Today’s Blog-Title comes from Wŏnhyo’s opening comment to his exegesis on the Fourth Chapter. “When bodhisattvas cultivate contemplation and gain nonproduction, they thoroughly penetrate to the fact that sentient beings are originally calm and quiescent, which is their original enlightenment. Lying on the couch of unitary thusness, they benefit sentient beings through this original inspiration.” [ibid, pg. 137] Wŏnhyo assures that this is a most beneficial enterprise—one that shatters “the great dream of deluded [consciousness—inclusion mine] and conceptions.” Once all delusional episodes are shredded, one rests in calm equipoise on the velvety couch of unborn quiescence.
Chapter Four: The Benediction of Self-Enlightenment
At that time, Apratisthia (Non-Abiding) Bodhisattva heard the Buddha’s discourse on single-taste Reality, which is inconceivable. From faraway land (most probably another world system) he had personally come near to the tathagata’s seat with the sole intention of listening to the discourse on Noble-Truth. Accessing the pure domain [of the Absolute-void], his body and mind were motionless.
Apratisthia (Non-Abiding): although self-realizing that Original Enlightenment does not engender any action, this bodhisattva does not rest on the couch long but arises to advocate the Buddhadharma. Thus he non-abides in dreamy solitude and gets out to preach the message.
From faraway land (most probably another world system): love this translation, most reminiscent of a Vimalakriti rendering how inhabitants from cosmic abodes travel from all directions to hear the Blessed One preach. Many people wonder whether these are just metaphorical illusions to the inner-workings of Mind and unfortunately place no trust in the authentic spirit behind these type of sutra references. As has been stated elsewhere in these blogs, they are not just metaphors but actual spiritual beings and locations [world-systems] in the vast order of the Buddhist Cosmological Heavens.
his body and mind were motionless: this bodhisattva is free and unhindered in the motionless Bodhimaṇḍa (Original Seat) of the Unborn Buddha Mind.
At that time, the Buddha addressed Apratisthia Bodhisattva: “Where have you come from? Where have you arrived now?”
Apratisthia Bodhisattva replied, “Lord! I come from where there is no origination, and have now arrived where there is [also] no origination.”
The Buddha said, “You originally came from where there is no origination, and have now arrived where there is [also] no origination. You have attained the [Dharma of] Self-Benediction, which is inconceivable. You are a bodhisattva-mahasattva.”
…as a person approaches the stage of sanctity [after progressing from] the stage of an ordinary person (pṛthagjana) to the incipiency of sanctity, he reviews [his development] from past to present. In the past, when he was at the stage of an ordinary person and first aroused the intent [to seek enlightenment], he himself believed that his own mind was originally free from generating activity, because the origin of this generation of activity could not be found. Now that he has reached the stage of sanctity and attained nonproduction, he knows through realization that his own mind is originally unproduced, because an origin for such production cannot be found. Hence, he knows that he has first come from that place where there is no origin, and the place where he has now arrived is also where there is no origin. [ibid, pg. 139]
A most succinct review of the progress of a Bodhi-being [sattva]. In the early stages there is much seeking, doubt accompanied by incessant trial and error, but after the Baptism of the Such one self-realizes that all is originally unproduced, including one’s own previously un[mis]informed faculties. Essentially, one arrives where one has never left. As the Blessed One specifies, this is a true Maha-Bodhisattva indeed.
Immediately emitting a great light that pervaded the many thousands of world-systems, the Buddha recited the stanza:
Oh Great bodhisattva,
Replete in wisdom,
Constantly by means of Self-Benediction,
To benefit sentient beings.
In all four postures [walking, standing, sitting, lying],
You constantly abide by Self-Benediction,
Guiding all beings,
Neither coming nor going (silently without signs).
Apratisthia Bodhisattva then addressed the Buddha: “Lord! Through what skillful means can one transform the defiled consciousness of sentient beings so that they can access the amala (ultimate-fruition consciousness transformed from the eighth consciousness)?”
The Buddha replied, “All the buddhas, the tathagatas, constantly transform all the [defiled] consciousness of sentient beings by means of the One-Enlightenment so that they can access the amala. Why? As all sentient being are endowed with Self-Enlightenment (primordially enlightened), the buddhas, constantly awaken all beings by guiding them to regain Self-Enlightenment.
Once enlightened, all the defiled consciousnesses will be [realized to be] void, calm and non-arising. Why? [Because] the Absolute Self-Nature is motionless.”
Self-Benediction: Once the mantle of deathlessness is placed on the head of the mind-adept, all secondary-agencies fostering self-awareness are no longer active or necessary. Thus as stated in an earlier blog from this series, “The Perfection of Noble Wisdom is ultimately in the Mind-Seat alone”—wherein the Self anoints Itself.
access the amala: early reference to the “Immaculate Consciousness”. Wŏnhyo states that Paramāmartha’s own interpretation of this ninth-consciousness is derived from this passage. He then goes on to state that the Amala IS Original Enlightenment. Thus, the ripened Bodhi-seed of the Amala receptacle grows to fruition in the motionless (devoid of outflows) and Immaculate Womb of the Tathāgatas.
Apratisthia Bodhisattva asked, “As every one of the eight consciousness arises [through co-origination] vis-à-vis the sense-realms, how could they be motionless?”
The Buddha answered, “All the sense-realms are basically void [of independent existence]. [Similarly] all consciousnesses are basically void. Since the nature of the void is not affected by co-origination, how can they be created by co-origination?”
Apratisthia Bodhisattva asked, “If all the sense-realms are void, how can there be perception?”
The Buddha replied, “Perception is [ultimately] a delusion. Why? All the tens of thousands of manifestations are [ultimately] unborn and without form. Originally they are without names. They are all void and calm. The characteristics of all dharmas are the same. The bodies of all sentient beings are also the same. Since the bodies do not [ultimately] exist, how can perception exist!”
The lens of [ordinary] perception are blackened with skandhic contamination. Hence all these forms of perceptions are delusional in scope and mar the vision of True Motionlessness in the Mind-void of no-becoming. One must never place undue stock in these clouded phantasms of misperception.
Apratisthia Bodhisattva said, “If all the sense-realms are void, all bodies are void, and all consciousnesses are void, then enlightenment must also be void.”
The Buddha replied, “The One-Enlightenment is beyond both destruction and decay since it is the Absolute. It is neither void nor non-void as it is free from being void or non-void.”
Apratisthia Bodhisattva remarked, “It is the same for all the sense-realms. They are not characterized by being void or non-void.”
The Buddha agreed, “So it is. The nature of all the sense-realms is basically within the Absolute [void]. The base of the Absolute [void] has no abode.”
Apratisthia Bodhisattva said, “Enlightenment is also the same: it is not located anywhere.”
The Buddha agreed, “So it is. As enlightenment has no abode, it is pure [and void]. Being pure, it is free from [any sign of] enlightenment. Sense-objectification has no abode, it is pure. Being pure, it (purity) is free from [any characteristic of] sense-object.”
The One-Enlightenment is devoid of voidness. In this realization the Absolute has no associative-nature since Its nature is Self-contained in the [void] THAT is locationless and free of any objectifications—pure and unadulterated.
Apratisthia Bodhisattva remarked, “The mind and eye consciousness are also the same. This is inconceivable!”
The Buddha said, “Yes, the consciousness of the mind and eye consciousness are similarly inconceivable. Why? A sense-object (rupa) has no abode; it is pure without name. It does not intrude internally [into the sense-bases]. Eye consciousness has no abode; it is pure and non-seeing [without the sense of a self that sees]. It does not go towards the external [sense-objects].
The mind [too] has no abode. Its purity is without ceasing, without a birthplace. [Similarly as well as ultimately the other] consciousnesses have no abode. They are pure and motionless, not affected by conditions [of co-origination] or differentiations. The nature [of all dharmas] is void and calm. This nature is [therefore] free from any sign of enlightenment. This is how enlightenment is being realized.
“Good man! When one awakens [to the wisdom] that there is ultimately no [attainment in] enlightenment, all the [eight] consciousnesses will access [enlightenment]. Why? At the stage of the diamond (a buddha’s Absolute) wisdom, the path (practice) leading to liberation is being dropped [as there is neither liberation nor bondage]. Having abandoned the path, one accesses the non-abiding stage [of unexcelled enlightenment] where there is neither egress nor access the Absolute Domain where the mind has no abode. The base [of that state] is pure, like the transparent lapis lazuli [representing dharmakaya, attainment of the great, perfect mirror-like wisdom]. It is in perpetual equanimity, like the great earth [representing the attainment of liberation of the impartial wisdom]; enlightened, miraculous, contemplative wakefulness [representing the ultimate prajna], like the effulgence of the sun of wisdom; perfected through Self-enlightenment, like the great rain of Dharma. One who accesses this wisdom is accessing the buddhas’ domain of wisdom. For one who has accessed this domain of wisdom, none of the consciousnesses will arise.”
[This clarifies the fact] that all the consciousnesses are unproduced. It seeks to clarify that, originally, all the consciousnesses are produced in accordance with ignorance. Now, through the acquired enlightenment, [these consciousnesses] return to the fountainhead of the mind; and once they return to the fountainhead of the mind, none of the consciousnesses will any longer be generated. Because the consciousnesses are not generated, acquired enlightenment will be consummated. [ibid, pg. 148]
When one has freely accessed the Wisdom Store [perfect mirror-like receptivity of the Such] the generation of [ordinary] consciousness itself cessates. All of this is the Dharmakayic-Domain of the Amala.