Posts Tagged ‘Tathata-garbha Zen’
Sections LXXX-XC entitled “Final Questions” by Red Pine actually combines the former Suzuki chapters 4-9 into one chapter, 4.
At the beginning of this Lanka series mention was made concerning the various stages that comprise the Bodhisattva path, and that “stages are provisional and are meant to be transcended if not abandoned.” Section LXXX reveals these stages to be just that—provisional—in that it provides the developing bodhisattva a focusing device to measure their ascent to full self-realization of Noble Wisdom, but in the final run the “sequence of stages and all the phenomena in the three realms are nothing but perceptions of one’s own mind. But fools are unaware of this. And because they are unaware, I and other buddhas talk about a sequence of stages and talk about the phenomena of the three realms.” (Red Pine, pg.235) Wonderful revelation here that, in the absolute sense, these stages are not some set of concreted realities, but are, in reality, further—if refined—mind perceptions. Even the ideation at the apparent 6th stage, wherein one discerns the Samadhi of Cessation—thereby opening the door to final nirvana for those of lesser abilities—this “cessation” is really just another “perception”… a further perception that this “nirvana thing” is somehow self-existent. Yet, the Maha Bodhisattva is not obstructed with this mere ideation, “And because conceptions of nirvana do not arise, they transcend projections of grasping and what is grasped and realize that these are nothing but perceptions of their own mind.” (Red Pine, pg. 235) The Lanka goes even further here by asserting that anything that arises or ceases—any phenomenal perception (dharmas)—is not conducive to the Buddhadharma. As their self-realization becomes enhanced, the Maha Bodhisattva awakens to the state-less state of what Suzuki terms, “absolute-solitude.” This absolute solitude is synonymous with the noble realm of Tathagata-garbha, or UnbornMind Zen—wherein the Undivided Awareness Power of the Unborn Mind and Spirit fully recognizes Its pure suchness, or Tathata—and is no longer hindered by the constrictive grasp of the body consciousness and its accompanying perfumed traces of habit energy, all the “sights, sounds, smells, feelings, emotions and thoughts from the beginningless past” appearing and disappearing in the dreaming dungeon of the perceiving and projecting mind. Hence, “And because they transcend the mind, the will, and conceptual consciousness, they achieve the forbearance of non-arising. Mahamati, the ultimate truth includes no sequence of stages. The absence of all projections, this is what is meant by detachment from dharmas.” (Red Pine, pg. 237)
The concluding gathas (verses) in this section is a real eye-opener, “The tenth stage thus becomes the first/ the first becomes the eighth/ the ninth becomes the seventh/ and the seventh becomes the eighth, ect…but which is free from projections?” (Red Pine, pg. 237) It’s as if the Buddha is playing Mind Games with Mahamati (as well as with the reader). Any “linear” gradation is not important where “imagelessness” (what Red Pine calls projectionless) prevails. The truth of “absolute solitude” occurs when the “discrimination of all images it quieted.” There are no real “stages” then…just the stuff that dreams are made of…