Two: Subhuti Makes a Request
At that time the elder Subhuti arose from his seat in the assembly, uncovered his right shoulder, placed his right knee on the ground, put his palms together with respect and said to the Buddha,
“How rare, Blessed One, exceedingly rare O’ Sugata, is the Tathagata who remembers and protects all Bodhisattvas and empowers them to be well-endowed with the Buddhadharma.
Blessed One, if a good man, or good woman, resolves one’s heart on Anuttara Samyak Sambodhi, how then should one dwell, how should one advance on the noble path and thus subdue one’s desires and thoughts?”
The Buddha said, “Good indeed, well done, Subhuti! It is just as you say. The Tathagata remembers and protects all Bodhisattvas and causes them to be well-endowed with the Buddhadharma. Now listen attentively; I shall tell you how the one who has entered the Supreme Path to Tathagatahood, who resolves in one’s very heart on Anuttara Samyak Sambodhi should dwell, thus subduing all phenomena.”
Subhuti replied, “Yes, certainly, Blessed One. I want to hear. I am delighted to listen.”
Subhuti: This section covers the fundamental question on Prajnaparamita as addressed by Subhuti. Subhuti is the prominent spokesperson here and is one of the Ten Great Disciples of the Buddha. He is dominant in this sutra as becoming famous (during this encounter with the Buddha) for his erudite grasp of the notion of emptiness, sunyata. We will be exploring this in depth at a later juncture but for now it is good to grasp that this “emptiness” is not referring to “space”—but rather totally devoid of all phenomenal outflows.
uncovered his right shoulder, placed his right knee on the ground: this is a customary posture deeply rooted in the Buddhaic Tradition and is even used today when adepts address their superiors; it is a sign of deep respect for those who are advanced in the Buddhadharma.
Sugata; Tathagata: both epithets for the Buddha. Their mystical sense is most profound as meaning having arrived at the Absolute fullness of Wisdom’s Perfection and is thus one with Tathata—suchness; thus total assimilation of Self as the Absolute.
a good man, or good woman, resolves one’s heart: this is profound in the sense that the Essential-Self, dwelling within the Mind of one who is in earnest of cultivating the total Bodhisattva-Vehicle, is awakened (Bodhi) and thus once again Undivided within the Absolute Heart of Suchness.
Anuttara Samyak Sambodhi: Unexcelled Perfection in Inseparable Bodhi—Supreme Enlightenment. Indeed, this sutra is far from kindergarten-stuff; it is the quest for the Ultimate in Self-enlightenment—the Great Diamond Mind Realizing Perfection in inseparable union with the very Wisdom-Mind of the Buddhas themselves. This is about the Supreme Path and Union with Tathagatahood and cutting like a Diamond through any and all phenomenal imperfections that hinder such a quest.
I want to hear. I am delighted to listen: Subhuti is not making this claim lightly; he is invoking the ability to hear (Dhammasota) the Buddhadharma with an inner-spiritual faculty that is not hindered by any phenomenal mechanism, but one that is endowed with the blessing of being empowered to hear as the Tathagatas themselves.