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The Vajra Prajna Paramita Sutra
Copyright 1998 Buddhist Text Translation Society,
The International Translation Institute
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Burlingame, CA USA, 94010-4504
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THE REASONS FOR THE DHARMA ASSEMBLY, ONE


Thus I have heard, at one time the Buddha dwelt at Shravasti in the Jeta Grove in the Garden of the Benefactor of Orphans and the Forlorn, together with a gathering of great Bhikshus, twelve hundred fifty in all. At meal time the World Honored One put on his robe, took up his bowl and entered the great city of Shravasti to collect alms. After he had finished his sequential alms-round, he returned to his dwelling. When his meal was completed, he put his robe and bowl away. After he washed his feet, he arranged his seat and sat down.

 

SUBHUTI'S REQUEST, TWO


At that time the Elder Subhuti arose from his seat in the great assembly, uncovered his right shoulder, placed his right knee on the ground, joined his palms together respectfully and addressed the Buddha, "How rare, World Honored One, is the Thus Come One who protects and cares well for all Bodhisattvas and well favors all Bodhisattvas. World Honored One, if a good man or good woman resolves his mind on Anuttarasamyaksambodhi, on what should he rely? How should he subdue his mind?" The Buddha said, "Very good, very good Subhuti. It is as you say. The Thus Come One protects and cares well for all Bodhisattvas and well favors all Bodhisattvas. Now listen attentively; I shall tell you. A good man or good woman who resolves his mind on Anuttarasamyaksambodhi should thus rely and thus subdue his mind." "Yes indeed, World Honored One. I am delighted and wish to listen."

 

THE ORTHODOX DOCTRINE OF THE GREAT VEHICLE, THREE


The Buddha told Subhuti, "All Bodhisattvas, Mahasattvas, should subdue their minds thus: 'I must cause all living beings--those born from eggs, wombs, moisture, by transformation; those with form, those without form, those with thought, those without thought, those not totally endowed with thought, and those not totally without thought--to enter Nirvana without residue and be taken across to Cessation. Yet of the immeasurable, numberless, boundless numbers of living beings thus taken across to Cessation, there is actually no living being taken across to Cessation.' Why? Subhuti, if a Bodhisattva has an appearance of self, others, living beings, or a life, he is not a Bodhisattva."

 

WONDERFUL PRACTICE IS TO NOT RELY ON ANYTHING, FOUR


"Moreover, Subhuti, as to dharmas, a Bodhisattva should not rely on anything when giving. That is to say, when giving, he should neither rely on forms, nor sounds, smells, tastes, tangible objects or dharmas. Subhuti, a Bodhisattva should give thus: he should not rely on appearances. Why? If a Bodhisattva does not rely on appearances when giving, his blessings and virtues are inconceivable and immeasurable. "Subhuti, what do you think, is space in the east conceivable or measurable?" "No World Honored One." "Subhuti, is space in the south, west, north, or in the intermediate directions, above or below conceivable or measurable?" "No, World Honored One." "Subhuti, the blessings and virtues of a Bodhisattva who does not rely on appearances when giving, are just as inconceivable and immeasurable. Subhuti, a Bodhisattva should rely only on the teachings."

 

GENUINE DISCERNMENT OF THE PRINCIPLE OF SUCHNESS, FIVE


"Subhuti, what do you think, is it possible to see the Thus Come One in his physical appearances?" "No World Honored One, it is not possible to see Thus Come One in his physical appearances. Why? Because the physical appearances mentioned by the Thus Come One are not physical appearances." The Buddha said to Subhuti, "All appearances are empty and false. If one sees all appearances as no appearances, then one sees the Thus Come One."

 

PROPER FAITH IS RARE, SIX


Subhuti addressed the Buddha, "World Honored One, in the future will there be living beings who truly believe upon hearing such phrases?" The Buddha told Subhuti, "Do not say that! In the last five hundred years after the Thus Come One's Cessation, there will be those who, holding the moral precepts and cultivating blessings, will believe such phrases and accept them as true. You should know that such people have not planted good roots with just one Buddha, two Buddhas, three Buddhas, four, or five Buddhas, but they have planted good roots at the places of immeasurable tens of millions of Buddhas. The Thus Come One knows and sees all people who hear these phrases, Subhuti, and have even a single thought of pure faith. Such living beings will thus obtain immeasurable blessings and virtues. Why? Because those living beings no longer cling to the appearances of self, others, living beings, or a life, nor to the appearances of dharmas or non-dharmas. Why? If those living beings' minds cling to appearances, that would be attachment to a self, others, living beings and a life. If they cling to appearances of dharmas, that would be attachment to a self, others, living beings and a life. Why? If they cling to the appearances of non-dharmas, that would be attachment to a self, others, living beings and a life. Therefore, you should not cling to dharmas; you should not cling to non-dharmas. Because of this principle the Thus Come One always says, 'Bhikshus, you should all know that the Dharma I speak is like a raft. You must let go of dharmas. Even more so let go of non-dharmas.'"

 

NOTHING ATTAINED, NOTHING SPOKEN, SEVEN


"Subhuti, what do you think, did the Thus Come One attain Anuttarasamyaksambodhi? Did the Thus Come One speak any Dharma?" Subhuti answered, "As I understand what the Buddha has said, there is no predetermined Dharma called Anuttarasamyaksambodhi, and there are not any predetermined Dharmas which the Thus Come One could speak. Why? All the Dharma which the Thus Come One has spoken can neither be clung to nor spoken of. It is neither Dharma nor non-dharma. Why is that so? All Worthy Ones and Sages are different because of Unconditioned Dharmas."

 

THEY ARISE FROM DHARMA, EIGHT


"Subhuti, what do you think, if a person gave as a gift the seven kinds of precious gems in quantity enough to fill up a Threefold Great Thousand World System, would such a person obtain many blessings and virtues?" Subhuti said, "Very many World Honored One. Why? These blessings and virtues do not refer to the essential nature of blessings and virtues. Therefore, the Thus Come One says they are many blessings and virtues." "If on the other hand, a person were to accept and uphold even so few as four lines of verse from this Sutra and speak them for others, this person's blessings would surpass the blessings of the individual mentioned above. Why? Subhuti, all Buddhas and their Dharma of Anuttarasamyaksambodhi come from this Sutra. Subhuti, by this I mean the Buddha and the Dharma are not the Buddha and the Dharma."

 

THE ONE APPEARANCE IS BEYOND APPEARANCES, NINE


"Subhuti, what do you think, can a Shrotaapana have the thought, 'Have I attained the Fruition of Shrotaapana'?" Subhuti said, "No World Honored One. Why? Shrotaapana means 'one who has entered the flow.' And yet, he has not entered anything. He has not entered forms, sounds, smells, tastes, tangible objects or dharmas. Therefore he is called a Shrotaapana." "Subhuti, what do you think, can a Sakrdagamin have the thought, 'Have I attained the Fruition of Sakrdagamin'?" Subhuti said, "No World Honored One. Why? Sakrdagamin means 'one who returns once more,' but actually he does not return. Therefore he is called a Sakrdagamin." "Subhuti, what do you think, can an Anagamin have the thought, 'Have I attained the Fruition of Anagamin?'" Subhuti said, "No World Honored One. Why? Anagamin means 'one who does not return,' but actually he is without not returning. Therefore he is called an Anagamin." "Subhuti, what do you think, can an Arhat have the thought, 'Have I attained the Way of the Arhat?'" Subhuti said, "No World Honored One. Why? Actually there is no dharma called 'Arhat.' World Honored One, if an Arhat had the thought, 'I have attained the Way of the Arhat,' that would be an attachment to self, others, living beings and to a life. World Honored One, the Buddha has said that I am foremost in the attainment of the No Strife Samadhi, and I am the foremost Arhat free from desire. Yet, World Honored One, I do not have the thought, 'I am an Arhat free from desire.' If I had the thought, 'I have attained the Way of the Arhat,' then the World Honored One would not say, 'Subhuti is foremost of those who delight in practicing Aranya.' Since Subhuti actually does not practice anything, he is called, 'Subhuti who delights in practicing Aranya.'"

 

ADORNING PURE LANDS, TEN


The Buddha said to Subhuti, "What do you think? Did the Thus Come One obtain any Dharma when he was with Burning Lamp Buddha in the past?" "No World Honored One, the Thus Come One did not actually obtain any Dharma when he was with Burning Lamp Buddha." "Subhuti what do you think? Does a Bodhisattva adorn Buddhalands?" "No World Honored One. Why? One who adorns Buddhalands does not adorn anything. Therefore it is called adorning." "Therefore Subhuti, all Bodhisattvas Mahasattvas should thus produce a pure mind which does not rely on forms, sounds, smells, tastes, tangible objects or dharmas. He should produce a mind which does not rely on anything. Subhuti, suppose a person had a body like Sumeru, king of mountains. What do you think? Would that body be big?" Subhuti addressed the Buddha, "Very big World Honored One. Why? The Buddha says it is not a body. Therefore it is called a big body."

 

THE SUPREMACY OF UNCONDITIONED BLESSINGS, ELEVEN


"Subhuti, suppose there were as many Ganges Rivers as there are grains of sand in the Ganges River. What do you think, would the grains of sand in all those Ganges Rivers be many?" Subhuti said, "Very many World Honored One. That many Ganges rivers alone would be uncountable, how much the more so the grains of sands contained in them. "Subhuti, I am speaking truthfully. Suppose a good man or good woman had filled with the Seven Kinds of Precious Gems as many Threefold Great Thousand World Systems as there are grains of sand in all those Ganges Rivers and gave them as an offering. Would that person obtain many blessings?" Subhuti said, "Very many World Honored One." The Buddha told Subhuti, "If a good man or good woman were to accept and uphold even so few as four lines of verse from this Sutra and speak them for others, those blessings and virtues would surpass the previous blessings and virtues."

 

REVERING THE PROPER TEACHING, TWELVE


"Moreover, Subhuti, know that all the gods, humans and asuras of the world should make offerings to any place where even as few as four lines of verse from this Sutra have been spoken, just as they would make offerings to a Buddha, a stupa or a temple. How much the more should they make offerings to any place where there are people who can completely accept, uphold, read and recite this Sutra. Subhuti you should know that such people accomplish the supreme, foremost and most rare of dharmas. Wherever this Sutra is found, there is a Buddha or reverent disciple."

 

ACCEPTING AND UPHOLDING THE DHARMA OF "THUSNESS", THIRTEEN


Then Subhuti addressed the Buddha, "World Honored One, what name should we give this Sutra, and how should we uphold it?" The Buddha told Subhuti, "The name of this Sutra is Vajra Prajna Paramita. You should uphold it by that name. Why? The Buddha said that Prajna Paramita is not Prajna Paramita. Therefore it is called Prajna Paramita. "Subhuti, what do you think, has the Thus Come One spoken any Dharma?" Subhuti addressed the Buddha, "The Thus Come One has not spoken any Dharma." "Subhuti, what do you think, are there many particles of dust in a Threefold Great Thousand World System?" Subhuti said, "Very many World Honored One." "Subhuti, the Thus Come One says that particles of dust are not particles of dust. Therefore they are called particles of dust. The Thus Come One says that world systems are not world systems. Therefore they are called world systems. "Subhuti, what do you think, is it possible to see the Thus Come One in his Thirty-two Physical Appearances?" "No World Honored One, it is not possible see the Thus Come One in his Thirty-two Physical Appearances. Why? The Thus Come One says that the Thirty-two Physical Appearances are not physical appearances. Therefore they are called the Thirty-two Physical Appearances." "Subhuti, a good man or good woman might give away his body as many times as there are grains of sand in the Ganges River, but if another person were to accept and uphold even as few as four lines of verse of this Sutra and explain them for others, that person's blessings would be greater."

 

LEAVING APPEARANCES AND STILL CESSATION, FOURTEEN


At that time, upon hearing this sutra and deeply understanding its purport, Subhuti wept and felt remorse, and addressed the Buddha, "How rare, World Honored One, is this Sutra so profoundly explained by the Buddha. From the time I attained the eye of wisdom until the present, I have never heard such a Sutra. World Honored One, if someone listens to this Sutra with a mind of pure faith and can bring forth the Appearance of Reality, know that such a person has accomplished foremost and rare merit and virtue. "World Honored One, the Appearance of Reality is without appearance. Therefore the Thus Come One calls it the Appearance of Reality. "World Honored One, now as I listen to this Sutra, I believe, understand, accept and uphold it without difficulty. In the future, in the last five hundred years, if there are living beings who when they hear this Sutra, believe, understand, accept and uphold it, they will be outstanding and most rare. Why? Such people will be without the appearance of a self, the appearance of others, the appearance of living beings, and the appearance of a life. Why? The appearance of self is actually no appearance. The appearance of others, the appearance of living beings and the appearance of a life are actually not appearances. Why? All those who are called Buddhas have relinquished all appearances." The Buddha told Subhuti, "So it is, so it is. If someone hears this Sutra and is not frightened, alarmed, or terrified, you should know such a person is most rare. Why? Subhuti, the foremost Paramita spoken of by the Thus Come One is not the foremost Paramita. Therefore it is called the foremost Paramita. "Subhuti, the Paramita of patience spoken of by the Thus Come One is not the Paramita of patience. Therefore it is called the Paramita of patience. Why? Subhuti, in the past when the King of Kalinga dismembered my body, I had no appearance of a self, of others, of living beings or of a life. Why? When I was cut limb from limb, if I had an appearance of a self, an appearance of others, an appearance of living beings or an appearance of a life, I would have been outraged. "Moreover Subhuti, I recall that in the past, for five hundred lives, I was the Patient Immortal. During all those lives I was without the appearance of a self, others, living beings or a life. For that reason, Subhuti, a Bodhisattva should relinquish all appearances and bring forth the mind of Anuttarasamyaksambodhi. He should bring forth thoughts which do not rely on forms or which do not rely on sounds, smells, tastes, tangible objects, or dharmas. He should bring forth thoughts which do not rely on anything. Any relying of the mind is not relying. Therefore the Buddha says, 'The Bodhisattva's mind should not rely on forms when he gives.' Subhuti, because the Bodhisattva wishes to benefit all living beings, he should give in this way. "The Thus Come One says that all appearances are actually not appearances, and that all living beings are actually not living beings. Subhuti, the Thus Come One speaks the truth. He speaks factually. He speaks of things as they really are. He never deceives nor are his words peculiar. Subhuti, the Dharma the Thus Come One obtained is neither true nor false. "Subhuti, a Bodhisattva who gives with a mind relying on dharmas is like a person in the dark who sees nothing at all. A Bodhisattva who gives with a mind that does not rely on dharmas is like a person with eyes who can see all kinds of things in the bright sunlight. "Subhuti, if in the future there is a good man or good woman who can accept, uphold, read or recite this Sutra, then the Thus Come One using his Buddha-wisdom will thoroughly know and thoroughly see such a person. That person will obtain immeasurable and boundless merit and virtue."

 

THE MERIT AND VIRTUE GAINED FROM UPHOLDING THIS SUTRA, FIFTEEN


"Subhuti, a good man or good woman might in the morning give away as many bodies as there are grains of sand in the Ganges River, and again at noon give away as many bodies as there are grains of sand in the Ganges River, and again in the evening give away as many bodies as there are grains of sand in the Ganges River, giving away bodies like that throughout immeasurable hundreds of thousands of billions of kalpas. But if someone else were to hear this Sutra and believe it without reservation, his blessings would surpass the blessings of the former person. How much greater the blessings would be if one could write out, accept, uphold, read, recite and explain this Sutra for others. "Subhuti, to sum it up, the merit and virtue of this Sutra is inconceivable, incalculable and boundless. The Thus Come One spoke it for those intent on the Great Vehicle, for those intent on the foremost vehicle. The Thus Come One knows and sees all people who can accept, uphold, read, recite and extensively explain this Sutra for others. Such people perfect immeasurable, incalculable, boundless and inconceivable merit and virtue and sustain the Thus Come One's Anuttarasamyaksambodhi. Why? Subhuti, one who delights in lesser dharmas is attached to a view of a self, a view of others, a view of living beings and a view of a life. This person cannot hear, accept, uphold, read or recite this Sutra or explain it for others. "Subhuti, the gods, humans, and asuras of the world should make offerings wherever this Sutra is found. Know that this place is a Stupa. All beings should pay respect, worship, circumambulate and decorate it with incense and flowers."

 

KARMIC OBSTRUCTIONS CAN BE PURIFIED, SIXTEEN


"Moreover Subhuti, if a good man or good woman who accepts, upholds, reads or recites this Sutra, is ridiculed, that is because that person has karmic offenses from past lives which destine him for the evil paths. But as a result of the ridicule he receives from others in his present life, his previous karmic offenses are destroyed and he will attain Anuttarasamyaksambodhi. "Subhuti, I recall that in the past, for immeasurable asamkhyeya kalpas, prior to Dipankara Buddha, I encountered eighty-four trillion nayutas of Buddhas. I made offerings to and served them all without exception. If there are others in the Final Period who can accept, uphold, read or recite this Sutra, the merit and virtue they obtain is a hundred times more, a thousand times more, ten thousand times more, or a million times more than the merit and virtue I gained from making offerings to all those Buddhas. It is so great that it exceeds all calculations and comparisons. "Subhuti, if I were to explain in detail the merit and virtue of a good man or good woman, who in the Final Period, accepts, upholds, reads or recites this Sutra, then those who hear might go insane or disbelieve. Subhuti, you should know that the principles in this Sutra are inconceivable. So too are the rewards it generates."

 

ULTIMATELY THERE IS NO SELF, SEVENTEEN


Then Subhuti addressed the Buddha, "World Honored One, if a good man or good woman resolves his mind on Anuttarasamyaksambodhi, on what should he rely? How should he subdue his mind?" The Buddha told Subhuti, "A good man or good woman who resolves his mind on Anuttarasamyaksambodhi should think thus: 'I should take all living beings across to Cessation. Yet when all living beings have been taken across to Cessation, actually not one living being has been taken across to Cessation.' Why? Subhuti, if a Bodhisattva has an appearance of self, others, living beings or a life, he is not a Bodhisattva. For what reason? Subhuti, actually there is no such dharma as resolving one's mind on Anuttarasamyaksambodhi. "Subhuti, what do you think, when the Thus Come One was with Burning Lamp Buddha, did he attain the dharma of Anuttarasamyaksambodhi?" "No World Honored One. As I understand what the Buddha has said, when the Buddha was with Burning Lamp Buddha, he did not attain the dharma of Anuttarasamyaksambodhi." The Buddha said, "So it is, so it is Subhuti. The Thus Come One did not actually attain the dharma of Anuttarasamyaksambodhi. Subhuti, if the Thus Come One had actually attained the dharma of Anuttarasamyaksambodhi, then Burning Lamp Buddha would not have given me the prediction: 'You will in the future become a Buddha with the name Shakyamuni.' Since I did not actually attain the dharma of Anuttarasamyaksambodhi, Burning Lamp Buddha gave me the prediction saying these words, 'You will in the future become a Buddha with the name Shakyamuni.' Why? 'Thus Come One' means 'all dharmas are "thus".' Someone might say the Thus Come One attained Anuttarasamyaksambodhi, Subhuti, but actually the Buddha did not attain the dharma of Anuttarasamyaksambodhi. Subhuti, there is nothing true nor false in the Anuttarasamyaksambodhi the Thus Come One attains. Therefore, the Thus Come One says that all dharmas are Buddhadharma. Subhuti, what are spoken of as 'all dharmas', are not all dharmas. Therefore they are called 'all dharmas.' "Subhuti, suppose there is a person with a big body." Subhuti said, "World Honored One, the Thus Come One speaks of a big body as not being a big body. Therefore it is called a big body." "Subhuti, a Bodhisattva is also like this. If he said, 'I should take across immeasurable living beings to Cessation,' then he could not be called a Bodhisattva. Why? Subhuti, there is really no dharma called a Bodhisattva. Therefore the Buddha says that all dharmas are without self, others, living beings or a life. "Subhuti, if a Bodhisattva said, 'I should adorn Buddhalands,' he could not be called a Bodhisattva. Why? What the Thus Come One speaks of as adorning Buddhalands is not adorning Buddhalands. Therefore it is called adorning Buddhalands. Subhuti, if a Bodhisattva comprehends the dharma of no self, the Thus Come One calls him a true Bodhisattva."

 

CONTEMPLATING THE ONENESS OF EVERYTHING, EIGHTEEN


"Subhuti, what do you think, does the Thus Come One have the Flesh Eye?" "So it is World Honored One. The Thus Come One has the Flesh Eye." "Subhuti, what do you think, does the Thus Come One have the Heavenly Eye?" "So it is World Honored One. The Thus Come One has the Heavenly Eye." "Subhuti, what do you think, does the Thus Come One have the Wisdom Eye?" "So it is World Honored One. The Thus Come One has the Wisdom Eye." "Subhuti, what do you think, does the Thus Come One have the Dharma Eye?" "So it is World Honored One. The Thus Come One has the Dharma Eye." "Subhuti, what do you think, does the Thus Come One have the Buddha Eye?" "So it is World Honored One. The Thus Come One has the Buddha Eye." "Subhuti, what do you think, has the Thus Come One said that all the sand of the Ganges River is sand?" "So it is World Honored One. The Thus Come One has said that all that sand is sand." "Subhuti, what do you think, if there were as many Ganges rivers as there are grains of sand in one Ganges River, and there were as many Buddhalands as there were grains of sand in all those Ganges rivers, would that be many Buddhalands?" "Very many, World Honored One." The Buddha told Subhuti, "The Thus Come One thoroughly knows all the various thoughts that occur to every living being in each of those Buddhalands. Why? The Thus Come One says that all thoughts are not thoughts. Therefore they are called thoughts. For what reason? Subhuti, you cannot recover past thoughts, you cannot hold on to present thoughts, and you cannot obtain future thoughts."

 

UNDERSTANDING AND TRANSFORMING THE DHARMA REALM, NINETEEN


"Subhuti, what do you think, would a person because of the causes and conditions of filling a threefold great thousand world system with the seven kinds of precious gems and giving them as an offering, obtain many blessings?" "So it is World Honored One. That person on account of his giving would obtain very many blessings." "Subhuti, if these blessings and virtues are real, the Thus Come One would not speak about obtaining many blessings. But because these blessings and virtues do not exist, the Thus Come One speaks of obtaining many blessings."

 

LEAVING BOTH FORM AND APPEARANCES, TWENTY


"Subhuti, what do you think, should one look for Buddha in his perfect physical body?" "No, World Honored One, one should not look for Thus Come One in his perfect physical body. Why? The Thus Come One has said that the perfect physical body is not the perfect physical body. Therefore it is called the perfect physical body." "Subhuti, what do you think, should one look for Thus Come One in all his perfect appearances?" "No World Honored One, one should not look for Thus Come One in all his perfect appearances. Why? The Thus Come One has said perfect appearances are not perfect appearances. Therefore they are called perfect appearances."

 

WHAT IS SPOKEN IS NOT SPOKEN, TWENTY-ONE


"Subhuti, do not maintain that the Thus Come One has this thought: 'I have spoken Dharma.' Do not think that way. Why? If someone says the Thus Come One has spoken Dharma, he slanders the Buddha due to his inability to understand what I teach. Subhuti, as to speaking Dharma, no Dharma can be spoken. Therefore it is called 'speaking Dharma'." At that time Subhuti, the wise elder, addressed the Buddha, "World Honored One, will there be living beings in the future who believe in this Sutra when they hear it?" The Buddha said, "The living beings to whom you refer are neither living beings nor not living beings. Why? Subhuti, all the different kinds of living beings the Thus Come One speaks of are not living beings. Therefore they are called living beings."

 

NO DHARMA CAN BE OBTAINED, TWENTY-TWO


Subhuti addressed the Buddha, "World Honored One, is it true that the Thus Come One, in attaining Anuttarasamyaksambodhi, did not attain anything?" The Buddha said, "So it is, so it is, Subhuti. As to Anuttarasamyaksambodhi, there is not the slightest dharma which I could attain. Therefore it is called Anuttarasamyaksambodhi."

 

A PURE MIND DOES WHOLESOME DEEDS, TWENTY-THREE


"Moreover, Subhuti, this Dharma is the common denominator; nothing is higher or lower. Therefore it is called Anuttarasamyaksambodhi. A person free of self, others, living beings and a life, who cultivates all wholesome dharmas, attains Anuttarasamyaksambodhi. Subhuti, what are called wholesome dharmas, the Thus Come One says are not wholesome dharmas. Therefore they are called wholesome dharmas."

 

BLESSINGS AND WISDOM BEYOND COMPARE, TWENTY-FOUR


"Subhuti, suppose someone were to take mounds of the seven precious gems piled as high as all the Sumerus, kings of mountains, in a threefold great thousand world system and give them as an offering. And further suppose someone else were to accept, uphold, read or recite and speak for others as few as four lines of verse from this Prajna Paramita Sutra . The former person's blessings and virtues would not equal one percent of the other person's blessings and virtues, neither one tenth of a percent, nor one hundredth of a percent, nor one thousandth of a percent, nor any fraction that could be calculated or expressed by analogy."

 

TRANSFORMING WITHOUT THERE BEING ANYONE TRANSFORMED, TWENTY-FIVE


"Subhuti, what do you think? None of you should maintain that the Thus Come One has this thought: 'I shall save living beings.' Subhuti, do not think that way. Why? In fact the Thus Come One does not save any living beings. If the Thus Come One saved living beings, then the Thus Come One would have a sense of a self, others, living beings, and a life. "Subhuti, although the Thus Come One speaks of the existence of a self, there is really no self that exists. However, common people think they have a self. Subhuti, the common people that the Thus Come One speaks of are not common people. Therefore they are called common people."

 

THE DHARMA BODY IS NOT APPEARANCES, TWENTY-SIX


"Subhuti, what do you think, is it possible to contemplate the Thus Come One in his Thirty-two Physical Appearances?" Subhuti said, "So it is, so it is. It is possible to contemplate the Thus Come One in his Thirty-two Physical Appearances." The Buddha said, "Subhuti, if one could contemplate the Thus Come One in his Thirty-two Physical Appearances, then a Wheel Turning Sage King would be the Thus Come One." Subhuti addressed the Buddha, "World Honored One, as I understand what the Buddha has said, one should not contemplate the Thus Come One in his Thirty-two Physical Appearances." At that time the World Honored One spoke a verse saying, One who looks for me in forms, Or seeks me in sounds, Practices a deviant path And will never see the Thus Come One.

 

NOT DESTROYED NOR ANNIHILATED, TWENTY-SEVEN


"Subhuti, you might have the thought, 'It was not because he perfected his Physical Appearances that the Thus Come One attained Anuttarasamyaksambodhi.' Subhuti, do not think, 'It was not because he perfected his Physical Appearances that the Thus Come One attained Anuttarasamyaksambodhi.' Subhuti, if you think in that way, then those who have resolved their minds on Anuttarasamyaksambodhi would affirm the destruction of all dharmas. Do not think like that. Why? Those who have resolved their minds on Anuttarasamyaksambodhi do not affirm the destruction of the appearances of all dharmas."

 

NO GREED AND NOTHING ACQUIRED, TWENTY EIGHT


"Subhuti, a Bodhisattva might fill up world systems equal in number to the grains of sand in the Ganges River with the seven kinds of precious gems and give them as gift. But if another person were to realize that all dharmas are devoid of self and attain patience, that Bodhisattva's merit and virtues would surpass the merit and virtues of the previous Bodhisattva. Why, Subhuti? Because Bodhisattvas do not acquire blessings and virtues." Subhuti addressed the Buddha, "World Honored One, how is it that Bodhisattvas do not acquire blessings and virtues?" "Subhuti, Bodhisattvas should neither be greedy for, nor be attached to the blessings and virtues which they foster. Therefore I say they do not acquire blessings and virtues."

 

THE QUIESCENCE OF HIS AWESOME DEMEANOR, TWENTY-NINE


"Subhuti, if someone says that it seems as if the Thus Come One comes and goes, sits or lies down, such a person does not understand the meaning of my teaching. Why? The Thus Come One does not come from anywhere nor does he go anywhere. Therefore he is called the Thus Come One."

 

THE PRINCIPLE OF A UNITY OF APPEARANCES, THIRTY


"Subhuti, suppose a good man or good woman were to pulverize a threefold great thousand world system into fine particles of dust. What do you think, would those fine particles of dust be many?" Subhuti said, "Very many World Honored One. Why? If those fine particles of dust did exist, the Buddha would not have called them fine particles of dust. Why is this? What the Buddha speaks of as fine particles of dust are not fine particles of dust. Therefore they are called fine particles of dust. "World Honored One, what the Buddha spoke of as a threefold great thousand world system is not a world system. Therefore it is called a world system. Why? If world systems actually existed, that would constitute a unity of appearances. What the Thus Come One speaks of as a unity of appearances is not a unity of appearances. Therefore it is called a unity of appearances." "Subhuti, a unity of appearances cannot really be expressed, but common people become greedily attached to such things."

 

KNOWLEDGE AND VIEWS ARE NOT PRODUCED, THIRTY-ONE


"Subhuti, suppose someone were to say that the Buddha spoke of the view of self, the view of others, the view of living beings and the view of a life. Subhuti, what do you think, does that person understand the meaning of my teachings?" "No, World Honored One, that person does not understand the meaning of the Thus Come One's teachings. Why? What the World Honored One spoke of as the view of self, view of others, view of living beings and view of a life is not the view of self, view of others, view of living beings and view of a life. Therefore they are called the view of self, view of others, view of living beings and the view of a life." "Subhuti, those who have resolved their minds on Anuttarasamyaksambodhi should, in regards to all dharmas, thus know, thus perceive, and thus believe and understand and not set up appearances of dharmas. Subhuti, what the Thus Come One speaks of as appearances of dharmas are not appearances of dharmas. Therefore they are called appearances of dharmas."

 

RESPONSES AND TRANSFORMATIONS ARE UNREAL, THIRTY-TWO


"Subhuti, suppose someone were to fill measureless asamkhyeyas of world systems with the seven precious jewels and give them as an offering. Further, if a good man or good woman who has resolved his mind on Bodhi were to receive, uphold, read or recite and extensively explain for others as little as four lines of verse from this Sutra, the latter person's blessings would surpass those of the former person. "How should this Sutra be explained for others? By not grasping at appearances and being in unmoving thusness. Why? All conditioned dharmas Are like a dream, an illusion, a bubble or a shadow, Like dew or like a lightning flash. Contemplate them thus."

After the Buddha spoke this Sutra, the Elder Subhuti, all the Bhikshus, Bhikshunis, upasakas and upasikas, and all the gods, humans, and asuras, and others from all the worlds, having heard what the Buddha had said, were extremely happy, faithfully accepted it, and put it into practice.

 


Updated: 1-8-2000

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