The Astounding Eighth Stage

  1. Mind (citta*) is the Alayavijnana, Manas is that which has reflection as its characteristic nature, it apprehends the various sense-fields, for which reason it is called a Vijnana.

Citta: citta principally means Mind. However, Suzuki breaks this down even more specifically and it is warranted that we note this:

From his footnote: Citta which is generally translated “mind,” either with the “m” capitalised or not, is used in this text in two different senses. When it stands in the series of Citta, Manas, and Vijnanas, it means the empirical mind. It is also used in a general sense meaning mentation. Besides this, citta has an absolute sense denoting something that goes beyond the realm of relativity and yet that lies at the foundation of this world of particulars. When the Lanka speaks of “Mind-only,” it refers to this something defined here. It is important to keep this distinction in mind.

From his Studies in the Lanka: Citta which is used as a synonym of the Alaya may be translated “mind” as distinguished from Manas, that is, in its more specific sense. Citta, according to the sutra, apparently comes from the root ci, which has two senses,(1) “to gather,” ” to pile,” “to acquire,” and (2) “to perceive,” “to look for.” Citta, therefore, may mean either “collection” or “perception,” and in the present case, that is, when it is identified with the Alaya, Buddhist scholars take it in the sense of accumulation. So we read in the Lankavatara, “Citta gathers up karma,” or “karma is gathered up by Citta.’n Ordinarily, it may correctly be rendered”‘ thought,” or “mind.” The great source of confusion, however, comes from Citta being used frequently for the whole system of Vijnanas as well as for the Alaya alone.

103 & 104. [Cleary]: Mind is always indeterminate, intellect goes both ways, active consciousness is good and bad. The door of ultimate truth is beyond the two representations [of imagined and relative]; how can the arrangement of the three vehicles remain where there are no images?

Suzuki indicates this as Mind being neutral, whereas the intellect (manas) can function as either positive or negative. The door to the ultimately Real (Dhamadhatu) is well beyond subjective or objective categories. We are next being introduced to the Lanka’s most salient principle—imagelessness. When all images are eradicated, the three vehicles themselves are rendered irrelevant.

  1. (Chapter IV, verse 1) The abodes and the stages of Buddhahood are established in the Mind-only which is imageless— this was told, is told, and will be told by the Buddhas.

Forge this down into your memory cells: above all else Mind-only signifies THAT which is imageless and unborn. Period. This is a thunderous declaration issued forth by all Buddhas.

  1. (Chapter IV, verse 2) The [first] seven stages are [still] of the mind, but here the eighth is imageless; the two stages, [the ninth and the tenth,] have [still] something to rest themselves on; the [highest] stage that is left belongs to me.

Reference is being made here to the Ten-stages, or ten-Bhumis. The hyperlink will lead you to well-developed definitions for all these bhumis. The Lanka proclaims here that the first seven stages are still of the mind being in process of its development and awareness-powers—all leading towards dropping the dualistic and discriminating mind. But then comes the eighth—or imageless stage—and it is most astounding:

The eighth bhūmi is called Acalā (Immovable, steadfast). Now thoroughly non-conceptually oriented one is completely steadfast in the Recollective Resolve; one is Immovable (like Akṣobhya Buddha) in the face of all dharmas. The mirrored spheres of the Tathagatas body, speech, and mind are inconceivable and thus triumphant over Mara’s delusion of mastering images and any undue effort in sustaining methods of imagelessness. Right Concentration is now mastered as the deathless seed of the Unborn sheds infinite light on Its own Animating Prowess that Precedes the darkness of any animated agency.

Here, the Awakened-Enlightened Mind no longer enters any ideation of conceptualizations and thus is now immovable in the face of all images. It precedes them all and is the invincible conqueror over Mara’s delusions. The above also specifies that this includes any undue effort in sustaining methods of imagelessness, yea imageless is not something attainable but innately occurs during this stage with the grace of all Buddhas.

It’s also notable here that when all ten stages have been won, even the exalted tenth stage of the Dharma-cloud itself, the Lanka states here that there is still a higher stage reserved for Buddhas alone. This has to do with #107 below.

  1. (Chapter IV, verse 3) Self-realisation and absolute purity—this stage is my own; it is the highest station of Mahesvara, the Akanishtha [heaven] shining brilliantly.

Mahesvara: (the Great Lord, the Supreme Lord– Samantabhadra). Hence, that highest-stage that is reserved for Buddhas alone is the Akanishtha [heaven]—the Highest Mind Realm. Thus, the timeless and imageless abode of the Akanishtha Minded Ones, wherein the Unborn Principle is fully Recollected in an Undivided-Spirit.

  1. (Chapter IV, verse 4) Its rays of light move forward like a mass of fire; they who are bright-coloured, charming, and auspicious transform the triple world.

Further revelation of the Akanishtha. Yea, these Absolute Shining Ones have the auspicious ability to transform all aspects of the triple-world.

  1. (Chapter IV, verse 5) Some worlds are being transformed, while others have already been transformed; there I preach the various vehicles which belong to my own stage.

Thoughts to ponder—all these realms are permeated with unknown modes of expediency.

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