, what do you perceive but darkness?

Ananda had to admit that as far as perceiving darkness was concerned there was no difference between the blind man, the man in a dark room and himself with his eyes closed.

The Buddha resumed: If the blind man seeing only darkness suddenly recovers his sight and again sees objects, we say that he sees them by means of his eyes. A lamp is suddenly brought into the dark room and we say that the man again sees objects by means of the lamp. That is not strictly true for while the lamp does reveal objects, it is the eyes that perceive them. If it were otherwise and the seeing belonged to the lamp then it would no longer be a lamp and the seeing would have no relation to him. In a true sense, however, it is neither the lamp nor the eyes that perceives objects.

Although this was the second instruction that Ananda had had on this subject, he did not yet understand it and sat dazed hoping for a clearer interpretation of it in the kind and gentle tones of the Master and he waited with a pure and expectant heart for the Blessed One’s further explanation.

The Lord Buddha, in great kindness, let his hand rest kindly on the head of Ananda and said to him: Ananda, at the beginning of my perfect Enlightenment I went to the Deer Forest at Sarnath where Kaundinya and his four disciples were staying and gave them my first teaching. The teaching was this: The reason why all sentient beings fail to attain enlightenment and Arhatship is because they have been led astray by false conceptions regarding phenomena and objects, which defiled their minds. Since that time they have understood the import of that teaching and have become enlightened.

Then Kaundinya rose from his seat and addressed the Lord, saying: Blessed Lord! I am now the oldest in this assembly and am credited with having the best understanding of the Dharma. I attained Arhatship by realizing the significance of objective things. I was like a traveler seeking lodgings where I could satisfy my hunger and take my rest, but, like a traveler after he had satisfied his hunger and taken his rest, he could no longer stay there for a comfortable rest but must set out on another day’s journey. If he was the inn-keeper he could do so, but the traveler is the symbol of impermanency. We may also draw a lesson from the sky. After a rain it is fresh and clear and the sun’s rays penetrating the clouds light up the dust particles moving about in the air. We think of open space as a symbol of motionlessness and permanency, while we think of dust particles as symbols of motion and impermanency. The Lord Buddha was much pleased by the words of Kaundinya and said: So it is, so it is, Kaundinya! Then raising his hand, he opened his fingers and then closed them, saying: What do you see, Ananda?

Ananda replied: I see my Lord standing before the assembling opening and closing his beautiful fingers.

The Lord resumed: As you watch the fingers of my hand opening and closing, does the perception of motion belong to my hand or to your eyes?

Ananda replied: My Lord, while your precious hand is opening and closing I recognize the motion as belonging to your hand and not to my eyes.

The Lord enquired: Ananda, what is in motion and what is still?

Ananda replied: My Lord, it is your fingers that are in motion, but as to the perception of my eyes, while it can not be said that it possesses the nature of absolute stillness, it can hardly be said that it is in motion.

The Lord Buddha was pleased with this reply and said: So it is, Ananda. Then the Lord Buddha caused a bright beam of light to dart from his hand and fall on Ananda’s right side. Ananda quickly turned his head to look at it. Then the Lord caused another beam of light to fall on Ananda’s left, and Ananda quickly turned his head to look at that. Then the Lord Buddha questioned Ananda, saying: Ananda. what caused you to turn your head about?

My Lord, it was because I saw a shining beam of light springing from my Lord’s hand and darting first to my right and then to my left, and I turned my head to look at it.

Ananda, you say that when your eyes followed the light, you turned your head from right to left. Tell me was it your head or the perception of your sight that moved?

My Lord, it was my head that moved. As to the perception of sight, while it can not be said that it has the nature of motionlessness, neither can it be said that it has no motion.

The Lord was pleased with this reply and said: So it is, Ananda. When I was looking at you as sentient beings do, it was your head that was moving about but my perception of sight did not move, and when you were looking at me, it was my hand opening and closing, not your “seeing” that moved. Ananda, can you not see the difference in nature in that which moves and changes, and that which is motionless and unchanging? It is body which moves and changes, not Mind. Why do you so persistently look upon motion as appertaining to both body and mind? Why do you permit your thoughts to rise and fall, letting the body rule the mind, instead of Mind ruling the body? Why do you let your senses deceive you as to the true unchanging nature of Mind and then to do things in a reversed order which leads to motion and confusion and suffering? As one forgets the true nature of Mind, so he mistakes the reflections of objects as being his own mind, thus binding him to the endless movements and changes and suffering of the recurring cycles of deaths and rebirths that are of his own causing. You should regard all that changes as “dust-particles” and that which is unchanging as being your own true Nature of Mind.

Then Ananda and all the assembly realized that from beginningless time, they had forgotten and ignored their own true nature, had misinterpreted conditional objects, and had confused their minds by false discriminations and illusive reflections. They felt like a little baby that had found its mother’s breast, and became calm and peaceful in spirit. In this spirit they pressed their hands together and made devout obeisance to the Blessed One. They besought the Lord Tathagata to teach them how to make right distinctions between body and mind, between the real and the unreal, between that which is true and that which is false, between the manifested natures of deaths and rebirths on the one hand, and the intrinsic nature of that which is un-born and never dies on the other hand; the one appearing and disappearing, the other forever abiding within the essence of their own mind.

ཨེ་མ་ཧོ། ཕན་ནོ་ཕན་ནོ་སྭཱཧཱ།
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