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3. The Disciples’ Reluctance to Visit Vimalakirti, cont’d

Then, the Buddha said to the venerable Subhuti, “Subhuti, go to the Licchavi Vimalakirti to inquire about his illness.” Subhuti replied, “Lord, I am indeed reluctant to go to this good man to inquire about his illness. Why? My Lord, I remember one day, when I went to beg my food at the house of the Licchavi Vimalakirti in the great city of Vaisali, he took my bowl and filled it with some excellent food and said to me, ‘Reverend Subhuti, take this food if you understand the equality of all things, by means of the equality of material objects, and if you understand the equality of all the attributes of the Buddha, by means of the equality of all things. Take this food if, without abandoning desire, hatred, and folly, you can avoid association with them; if you can follow the path of the single way without ever disturbing the egoistic views; if you can produce the knowledges and liberations without conquering ignorance and the craving for existence; if, by the equality of the five deadly sins, you reach the equality of liberation; if you are neither liberated nor bound; if you do not see the Four Holy Truths, yet are not the one who “has not seen the truth”; if you have not attained any fruit, yet are not the one who “has not attained”; if you are an ordinary person, yet have not the qualities of an ordinary person; if you are not holy, yet are not unholy; if you are responsible for all things, yet are free of any notion concerning anything. “‘Take this food, reverend Subhuti, if, without seeing the Buddha, hearing the Dharma, or serving the Sangha, you undertake the religious life under the six heterodox masters; namely, Purana Kasyapa, Maskarin Gosaliputra, Samjayin Vairatiputra, Kakuda Katyayana, Ajita Kesakambala, and Nirgrantha Jnaniputra, and follow the ways they prescribe.
“‘Take this food, reverend Subhuti, if, entertaining all false views, you find neither extremes nor middle; if, bound up in the eight adversities, you do not obtain favorable conditions; if, assimilating the passions, you do not attain purification; if the dispassion of all living beings is your dispassion, reverend; if those who make offerings to you are not thereby purified; if those who offer you food, reverend, still fall into the three bad migrations; if you associate with all Maras; if you entertain all passions; if the nature of passions is the nature of a reverend; if you have hostile feelings toward all living beings; if you despise all the Buddhas; if you criticize all the teachings of the Buddha; if you do not rely on the Sangha; and finally, if you never enter ultimate liberation.’
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