Mirrored-Wisdom

mirwisdom

(Hakeda)

And, again, original enlightenment, when analyzed in relation to the defiled state [in the phenomenal order], presents itself as having two attributes. One is the “Purity of Wisdom” and the other is the “Suprarational Functions.”  

Purity of wisdom and the suprarational functions of the Absolute, or enlightenment, can be discussed only in relation to phenomena, or nonenlightenment. About the Absolute, or enlightenment, in its totally transcendental aspect, nothing can be said. 

(a) Purity of Wisdom. By virtue of the permeation (vāsanā, perfuming) of the influence of dharma [i.e., the essence of Mind or original enlightenment], a man comes to truly discipline himself and fulfills all expedient means [of unfolding enlightenment]; as a result, he breaks through the compound consciousness [i.e., the Storehouse Consciousness that contains both enlightenment and nonenlightenment], puts an end to the manifestation of the stream of [deluded] mind, and manifests the Dharmakāya [i.e., the essence of Mind], for his wisdom ( prajñā) becomes genuine and pure.

Here ‘Invincible Enlightenment’ is bracketed in ‘relative-mode.’ As such It is mirrored through the phenomenal-plane via the “perfuming-power” of the Dharma. -Wisdom as perfumed essence-. In Itself, there is no Wisdom, or any other attributive and/or meritorious aspect; hence Wisdom is Its function. As function Wisdom inspires meritorious activity and thus the Alaya-receptacle is laid bare. Once this occurs meritrocity is incurred, through direct and unhindered gnosis, in that the imageless manifestation of the Dharmakayā is not in need of any meritorious associations.

The dharmakaya is not said to be obtained by a perfect accumulation of merits, the maturation of which are the (thirty-two) signs of the great man; in fact the means (in both cases) are different; (viz.gnosis being the very essence of dharmakaya, that dharmakaya cannot be identical with merits). [The Triśatikāyāh Prajñāapāramitāyaḥ Kārikāsaptatiḥ by Asaṅga; Minor Buddhist Texts, pg.122 Giuseppe Tucci, 1956)

What is the meaning of this? All modes (lakshana) of mind and consciousness [under the state of nonenlightenment] are [the products of ] ignorance. Ignorance does not exist apart from enlightenment*; therefore, it cannot be destroyed [because one cannot destroy something that does not really exist], and yet it cannot not be destroyed [insofar as it remains]. 

* Neither identical nor not-identical

This is in direct correlation with the “no direct-relational sense” of the Tathatic-imperative, i.e., no place to repose in the Heart of Suchness:

Though the absolute (tathatā ) is always and everywhere, still it cannot be realized by those who, on account of ignorance, have their mind reposing somewhere (pratiṣṭhita) but, on the contrary, it is realized by the others whose mind, on account of right knowledge, reposes nowhere (apratiṣṭhita) . (ibid, pg.110)

This is like the relationship that exists between the water of the ocean [i.e., enlightenment] and its waves [i.e., modes of mind] stirred by the wind [i.e., ignorance]. Water and wind are inseparable; but water is not mobile by nature, and if the wind stops the movement ceases. But the wet nature remains undestroyed. Likewise, man’s Mind, pure in its own nature, is stirred by the wind of ignorance. Both Mind and ignorance have no particular forms of their own, and they are inseparable. Yet Mind is not mobile by nature, and if ignorance ceases, then the continuity [of deluded activities] ceases. But the essential nature of wisdom [i.e., the essence of Mind, like the wet nature of the water] remains undestroyed. 

Wetness is not dissolved by the raging winds of ignorance, only altered in its modality. As such, Mind is Unmoving (In Essence) yet remains dynamic and transformable. Once the motion of ignorance ceases, all manner of delusion dissolves-away and wetness awaits its next transformation, like quicksilver.

(b) Suprarational Functions. [He who has fully uncovered the original enlightenment] is capable of creating all manner of excellent conditions because his wisdom is pure. The manifestation of his numberless excellent qualities is incessant; accommodating himself to the capacity of other men he responds spontaneously, reveals himself in manifold ways, and benefits them. 

Wisdom functions freely in the mind of the ariyan who effortlessly unfolds all manner of spiritual benefits in the manner that befits one’s capacity.

3) The Characteristics of the Essence of Enlightenment. The characteristics of the essence of enlightenment have four great significances that are identical with those of empty space or that are analogous to those of a bright mirror.

First, [the essence of enlightenment is like] a mirror that is really empty [of images]. It is free from all marks of objects of the mind and it has nothing to reveal in itself, for it does not reflect any images.  

The first in this fourfold significance is likened unto an “imageless mirror”—Self-empty of the defiling marks from all sensate modalities.

Second, [it is, as it were] a mirror, influencing (vāsanā) [all men to advance toward enlightenment], serving as the primary cause [of their attaining enlightenment]. That is to say, it is truly nonempty; appearing in it are all the objects of the world that neither go out nor come in; that are neither lost nor destroyed. It is eternally abiding One Mind. [All things appear in it] because all things are real. And none of the defiled things are able to defile it, for the essence of wisdom [i.e., original enlightenment] is unaffected [by defilements], being furnished with an unsoiled quality and influencing all men [to advance toward enlightenment].  

This portion from The Buddhist Bible translation reads:

[“The second significance is one of greatness of its affirmation of trueness. No matter what the phenomena or the conditions may be in the Saha world they are reflected in the mirror of the Mind’s pure Essence with perfect trueness and impartiality. There is nothing that enters and nothing that departs, there is nothing that is lost nor destroyed, for in the true Essential Mind all conceptions are of one sameness that in its suchness abides unchanged and permanent. For true Essential Mind yields to no contaminations that can possibly contaminate it, and even its reflected contaminated conceptions have no effect upon it. Its intuitional nature is never disturbing and, on the contrary, is in possession of boundless non-intoxicant virtues that influence all sentient beings to draw them into the unity and purity of its pure Essence.”]

*The following excerpt from Tozen’s Dragon Mind of Zen, ‘A Timeless Lesson’, sums this up perfectly:

When it becomes free from deluded thinking, the all-comprehending wisdom of the true, the spontaneous wisdom of the true and the unobstructed wisdom of the true, will then be manifest before it as its own real body of truth, ever available since beginningless time.

Third, [it is like] a mirror that is free from [defiled] objects [reflected in it]. This can be said because the nonempty state [of original enlightenment] is genuine, pure, and bright, being free from hindrances both affectional and intellectual, and transcending characteristics of that which is compounded [i.e., the Storehouse Consciousness].

The Essential Mind Substance is never soiled by the reflections of any contaminated images stored in the Alaya receptacle. Anything slithering across the Unmoving Mirror of Suchness is rendered harmless [and is even liberated] in Light of ITs Undivided Truth.

Fourth, [it is like] a mirror influencing [a man to cultivate his capacity for goodness], serving as a coordinating cause [to encourage him in his endeavors]. Because [the essence of enlightenment] is free from [defiled] objects, it universally illumines the mind of man and induces him to cultivate his capacity for goodness, presenting itself in accordance with his desires [as a mirror presents his appearance].  

When one looks into the imageless mirror of Suchness, one’s mind is illumined by THAT which induces perfect freedom in the Unborn Mind. In effect, one looks upon unconstrained Buddha-nature appearing undefiled. 

*Suzuki’s footnote to this section sums-up these four as:  

According to the older translation, the first significance is called the “mirror of transcendental (or empty) trueness”; the second, the “mirror of the perfuming principle”; the third, the “mirror of the dharma of liberation”; and the fourth, the “mirror of the perfuming cause.” 

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