A Matter of the Philosophers

  1. As long as those philosophers who get confused in their reasonings and who are unable to go beyond the realm of words, distinguish the discriminating from the discriminated – so long they do not see [the truth] of suchness.

A recurring motif throughout the Lanka concerns the Philosophers. Who are they? Are they members of a particular branch of philosophy, or are they part of a larger spectrum? Suzuki in one of his footnotes to his Studies in the Lanka asserts they are as follows:

Whenever “the philosophers” are referred to in this book, they mean tirthya, or tirthakara, and (wai-tao) in Chinese, which literally means “other teachings.”

We can see that they encompass a large variety of the intelligentsia of the day. We shall encounter them often in this series. All in all, they are representative of those who fail to consider what the Lanka teaches as the truth of the inmost consciousness. They are also from time to time lumped together with the Sravakas (early disciples, voice hearers) and Pratyekabuddhas (solitary practitioners). The following segment from the introductory chapter of the Lanka portray them in context of #73:

“O Lord of Lanka, conducting thyself in this way, be thou further purified in the way thou hast attained; (11) by disciplining thyself well in Samadhi and Samapatti, follow not the state realised and enjoyed by the Sravakas, Pratyekabuddhas, and philosophers, as it is due to the imagination of those who discipline themselves according to the practices of the puerile philosophers. They cling to the visible forms created by their egotistical ideas; they maintain such notions as element, quality, and substance; they cling tenaciously to views originating from ignorance; they get confused by cherishing the idea of birth where prevails emptiness; they cling to discrimination [as real]; they fall into the way of thinking where obtains the dualism of qualifying and qualified.”

  1. When the Yogin by means of his transcendental wisdom understands that all things existent have no self-substance, he thus attains calmness and establishes himself in the state of no-form (animitta).

The refined-Yogin has developed and nurtured such a refined exuberance of Buddha-gnosis. He/she realizes that sensate phenomena lacks that essential self-substance. In doing so the Yogin has entered deeply into animitta, or the absence of perceptual attributes, and has won the Great Dharmamegha Samādhi:

4.29 Through reinforced non-attachment to any-thing outside of Self, the Yogin has advanced into the Great Dharmamegha Samādhi:

This stage can only be reached once the yogin has effectively disengaged from even the highest possible exalted state imaginable. Indeed, this is the Dharma-Cloud Samādhi. This is likened to what the Lankavatara Sutra terms the 10th stage of Mind-Realization. Once reached there is no longer any lingering trace of any kind of desire to reach the ultimate—because the Self now fully Recollects that IT IS the Ultimate. Also, this is an effortless Pure Self-Mind Realization. There is not even any infinitesimal traces of effort being made on the yogin’s part—all IS AS IT IS, with No-Thing arising or descending.

  1. [Cleary]: As something painted black is taken for a snake by the unaware, the three vehicles are mistaken by the ignorant who do not know.

The Three Vehicles: Theravada, Mahayana and Tantrayana.

  1. [Cleary]: For there are no disciples here, no one in the vehicle of the solitary; what appears to be the form of a disciple or a master is a projection that bodhisattvas, souls of compassion, show.

The main audience in the Lanka are Maha-Bodhisattvas, thus the general absence of Sravakas and Pratyekabuddhas. Yet, the Blessed One informs his distinguished devotees that from time to time a [form]al appearance may occur of those bearing the marks of lesser vehicles. In truth, they are Bodhisattvas cloaked as such to expediently teach the Buddhadharma to the lesser-able.

  1. The triple world of existence is no more than thought-construction, which is discriminated by the two-fold Svabhava [of imagination and relative knowledge]; but when [within the mind] a turning-away from the course of the sense-objects (dharma) and the ego-soul (pudgala) takes place, then we have [the truth of] suchness (tathata).

Another avenue of highlighting the “turn-about” within the deepest recesses of consciousness to counteract the spiritual blindness found within the triple world.

pudgala: referenced by Suzuki as an ego-soul, or an “entity that reincarnates as an individual or person, i.e., the bundle of tendencies that keeps an individual reincarnating until they attain enlightenment.” (Wiki)

The truth of suchness [tathata] indicates seeing Reality as it really is within Itself—AS IT IS IN ITSELF. Another term is Absolute Suchness, or Bhutatathata.

  1. The sun, the moon, the lamp-light, the elements, and the gems—each functions in its own way without discrimination; and so does the Buddha’s nature work on its own accord.

Buddha-nature is a natural affair, spontaneously issuing-forth of its own accord with no thing arising nor ceasing. In essence it is the seed of Suchness dormant within sentient beings but fully-activated once it is awakened and self-realized.

  1. (Chapter II verse 51) After my passing who will be the upholder of the Discipline [or Doctrine sasana]? How long should the teacher abide? How long should the teaching continue?

Pertinent questions asked by the Blessed-One—all indicating the purpose of being ever eternally-vigilant and uphold the blessed Buddhadharma lest its living flame be extinguished.  Yea, the real-sense of extinguishment—when the Buddha-dharma is no more.

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