Rare is True Faith

Six: Rare is True Faith

Subhuti said to the Buddha: “Blessed One, will there always be those who will truly
believe after having heard these teachings?”

Buddha answered: “Subhuti, do not utter such words! At the end of the last five-hundred year period following the passing of the Tathagata, there will be self-controlled Bodhi-beings, rooted in merit and deep self-realization, who having heard these teachings through the dharma-ear will be inspired with profound belief. But you should realize that such Bodhi-beings have not strengthened their root of merit under just one Buddha, or two Buddhas, or three, or four, or five Buddhas, but under countless Buddhas; and their merit is of every kind. Such Noble Ones, coming to hear these teachings, will have an immediate uprising of pure faith, Subhuti; and the Tathagata will recognize them. Yes, He will clearly perceive (through his Buddha-eye) all these of pure heart, and the magnitude of their progress in the Buddhadharma.

Why? It is because such Resilient Spirits will not fall back to cherishing the idea of an ego-entity, a personality, a being, or a separated individuality. They will neither fall back to cherishing the idea of things as having intrinsic qualities, nor even of things as devoid of intrinsic qualities.

Why? Because if such Bodhi-beings allowed their minds to grasp and hold on to anything they would be cherishing the idea of an ego-entity, a personality, a being, or a separated individuality; and if they grasped and held on to the notion of things as having intrinsic qualities they would be cherishing the idea of an ego-entity, a personality, a being, or a separated individuality. Likewise, if they grasped and held on to the notion of things as devoid of intrinsic qualities they would be cherishing the idea of an ego-entity, a personality, a being, or a separated individuality. So you should not be attached to things as being possessed of, or devoid of, intrinsic qualities. This is the reason why the Tathagata always teaches this saying: My teaching of the Good Law is to be likened unto a raft. [Does a man who has safely crossed a flood upon a raft continue his journey carrying that raft upon his head?] The Buddha-teaching must be relinquished; how much more so the false adharmas!”

At the end of the last five-hundred year period following the passing of the Tathagata, there will be self-controlled Bodhi-beings, rooted in merit and deep self-realization, who having heard these teachings through the dharma-ear will be inspired with profound belief: This “last 500 year period” following Gautama Buddha’s passage into parinirvana can be considered through various angles of interpretation; the one that sticks with me is that since the cycle began with his departure circa 383 B.C., the final culmination of the “dharma-ending age” will occur approximately right after the turn of the 22nd Century. This is crucial since that cycle is rapidly drawing to a conclusion. Subhuti is wondering if any “worthy ones” will be left to discern the import of this particular Sutra. The Tathagata assures him not to worry, because since the departure there have been determined ones, deeply rooted in faith and disciplined dhyana and having ascended the 10 stages of Tathagahood, who now are ripe “Bodhi-beings” (bodhisattvas). Having been instilled with rich Buddha-gnosis, these Bodhi-beings have developed what this Sutra is essentially all about, and that is seeing with eyes that hear the Truth of the Buddhadharma—in effect, now transcendently seeing and hearing through the supracognitive abilities of the Tathagatas themselves.

But you should realize that such Bodhi-beings have not strengthened their root of merit under just one Buddha, or two Buddhas, or three, or four, or five Buddhas, but under countless Buddhas; and their merit is of every kind: This is a most profound realization. Essentially, this “Bodhi” business has been going on since time immemorial. Siddhartha himself was anointed with blessings from countless Buddhas and Bodhisattvas in all the ten directions, encompassing all those infinitesimal Buddha-fields that we discussed during our study of the Vimalakirti Sutra. Not only that, but the inner Self-realization, the true “nobility” of this cosmic supreme anointment, has its rootedness in the Tathagata-garbha—or the bodhi-womb that nurtures all those Tathatic Seeds of Noble Wisdom via the gestation of the Bodhichild; indeed, it is this Child of Light that harbors the spiritual-genetic stuff of all those countless Buddhas and Bodhisattvas and its gradual development into full-Tathagatahood (with all that combined bodhicitta [Mind-Juice]) is mindboggling. Thus, we can see that the answer to Subhuti’s question is that all who hear and absorb and spiritually comprehend the Diamond Sutra are most special and truly blessed to the nth degree.

It is because such Resilient Spirits will not fall back to cherishing the idea of an ego-entity, a personality, a being, or a separated individuality. They will neither fall back to cherishing the idea of things as having intrinsic qualities, nor even of things as devoid of intrinsic qualities: the aforementioned Bodhi-beings, having risen to the stature of being able to see the Real Nature of Reality—the Dharmadhatu (through the very supracognitive abilities of the Tathagatas themselves)—no longer fall-back and regress into skandhic-induced phenomena of the karmadhatu. For them anything that has any intrinsic worth, or is devoid of intrinsic worth, is not even remotely considered since ALL THAT IS is now AS IS ITSELF via the Dharmatic Light of the Unborn. There are no longer any categorical imperatives as all conceptual or metaphysical speculation ceases. Huang Po masterfully sums it up as follows:

“The fundamental dharma of the dharma is that there are no dharmas, yet that this dharma of no-dharma is in itself a dharma; and now that no-dharma has been transmitted, how can the dharma of the dharma be a dharma?”

My teaching of the Good Law is to be likened unto a raft. [Does a man who has safely crossed a flood upon a raft continue his journey carrying that raft upon his head?] The Buddha-teaching must be relinquished; how much more so the false adharmas!”: love this classic raft-metaphor. Indeed, all the above, even the Diamond Sutra itself, is just an expedient means ( a tool or vehicle) to the ultimate Noble Self-realization of the inner workings of Pure Mind—at some point, they all need to be put down and discarded, otherwise Pure Mind will still carry all these Mind-tools like an unwanted albatross. There is thus “no-clinging” of anykind; this goes the same for clinging to dharma or no-dharma alike.

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