Chapter Two: The Signless Dharma, cont’d
Vimukti Bodhisattva addressed the Buddha: “How is it that the nature of the tathagatagarbha is calm and motionless?”
The Buddha replied, “The characteristics of arising and demise of the tathagatagarbha’s functions and discretions are [in accordance with] its concealed principle [of void-calmness], enabling it not to manifest [itself]. This is how the nature of the tathagatagarbha is calm and motionless.”
When in pluralized-obstruction mode the tathāgatagarbha exhibits functions bordering on discretional triggers. When in direct accordance with Its Void-Principle all manifestations cessate. Thus when “concealed” (uncompounded—void of all compositional-outflows) IT remains calm and motionless.
Vimukti Bodhisattva inquired, “Why are the characteristics [of the tathagatagarbha’s] functions and discretions subject to arising and demise?”
The Buddha replied, “Bodhisattva, the principle is free from either acceptance or rejection. If there is acceptance or rejection, all kinds of thoughts would be created. All conceptions and mentations are subject to arising and demise.
Of critical import here is to remain [in] the Concealed Principle. In such vein, any semblance of dependent co-arising (i.e., production and extinction) is rendered void. Wŏnhyo further expounds:
This principle transcends all four antinomies [is, is not, both, neither] and is separate from all aspects of approval and disapproval, for it is not a locus for the activities of the discriminative mind. (ibid, pg. 94)
“Bodhisattva, contemplate the self-nature and characteristics [of the tathagatagarbha] and the principle will be perfected in and of itself. All the conceptions and mentations do not augment the principles of the path. They instead agitate [the mind,] so that one loses (forgets) the basic mind-king [of the One-Mind].
With neither conception nor mentation, there will be no creation or extinction [of the mind]. The mind will not arise and be in Reality. All [eight] consciousnesses will be peaceful and calm. The currents [of desire, existence, and ignorance] will not arise. [One then] accesses the purity of the five dharmas [relating to the five aggregates of form, feeling, perception, formation and consciousness]. This is called the Mahayana.
Contemplating the devotional-aspect of the original “Mind-King”—unobstructed Dharmakayic-Principle—one will be automatically perfected in the Unmoving Dharma-Womb. When all conceptions-mentation’s cessate, there is no further co-dependent creation/extinction. Thus, the five-soiled aggregates (skandhic representations—form, feeling, perception, ect) are transmuted to Perfect and Unobstructed Consciousness—or [Original Enlightenment]. Thus, contemplating the Self-Nature of the Tathāgatagarbha the Principle Self-Perfects Itself. As the Awakening of Faith says:
Moreover, the term “the characteristics of the essence itself of true thusness” means that . . . since time immemorial, the nature has itself been replete in all the meritorious qualities. This is to say, it means that the essence itself contains the aspect of the effulgence of great wisdom; the aspect of illuminating all the dharmadhātu; the aspect of authentic cognition; the aspect of the mind being pure in its self-nature; the aspects of permanence, bliss, selfhood, and purity; and the aspect of coolness, immutability, and autonomy. To be completely endowed in this wise with buddhadharmas more numerous than the sands of the Ganges, which are not separate, not eradicated, not differentiated, and which are inconceivable, and so on, up to . . . to be fully endowed with that aspect of being utterly free of deficiencies—this is called the tathāgatagarbha. It is also called the dharmakāya of the tathāgatas. (Hakeda Edition, pp. 64-65)
“Bodhisattva, by accessing the purity (void nature) of the five dharmas [of the five aggregates], the mind is free from delusions. When delusions vanish, one immediately accesses the base of the tathagata’s self-enlightened, Noble-wisdom. One who accesses this wisdom fully knows that everything is uncreated originally. Knowing that everything is uncreated originally, one is free from [all] illusory conceptions.”
Wonderful dogmatic statement of the Unborn Buddha Mind. When the skandhic-overflows subside, the Dharma-Door to Noble Wisdom opens-wide for those who acquire the Buddha-gnosis of the Uncomposed and Uncreated. Skandhic-overflows are [composed], the composition of the aggregates. Whilst those who enter the Blessed Noble Wisdom are privy to the [Uncomposed] Self-Nature of the Supreme Dharma-Mind—the Dharma that is devoid of all characteristics.
Vimukti Bodhisattva addressed the Buddha: “Lord! One who is free from [illusory] conceptions should have nothing that need to be calmed or brought to an end.”
The Buddha responded, “Bodhisattva, delusions are originally uncreated. [Hence,] there are no delusions to be brought to an end. Knowing that the mind is actually non-mind (void in nature), there is no mind to be calmed. [Being] free from both differentiation and discrimination, the consciousness that otherwise] projects sensory objects will cease to be active. With nothing to be calmed, this is non-calming. Yet it is also not non-calming. Why? Because [true] calming actually calms nothing.”
The Bodhisattva reasons that if one is devoid of all secondary characteristics (conceptual frameworks) there is really no-thing that needs to be cessated. The Blessed One reminds the Bodhisattva that all delusional frameworks are [originally] uncreated. When one properly discerns that the Original-Mind King is not a sovereign of any compositional characteristics (no-mind), then there is no delusional no-mind that needs to be calmed. When all discriminations of the clouded mind dissipate, there are no further projections—thus all activity cessates. Hence no-thing remains that needs to be calmed—[true calming] in actuality has no-thing to calm.
Vimukti Bodhisattva addressed the Buddha: “Lord! If calming is non-calming, then calming would be created [by the mind]. How can it be said to be uncreated?”
The Buddha replied, “Bodhisattva, the moment when calming occurs it is being created, [but] after it has been done, no [further] calming is necessary. Do not linger in either non-calming or in non-abiding. How could it (calming) have been created?”
The Blessed One encourages the Bodhisattva to be free from all conceptual frameworks—including here non-calming and non-abiding. While the initial process of calming is a momentary activation, after it completes the mission no [further] calming is required.
Vimukti Bodhisattva addressed the Buddha: “Lord! What does a non-fabricating mind cling to or reject? Does it abide by any characteristics of dharmas?”
The Buddha replied, “The mind that fabricates nothing neither clings to nor rejects anything. It abides by non-mind and it abides by non-dharma.”
Vimukti Bodhisattva addressed the Buddha: “How does one abide by non-mind and abide by non-dharma?”
The Buddha replied, “Abiding by non-mind means mind not creating anything. Abiding by non-dharma means mind not being aroused by any dharma.
When all created dharmas cessate, the fabrication of all forms of clinging is rendered void. The Mind-King is never aroused by lesser dharmas.
“Oh son of good family! If one does not produce [a conception of] either mind or dharmas, [the mind] will then have no support (apratiṣṭhita); not lingering over any compounded thing, the mind will be constantly void and calm, without any differentiated characteristics. It will be just like space, which is motionless and non-abiding, ungenerated and uncreated, and free from either that or this. Once one obtains the eye that is the voidness of mind and obtains the body that is the voidness of dharmas, the five skandhas and the six sense-bases will all become void and calm.”
Buswell’s translation has been inserted here since he refers to “good-family” vs. just good-man of other translations. This is most pertinent since [in this reference] he’s referring to the Tathāgata-Family of all Buddhas, the supernal-family that is devoid of all conceptual-dharmas; one here never becomes involved with the compounded (e.g., skandhic outflows) but only with the uncompounded and uncreated and thus Absolute Originality. Thus, when supernally seen through the Tathāthatic-Eye, all lesser mindfields of the composed are rendered void—there is only quintessential-calm.
(Buswell) “Oh son of good family! One who cultivates the dharma of voidness does not base himself on the three realms of existence and does not linger over the specific regulations of the Vinaya [the discipline]. Pure and free from thoughts, he neither appropriates nor releases anything. His nature is the same as adamant and is not deficient in the triratna [the three gems of the Buddha, Dharma, and Saṃgha]. His mind, emptied, is motionless and endowed with all the six pāramitās.”
(Wŏnhyo) “One who cultivates the dharma of voidness” is a reference to the previous mind of void calmness. After this follows a specific elucidation of each of the six pāramitās. Because he “does not base himself on the three realms of existence” he has perfected the pāramitā of giving. Because he “does not linger over the specific regulations of the Vinaya,” he has perfected the pāramitā of morality. Because he is “pure and free from thoughts,” he has perfected the pāramitā of patient endurance. Because “he neither appropriates nor releases anything,” he has perfected [the pāramitā of] vigorous effort. Because “his nature is the same as adamant,” he has perfected [the pāramitā of] concentration. Because “[his nature] is not deficient in the triratna,” he has perfected [the pāramitā of] prajñā. Why is this? Only this mind of one-pointed contemplation radiates everywhere and serves as the standard for resolving all points of controversy. Therefore, it is completely furnished with “the triratna.” Since the import of all three jewels is fulfilled, it therefore says “not deficient.” This one mind of voidness alone perfects the six pāramitās, without any specific action required; therefore, it says, “His mind, emptied, is motionless and endowed with all the six pāramitās.” (ibid, pg. 105)
Vimukti Bodhisattva addressed the Buddha: “Lord! All the six paramitas have characteristics. Can dharmas having characteristics capable of transcending [sentient beings]?”
The Buddha replied, “Good man, the six paramitas I speak of are formless and beyond practice. Why? If a person forsakes desires, his mind will always be pure. Through his purity in speech and skilful means, he benefits himself and others. This is danaparamita [perfection of charity].
“With firm determination and constant nonabiding, his mind is pure, untainted. He does not cling to the three realms of existence. This is silaparamita [perfection of morality].
“Cultivating [the practices relating to the various aspects of] the void and extricating himself from all the knots (fetters), he is not attached to anything. He calms and silences the three karmic formations [relative to the body, speech and mind] and does not abide by either body or mind. This is ksantiparamita (perfection of patience).
“By leaving all sense-objects (forms), classifications and all ego-generating activities, he overcomes the views of both nonexistence and existence and delves deeply into the void of the aggregates (skandhas) [and their related ramifications the six-roots (sense-doors), twelve entrances (the six sense-doors and their six objects), and eighteen sense realms (the six consciousness of the sense-doors added to the twelve-entrances)]. This is viryaparamita (perfection of courage).
“Completely abandoning [attachment to] both the void and calmness, yet not lingering in any void, the mind is without abode, nor does it dwell in the great void itself. This is dhyanaparamita (perfection of meditation).
“Free of all projections [and being void in nature], the mind does not even cling to the void [itself]. In all activities, the mind is not aroused, nor does it look forward to any realization of calm-extinction (Nirvana). It neither egresses nor accesses. Its nature is in perpetual equanimity. The Reality of all dharmas has this Absolute nature. It does not rely on any of the bhumis (the normal ten stages of spiritual progression), nor abide by any wisdom. This is prajnaparamita (perfection of wisdom).
“Good man, all the six paramitas are endowed with Self-Benediction [leading to Self-Enlightenment). They access the Absolute therein and transcend the world. This is unobstructed liberation.” “Good man, the characteristics of such Dharmas that accord liberation are all beyond signs and practices.
They are also beyond both liberation and bondage. This is called liberation. Why? Because the characteristics of liberation are beyond both sign and practice. It is motionless and beyond distraction. [It is] the calm and silent Nirvana, [yet] without clinging to any characteristics of Nirvana.”
Essentially a reiteration of the above by Wŏnhyo. Although it needs to be stressed that the emphasis on the Dharmatic Elementals of the Original Mind-King supercede any need of ascendancy through the ten bhūmis (including Dharmamegha). The Perfection of Noble Wisdom is ultimately in the Mind-Seat alone—thus a [Self-Benediction] without the need of any secondary agencies for formalized authorization.
After hearing these words, Vimukti Bodhisattva’s mind was greatly pleased as it never had before. Wishing to proclaim the essence and intent [of the Dharma expounded], he recited the stanza:
The Lord, replete with Full Awakening,
Has expounded the Dharma for the assembly.
It was explained from [the view of] the OneVehicle,
Not the pathways of the dualistic vehicles.
The formless benevolence of the Single-Taste,
Is like great space,
Nothing it does not embrace or accept,
According to the differences of individual nature.
All attain the fundamental Self-Domain.
Thus they abandon mind and self (ego),
(signless and nonpractice)
All [past] practices with identification and differentiation,
Being rewarded by Self-Benediction
With all dualistic views extirpated.
The calm and silent Nirvana,
All do not dwell or cling to it.
Accessing the Absolute domain,
With neither characteristics nor practices.
Within the calm-extinct
mind is non-creating.
Such [a mind], like the nature of diamond,
is not inferior to the triratna (triplegem).
Endowed with all the six paramitas,
Ferrying all sentient beings across.
Transcending the three realms of existence,
Not relying on the Hinayana (Nirvana for oneself).
The Dharma seal of the Single-Taste,
Is perfected by the One-Vehicle.
When the great assembly heard the exposition of the Doctrine, their minds were greatly pleased. They were able to abandon mind and self (ego). They accessed the signless void which is broad and expansive, vacant and vast (without obstruction). All gained the Absolute Reality, cutting all fetters (mental afflictions) and eliminating all leakages (defilements).
Wonderful [summation on all] that was covered in this chapter. The Mind of the Bodhisattva is thus awakened and empowered to proclaim in marvelous poetic and gatha-form the precise-nature of the [single-taste] that transcends and enhances all dharmas.