Closing Teachings on Prajñāpāramitā

Painting by Peter Adams

At that time, Mañjuśrī addressed the Buddha, saying, “Bhagavān, in the cities and villages of Jambudvīpa, what should be the station of one who expounds the extremely profound Prajñāpāramitā?” The Buddha said to Mañjuśrī, “Now in this assembly, if there are people who hear Prajñāpāramitā, and all vow saying, ‘In a future life, I should always attain this manifestation of Prajñāpāramitā,’ then from this belief, in a future life, they will be able to hear this sūtra. It should be known that it is not from few good roots that such a person is able to accept and hear it with bliss. Mañjuśrī, if there is again someone who has heard this Prajñāpāramitā from you, then you should say, ‘In this Prajñāpāramitā, there is no Śrāvaka or Pratyekabuddha Dharma, or a Buddha Dharma, and also no dharmas of birth and death, of ordinary beings, and so on.’” Mañjuśrī addressed the Buddha, saying, “Bhagavān, suppose bhikus, bhikuīs, upāsakas, or upāsikās come and ask of me, ‘How does the Buddha expound Prajñāpāramitā?’ I would reply saying, ‘All dharmas are without conflicting characteristics, so how should the Tathāgata expound Prajñāpāramitā?’ Why? There is no perception of the existence of dharmas with which dharmas may conflict, and also no minds and consciousnesses of sentient beings which are able to know.

Jambudvīpa: Jambudvīpa is the dvipa of the terrestrial world, as envisioned in the cosmologies of Hinduism, Buddhism, and Jainism, which is the realm where ordinary human beings live. (Wiki)

As the sutra says, those who hear the Prajñāpāramitā and Mindfully cultivate it can expect no few good Dharma roots in future incarnations; indeed, their blessings will be multifold. The Tathagata once again emphasizes the no-perceptional Mindset that never engages in conflictual dharmas that house no true mentation’s of sentient beings.

“Moreover, Bhagavān, I would further speak of ultimate reality. Why? All characteristics of dharmas similarly enter reality, and so arhatship is not a supreme Dharma. Why? This is because the Arhat Dharma and the Ordinary Person Dharma are neither the same nor different. Moreover, Bhagavān, thusly speaking the Dharma, there are no sentient beings who have obtained Nirvāa, are now obtaining it, or will obtain it. Why? This is because there is no definitive characteristic of the existence of sentient beings.” Mañjuśrī said, “If someone wishes to hear Prajñāpāramitā, I should speak thusly. That person who hears, not mindful not suffering, without hearing and without grasping, is thus like an illusory person without distinctions. One who speaks thusly is truly expounding the Dharma. For this reason, one who hears without characteristics of duality, does not abandon perceptions to cultivate the Buddha Dharma, not grasping at the Buddha Dharma, and not abandoning the Ordinary Person Dharma. Why? This is because a Buddha and an ordinary person are two dharmas empty of characteristics, to be neither grasped nor abandoned. If a person questions me, I should speak thusly, comfort thusly, and establish thusly. Good men and good women, when responding to questioning, should abide thusly, with a mind not regressing or shrinking back, with such characteristics of the Dharma, and speaking in accordance with Prajñāpāramitā.”

In speaking of the Dharmadhatu there are no true arhats who purportedly expound a superior dharma, as they are neither the same nor different from the ordinary mindset. Being Mindful and IN the Dharmadhatu, there are no self-existing sentient beings who need to be freed from suffering or who need to somehow procure nirvana. All one need do is to abide THUSLY in the Dharmadhatu, never regressing back to skandhic-reasoning, nor shrinking in their promise to faithfully abide in the teachings of the Prajñāpāramitā.

At that time, the Bhagavān exclaimed to Mañjuśrī, “Excellent, excellent! It is just as you have explained. If good men and good women wish to perceive the buddhas, then they should learn Prajñāpāramitā. Those who wish to serve the buddhas and make Dharma offerings thusly, should learn Prajñāpāramitā. Those who wish to say that the Tathāgata is their Bhagavān, should learn Prajñāpāramitā thusly. Even those who say that the Tathāgata is not their Bhagavān, should also learn Prajñāpāramitā thusly. Those who wish to accomplish Anuttarā Samyaksabodhi, should learn Prajñāpāramitā thusly. Even those who wish to not accomplish Anuttarā Samyaksabodhi, should also learn Prajñāpāramitā thusly. Those who wish to accomplish all samādhis, should learn Prajñāpāramitā thusly. Even those who wish to not accomplish all samādhis, should also learn Prajñāpāramitā thusly. Why? The reason for this is that unconditioned samādhi is without opposing characteristics, because all dharmas are unarisen and without production. Those who wish to be aware that all dharmas are but false names, should learn Prajñāpāramitā thusly. Those who wish to know that all sentient beings who cultivate the Bodhi Path do not seek a characteristic of Bodhi, should learn Prajñāpāramitā thusly. Why? This is because all dharmas are characteristics of Bodhi. Those who wish to know that all actions of sentient beings are not actions, that this non-action is itself Bodhi, Bodhi is itself the Dharma Realm, and that the Dharma Realm is itself reality, and know this with a mind not regressing nor shrinking back, then they should learn Prajñāpāramitā thusly. Those who wish to be aware that all the supernormal abilities and transformations of the tathāgatas are without characteristics, unimpeded, and without location, then they should learn Prajñāpāramitā thusly.”

When One wants to stay centered in the Buddha’s own Dharma-field, then that one needs to faithfully abide in the Prajñāpāramitā. This Dharma-field encompasses all the great samadhis, the right cultivation of Bodhipower, and thus also being privy to the supra-natural and transformational abilities of the Tathagatas—all of this is empowered through proper study of the Prajñāpāramitā.

The Buddha said to Mañjuśrī, “If there are bhikus, bhikuīs, upāsakas, or upāsikās who wish to not fall into evil destinies, then they should learn Prajñāpāramitā. They should accept, maintain, study, and recite a four-line gāthā, [of this paramita of wisdom—inclusion mine] practicing as explained and in accordance with its true characteristic. For a good man or good women who do thusly, it should be known that they will certainly attain Anuttarā Samyaksabodhi and abide in a buddha-land. If one hears Prajñāpāramitā thusly, unalarmed and unafraid, with a mind that gives rise to belief and understanding, then it should be known that this is the true Dharma seal of the buddhas, the Mahāyāna Dharma seal of the true practice of the buddhas. If good men and good women learn this Dharma seal, they will transcend the evil destinies, and not enter into the śrāvaka or pratyekabuddha paths, for these are transcended as well.”

Once again, we find here in this sutra a form of protection dhāranī from all fear and evil; this particular one also is reinforced with the added benefit of being afforded the assurance of entering into a Buddha-land, as well as being blessed with Anuttarā Samyaksaṃbodhi.

At that time, Śakra from Trāyastriśa Heaven scattered wondrous flowers below: utpala flowers, kumuda flowers, puṇḍarīka flowers, heavenly māndarāva flowers, etc., along with heavenly sandalwood fragrance and powdered incense, a proliferation of gold and jewels, and heavenly music, as an offering to Prajñāpāramitā, to the tathāgatas, and to Mañjuśrī. After making this offering, he vowed, “I will always listen to the Dharma seal of Prajñāpāramitā!” Śakra Devānāmindra also made the vow, “I vow that the good men and good women of Jambudvīpa will always be able to hear this sūtra, the definitive Buddha Dharma, causing all to believe, understand, accept, maintain, study, recite, and explain it to others. All the devas will protect and support them!” At that time, the Buddha said to Śakra Devānāmindra, “Kauśika, thusly, thusly! Good men and good women should obtain resolve to the Bodhi of the buddhas.” Mañjuśrī addressed the Buddha, saying, “Bhagavān, thusly accepting and maintaining, good men and good women obtain great benefit and immeasurable merit.”

Śakra Devānāmindra: Lord of the Deva Kings

Quite an auspicious blessing from the Lord of the Deva kings. Essentially, this entails anyone who faithfully upholds this Prajñāpāramitā sutra will be blessed by infinite devas. 

At that time, from the Buddha’s spiritual power, the great earth shook in six directions. Then the Buddha smiled, emanating a great radiance that universally illuminated the three thousand great thousand-worlds. Mañjuśrī addressed the Buddha, saying, “Bhagavān, this itself is the Tathāgata’s seal of the characteristic of Prajñāpāramitā!” The Buddha said, “Mañjuśrī, thusly, thusly! This auspicious sign always occurs after Prajñāpāramitā has been spoken, to seal Prajñāpāramitā and to enable people to accept and maintain it without praise or criticism. Why? The Dharma seal that is without characteristics is unable to be praised or criticized. By means of this Dharma seal, I now cause the celestial māras to be unable to gain any advantage.” After the Buddha said this, then the great bodhisattvas and the Fourfold Sagha had heard this exposition of Prajñāpāramitā, and they blissfully and reverently practiced in accordance.

An even greater auspicious sign as the Tathagatas’ own magnificent spiritual power SEALS the Wisdom of the Prajñāpāramitā upon all who have heard it spoken by the Prince of Holy Wisdom himself, Mañjuśrī. Mañjuśrī reinforces this majestic-moment by proclaiming that this great seal will mystically appear anytime the Prajñāpāramitā is proclaimed. This Great Dharma-seal of the Blessed Tathagata also prevents Māra and his minions from having any adverse effect upon those who faithfully uphold the Prajñāpāramitā.

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