- [Cleary]: Imagination, what is imagined, and imagination’s action, bondage, what is bound, and being bound—these six are reasons for liberation.
The number 6 is most prominent in Buddhism, witness the six paramitas, the six realms of impermanence, and even six kinds of temperament (lustful, hateful, ignorant, discursive, devout, and intellectual). The Lanka here then strips down the faculty of imagination in five modes: the faculty itself, what images it produces, the resulting [action], the result being bondage, and hereafter what is declared bound. Liberation here points towards shutting the faculty down.
- There are no stages [of Bodhisattvaship], no truths, no [Buddha-] lands, no bodies of transformation; Buddhas, Pratyekabuddhas, Srabakas are [products of] imagination.
Similar in scope to #91. Even though some of these terms can prove invaluable to the path of Liberation, in reality they are all Mind-Conventions and not Absolute in themselves. The reason being that language itself can be stripped-clean and made to appear inadequate to the task of freeing oneself from incalculable mind-traps. Once again, they are tools that point towards greater Self-realization.
- (Chapter II verse 139) The personal soul, continuity, the Skandhas, causation, atoms, the supreme spirit, the ruler, the creator, – [they are] discriminations in the Mind-only.
Further notions that are impermanent in nature—even the quaint notion of a Creator God. Buddhism never denies the existence of (gods). In point of fact Buddhism consists of a wide-pantheon with quite a catalog of their given hierarchies. But one thing Buddhism will NOT accept is the notion of a Creator-God, or putting it more emphatically, THE exclusive God who has created the entire cosmos. The Lanka states that this is simply a matter of active imagination run amok. A Tozen Video helps to clarify this most nicely:
- Mind is all, it is found everywhere and in everybody; it is by the evil-minded that multiplicity is recognised, there are no [recognizable] marks where Mind-only is.
Everything is Mind in a perfect state of actuosity. Yet if one were to search for this “Mind” it would never be found. It is everywhere and yet nowhere—a veritable Mind-King.
- (Chapter III verse 35) The ego-soul is not with the Skandhas, nor are the Skandhas in the ego-soul. They are not as they are discriminated, nor are they otherwise.
Ego-soul: Suzuki’s definition:
ego-soul; ātman=svabhava=pudgala. Ātmakatva, self-substance. Ātman means anything substantially conceived that remains eternally one, unchanged, and free. Ātman means anything substantially conceived that remains eternally one, unchanged, and free. When an ego-soul (pudgala) is thought as such, that constitutes the ātmadṛishṭi. When the reality of an individual object (dharma) as such is denied, this is what is meant by dharmanairāmya. (Studies in Lanka)
In the above context it generally emphasizes the pudgala—or apparent “person”. The following from our Diamond Sutra series offers a valuable Lankavatarian insight:
The immature, stupefied-foolish ones (puthujjana) are those who embrace ideations of separate-existence and an ego-soul (Individual “I”). Blinded by the Five Skandhas, they are oblivious to the bodhi-seed that is within. Being blinded to their true-essential-Self, the Buddha says that they are immature; yet, in their true-potentiality that lays in recognition of their own hidden Buddha-nature, the Buddha implies that they are really not immature-beings. When recognition of the Absolute-Self dawns, something “drops like scales from eyes-long-blind” and the way is open for the Buddha-seed (gotra) to develop and into a Bodhichild enroute to Bodhisattvahood; hence, an immature sentient being awakens into a mature bodhi-being. In this sense, there truly are no “sentient-beings” to be saved, but only children of the Buddha who are empowered through the salvific grace of the Tathagatas to free their own potential seed of Unborn Light.
- [Cleary]: If the existences of all things were as imagined by the naïve, they would all be as seen by one who sees the truth.
Taking the imaginary to be real would constitute a grave error in judgment—for anything perceived could be mistakenly considered as bearing seeds of truth.
- (Chapter III verse 37) As all things are unreal, there is neither defilement nor purity; things are not as they are seen, nor are they otherwise.
Since the Lanka establishes that since all things are unreal (in and of themselves), attributes like one defiled or states of purity are unwarranted since it would be claiming that thing-ness does indeed exist. But be careful here, for they are not- nonexistent. The same principle holds—if they are claimed to be nonexistent then it still implies some(thing) to be disqualified.