Archive for the ‘The Lankavatara Sutra’ Category

That’s a Wrap!

This past month studying and commentating on the new Red Pine edition of the Lankavatara Sutra has truly been an auspicious time for me; my hope is that this may prove of some benefit for present and future students of the Buddhadharma. At the beginning of this blog series I remember writing how I hoped that this new translation would be the definitive Lanka for new generations of dharma-students. Red Pine is to be highly commended for rendering this new and vibrant translation for readers Read more [...]

The Long and Winding Road

As the Lanka winds-down, we are left with some very constructive impressions. Red Pine masterfully translates the great malady that affects all sentient beings—the diurnal wheel of samsara and its accompanying dependent origination: “Fools let their thoughts wander among the names and appearances of convention to which they are attached. And as they wander among the multitude of shapes that appear, they fall prey to views and longings concerning a self and what belongs to a self, and they Read more [...]

The Other

Section LXXXII of the Lanka delineates the nature of the Tathagata-garbha and the Alaya vijnana (repository consciousness). This can be quite confusing because although apparently different—one pure, one defiled—they are also essentially synonymous in nature. A good analogy to break this down is the nature of “twins”; while they may be different in temperament and personality, they are a product of the same seed-bed, or womb. In UnbornMind Zen the bodhichild is the developing light-bearer, Read more [...]

Mind Games

Sections LXXX-XC entitled “Final Questions” by Red Pine actually combines the former Suzuki chapters 4-9 into one chapter, 4. At the beginning of this Lanka series mention was made concerning the various stages that comprise the Bodhisattva path, and that “stages are provisional and are meant to be transcended if not abandoned.” Section LXXX reveals these stages to be just that—provisional—in that it provides the developing bodhisattva a focusing device to measure their ascent Read more [...]

Instant Karma

The Lanka once again makes reference to not equating words with meaning: “Mahamati, if one person points to something with their finger, and a foolish person looks at their finger, they won’t know what they really mean. In the same manner, foolish people become attached to the finger of words. And because they never look away from it, they are never able to discover the true meaning beyond the finger of words.” (Red Pine, pg. 220) Love the allusion, “finger of words”, reminiscent Read more [...]

Living in the Material World

Materialism is the great bane of all Lankavatarists. The Lanka pulls no punches in relaying the dangers of materialism: “Materialists employ all manner of expressions, arguments, metaphors, and embellishments to attract and deceive foolish people. They do not accept the personal understanding of what is real, nor are they aware that their projection of what exists is a delusion. Falling prey to dualities, they confuse simpleminded people and also harm themselves and cannot escape their continuation Read more [...]

A Day in the Life

A day in the “apparent” life of a Lankavatarian is just that…it transcends all notions of apparency that usually dwarfs most people between the ironclad mountains of realism and nihilism. As such, a Lankavatarian is “marked with the mark of suchness.” “I focus on the personal realization of detachment, on transcending deluded views, on transcending the views of what exists or does not exist that are perceptions of one’s own mind, on obtaining the threefold liberation, on being marked Read more [...]

What a Fool Believes

The Lanka places a great premium on the nature of perceptions—what a fool believes he sees or does not see, i.e., existence or non-existence. It also reinforces again and again that the Tathagatas are free from all these discriminations, even going beyond the attempt to render their very “existence” and accompanying afflictions as somehow being nonexistent, their “teaching does not [even] recognize the [very] existence of afflictions much less their annihilation. To Hui-k’o, bodhidharma Read more [...]

Abandon all hope Ye who enter here

Chapter three of the Lanka kicks-off with the three-fold nature of the “projection body”, or manomayakaya. “There are three kinds of projection bodies. And what are these three kinds? They are the projection body that experiences the bliss of samadhi, the projection body that realizes the essential nature of the dharmas, and the projection body that whose natural state is motionless.” (Red Pine, pg 167) The first is present when the waves of the vijnana are brought to rest, making FULL Read more [...]

You have Anointed Me

When a bodhisattva ascends into higher modes of advancement, the Tathagatas themselves appear to procure their progress: “Moreover, Mahamati, the tathagatas employ two kinds of powers for the support of bodhisattvas who come before them for instruction. And which two supporting powers? The power to appear in bodily form and speak to those in Samadhi and the power to anoint their foreheads.” (Red Pine, pg 130) Suzuki goes even further and refers to these as “sustaining” powers: “Further, Read more [...]
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