Tag Archives: Maitreya

Cultivating Śamatha and Vipaśyanā

The main emphasis in this chapter of the Saṃdhinirmocana Sūtra is the cultivation of Śamatha and Vipaśyanā. Śamatha is contemplative tranquility, or in Keenan’s translation, quietude (which we prefer since it establishes the very essence of quietude). Vipaśyanā is insight-meditation or in Cleary’s translation, observation; hence, it’s a form of meditation that mindfully and insightfully assesses different forms of dharmata and can articulate as such verbally or in writing—this present sutra is a form of Vipaśyanā. As John Powers has stated, “This chapter is one of the great scriptural locus classici for śamatha and vipaśyanā in the Mahāyāna tradition.” read more

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Bodhisattva Maitreya

The Benevolent Bodhisattva Maitreya arose from his seat in the sacred assembly, bowed and then prostrated himself at the feet of the Tathagata and then circumambulated about him three times to the right. He then knelt down and with hands clasped in a manner depicting sublime devotion, invoked the Blessed One. read more

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Naga-Gnosis

Vasuki: You’ve been aware of Naga-Gnosis for quite some time.

Vajragoni: How did I come to this Gnosis? read more

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Vasubandhu and the Absolute

Vasubandhu (born 316 AD) and his half-brother, Asanga, were the early formulators of the Yogācāra, a profound and intricate school of Mahāyāna philosophy. The most concise definition of Yogācāra is the practice (ācāra) of spiritual discipline (yoga). Vasubandhu’s range of scholarly acumen is quite prolific: read more

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Maitreya and Vairocana’s Tower

Maitreya

We are now entering into the climatic-conclusions of the Gandavyūha-sūtra. First up: Maitreya and the Marvelous “Tower of the adornments of Vairocana”. Throughout this sutra, as well as the Avataṃsaka as a whole, we see that Vairocana rather than Gautama, occupies the premier-position of Supreme Buddha, remaining a silent—Resplendently Transcendent—figure bracketing the entire Avataṃsaka Enterprise. The Tower symbolizes the entire Dharmadhātu, the realm of Suchness, wherein the All interpenetrates the all—the entire macro and micro cosmos. Thus in the Undivided and All-Encompassing Realm of the Dharmadhātu, all things are interpenetrative. Hence, this tower is also illustrating what we referred to in an earlier blog of this series: the Fourth Dharmadhātu, or complete and undivided interconnectedness. What Sudhana will encounter in the Tower are emanations of the ultimate quiescence of All Buddhas, or the True Reality of THAT which Vairocana represents. When Sudhana gazes at the Tower, he comes to the ultimate realization: read more

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Mañjuśrī Teaches Prajñāpāramitā

Perhaps more than any other Celestial Bodhisattva, Mañjuśrī best captures the epitome of Wisdom. Mañjuśrī is undoubtedly synonymous with and the very embodiment of the Perfection of Wisdom (Prajñāpāramitā). He is the ever-present guide and interlocutor in countless sutras; perhaps best well-known for his role in the Vimalakirti Sutra where he is the only fearless Bodhisattva present who dare go and visit the apparently ailing-lay bodhisattva, the mysterious and Noble Vimalakirti, and whose subsequent dialog with him becomes the very cornerstone of that sutra. He is also a prominent feature in the Lotus Sutra where he becomes privy to what the Buddha is about to reveal, even before the majestic Maitreya. Less well known is his pivotal role in a sutra from the Mahāratnakūṭa corpus, Mañjuśrī’s Discourse of the Pāramitā of Wisdom. Yet, this little gem packs a powerful punch in the spirit of the Diamond Sutra, and could actually be considered its sister text. It expounds a very High-Gnosis, not based on the relative truth of the mundane, but instead the Ultimate Truth of the Unborn and Absolute. Before venturing-forth in this new series, it is appropriate to begin with an exposé on the nature of its shining star—Mañjuśrī, the Maha-Bodhisattva of Transcendent Wisdom, whose name Man-ju (charming, beautiful and pleasant), and Shri (meaning a shining glory) encapsulates the very essence of the Prajñāpāramitā literature. read more

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Mañjuśrī’s Monology

Both Maitreya and Mañjuśrī give wonderful monologues, both in prose and gatha (poetic) form, respectively asking and responding as to the nature of the Buddha’s Illumination. Portions from Mañjuśrī’s Monologue in prose form are as follows: read more

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An Auspicious Gathering

Thus have I heard. Once the Buddha was staying in the city of Rājagṛha, on the mountain called Gṛdhrakūṭa, together with a great assembly of twelve thousand monks, all of whom were arhats whose corruption was at an end, who were free from the confusion of desire, who had achieved their own goals, shattered the bonds of existence, and attained complete mental discipline. read more

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The Propagation of the Dharma

14. The Propagation of the Dharma

(Burton Watson) Then the Buddha addressed the bodhisattva Maitreya, saying, “Maitreya, I now take this Law of anuttara-samyak-sambodhi, gathered over countless millions of asamkhya kalpas, and entrust it to you. In the latter age after the Buddha has passed into extinction, you must employ your supernatural powers to propagate sutras such as this, spreading them throughout the continent of Jambudvipa and never allowing them to be wiped out. Why? Because in the ages to come there will be good men and good women, as well as heavenly beings, dragons, spirits, gandharvas, rakshasas, and others, who will set their minds on attaining anuttara-samyak-sambodhi and will delight in the great Law If they are unable to hear sutras such as this, they will lose the opportunity to gain excellent benefits. But if beings such as these hear these sutras, they will surely believe and delight greatly in them and set their minds on a rare achievement. Therefore you must respectfully accept these and, considering how living beings can best gain benefits from them, expound them far and wide.

The great Spiritual-Propagator of the Buddhadharma in this dharma-ending age (we are currently in the midst of that last dharma-cycle) has been designated to the Maha-Bodhisattva Maitreya (the Buddha-heir apparent of this saha-realm)—who, though presently in the Tushita-heavens periodically descends (wonderfully portrayed in Tozen’s Dharmakaya Sutra) to confer “annuttara-samyak-sambodhi” upon worthy recipients. Breaking it down somewhat, annuttara=superiorly incomparable; samyak=perfect; sambodhi=supreme-enlightened one who penetrates the depths of Buddha-gnosis. This honor is not just conferred upon humans, as we learned through our study of the Lankavatara Sutra wherein Ravana, the Overlord of the Yakshas, also received this Honorary Salutation. read more

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Are You Enlightened?

4. The Reluctance of the Bodhisattvas

Then, the Buddha said to the bodhisattva Maitreya, “Maitreya, go to the Licchavi Vimalakirti to inquire about his illness.” Maitreya replied, “Lord, I am indeed reluctant to go to that good man to inquire about his illness. Why? Lord, I remember that one day I was engaged in a conversation with the gods of the Tusita heaven, the god Samtusita and his retinue, about the stage of non-regression of the great bodhisattvas. At that time, the Licchavi Vimalakirti came there and addressed me as follows: “‘Maitreya, the Buddha has prophesied that only one more birth stands between you and unexcelled, perfect enlightenment. What kind of birth does this prophecy concern, Maitreya? Is it past? Is it future? Or is it present? If it is a past birth, it is already finished. If it is a future birth, it will never arrive. If it is a present birth, it does not abide. For the Buddha has declared, “Bhikshus, in a single moment, you are born, you age, you die, you transmigrate, and you are reborn.” “‘Then might the prophecy concern birthlessness? But birthlessness applies to the stage of destiny for the ultimate, in which there is neither prophecy nor attainment of perfect enlightenment. “‘Therefore, Maitreya, is your reality from birth? Or is it from cessation? Your reality as prophesied is not born and does not cease, nor will it be born nor will it cease. Furthermore, your reality is just the same as the reality of all living beings, the reality of all things, and the reality of all the holy ones. If your enlightenment can be prophesied in such a way, so can that of all living beings. Why? Because reality does not consist of duality or of diversity. Maitreya, whenever you attain Buddhahood, which is the perfection of enlightenment, at the same time all living beings will also attain ultimate liberation. Why? The Tathagatas do not enter ultimate liberation until all living beings have entered ultimate liberation. For, since all living beings are utterly liberated, the Tathagatas see them as having the nature of ultimate liberation. read more

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