Sutra of Entering the States of All Buddhas Adorned with Wisdom; 度一切諸佛境界智嚴經
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Sūtra 46 (posted 11/2014, updated 09/2015)  Book information on Home page

度一切諸佛境界智嚴經
Sūtra of Entering the States of All Buddhas Adorned with Wisdom

Translated from Sanskrit into Chinese in the Southern Liang Dynasty
by
The Tripiṭaka Master Saṅghapāla from Funan


The Assembly

Thus I have heard:
    At one time the Buddha was staying in the palace of the dharma realm, atop the Gṛdhrakūṭa Mountain, near the city of Rājagṛha, together with 25,000 great bhikṣus. All of them were Arhats, who had ended their afflictions and the discharges thereof. Their minds liberated, their wisdom opened, and their faculties tamed, they were like great dragons.[1] They had completed their endeavor [for Arhatship], done what could be done, shed the heavy burden, and understood the meaning of their effort. Having ended the bondage of existence, their minds were at ease. Among them were Ājñātakauṇḍinya and eight other great voice-hearers.
    Also present were 72 koṭi nayuta Bodhisattva-Mahāsattvas, including Mañjuśrī Bodhisattva, Action Propitious Bodhisattva, Buddha Propitious Bodhisattva, Medicine King Bodhisattva, and Constant Arising Bodhisattva. They could turn the no-regress Dharma wheel and capably ask for the unparalleled precious sūtras. They abided on the Dharma Cloud Ground [the tenth Bodhisattva ground], and their wisdom was like Mount Sumeru. Constantly training through the Three Liberation Doors—emptiness, no appearance, and no action—they had realized the radiant profound truth that dharmas have no birth and no self-essence. Their merits fully accumulated and their deportments perfected, they were sent by Tathāgatas in countless nayutas of worlds. They possessed great transcendental powers and abided in their realization that dharmas have neither self-essence nor appearance.
    At that time the World-Honored One thought, “These Bodhisattva-Mahāsattvas come from worlds as numerous as the sands of the Ganges. I will expound the Dharma to them, enabling them to acquire great power. I will display my transcendental powers and emit vast radiance because they will ask me [to expound the Dharma].”
    Then the World-Honored One emitted vast radiance that illuminated everywhere in worlds in the ten directions, which were as countless and inconceivable as the dust particles in a Three-Thousand Large Thousandfold World. Then from ten Buddha Lands in each of the ten directions, Bodhisattvas as numerous as ineffable millions of koṭis of nayutas of dust particles, using their inconceivable and immeasurable transcendental powers, gathered there. They made inconceivable offerings to the Tathāgata and seated themselves on their mind-created lotus flower seats before the Buddha. They reverently gazed upon the World-Honored One without stopping even temporarily.
    Then in this palace of the dharma realm rose a great lion throne from the precious Lotus Flower Store.[2] It was countless koṭis of nayutas in length and width and made of countless radiant jewels and interlaced lightning jewels. It had inconceivable jewels as its pole and incomparable jewels as its retinue, and was adorned with unexcelled jewels. It was covered with the Brahma-king Maheśvara’s net of jewels, filled with assorted jewels, and surrounded by great jewels and various hanging colorful banners. It emitted countless koṭis of nayutas of beams of light that illuminated worlds in the ten directions.
    Meanwhile, from ten worlds in each of the ten directions, gods, dragons, yakṣas, gandharvas, asuras, garuḍas, kiṁnaras, and mahoragas, as numerous as ineffable billions of koṭis of nayutas of dust particles, as well as the Brahma-king Śikhin, the god-king Śakra, and the four god-kings of each world,[3] gathered there. Some gods, together with innumerable inconceivable goddess-daughters playing a billion koṭi nayuta kinds of music, rode the palace made of jeweled crowns to gather there. Other gods, together with innumerable inconceivable goddess-daughters playing a billion koṭi nayuta kinds of music, rode the palace made of jeweled flowers, the palace made of dragon treasure sandalwood divine jewels, the palace made of precious pearls, the palace made of jeweled garments, the palace made of jewels with golden radiance, the palace made of Jambūnada gold,[4] the palace made of jewels with immeasurable radiance, the Brahma-king Maheśvara’s palace made of jewels, the palace made of wish-fulfilling jewels, the palace made of the jewels from the god-king Śakra’s necklace, the palace made of pure treasures from the immense ocean, and the palace made of great jewels with universal radiance, to gather there. All of them made countless inconceivable offerings to the Buddha. Then they sat down at their pleasure and reverently gazed upon the World-Honored One without moving their eyes even temporarily.
    Then this Three-Thousand Large Thousandfold World became the color of Jambūnada gold and became adorned with jeweled trees, celestial flower trees, jeweled garment trees, and dragon treasure sandalwood trees. These trees were covered with nets of interlaced sun, moon, and lightning jewels. Various jeweled banners hung everywhere in this world. Among the trees stood countless millions of koṭis of goddess-daughters holding various necklaces and various flowers made of treasures.
    Then the great lion throne from the precious Lotus Flower Store spoke in verse:

As all of you are peacefully seated,
I will speak the truth.
This lion throne of the human king
Is built by a Tathāgata’s merits.

Today my wish to make offerings to
The Two-Footed Honored One is fulfilled.
The World-Honored One will sit on
This lotus flower seat made of the seven treasures.

He will emit vast radiance
To illuminate me and all things,
And expound the unsurpassed wondrous Dharma
To benefit gods and humans.
Those who hear the Dharma
Will someday sit on lion thrones.

Such vast radiance
Emitted from the Tathāgata’s body
Illuminates countless worlds
And delights all.
Today the guiding teacher, the god of gods,
Will accept me [as His seat].

In the past,
I already encountered in this place eight koṭi Buddhas.
I pray that the World-Honored One
Will accept me out of compassion.

Request for Teachings on What Has Neither Birth Nor Death

Then the World-Honored One rose from His radiant seat and sat cross-legged on the lion throne from the Lotus Flower Store. Seeing that Bodhisattvas had assembled, to inspire them He decided to expound the emptiness of dharmas.
    Meanwhile, Bodhisattvas thought, “Bodhisattva Mañjuśrī the Youth will ask the Tathāgata for teachings on what has neither birth nor death, teachings we have not heard since the distant past.”
    Mañjuśrī Bodhisattva already knew that the Tathāgata would expound the Dharma and knew other Bodhisattvas’ thoughts. He asked the Buddha, “World-Honored One, what has neither birth nor death? What are its characteristics?”
    Then he spoke in verse:

How can we know
What has neither birth nor death?
The honored great muni [saint][5]
Will give analogies.

This multitude of Bodhisattvas
Is assembled here.
They would be delighted to hear this meaning,
And they pray that the Buddha will explain it.

These Bodhisattvas
Sent here by other Buddhas
Would be delighted
To hear the wondrous Dharma.

The Teachings

The Dharma Body

    The Buddha said to Mañjuśrī Bodhisattva, “Very good, very good! Your question can benefit all in the world and enable Bodhisattvas to do Buddha work. Mañjuśrī, you should hearken without shock or doubt. Mañjuśrī, what has neither birth nor death is a Tathāgata.[6]
    “Mañjuśrī, as an analogy, suppose that the great earth is made of aquamarine [vaiḍūrya] and displays reflections of the god-king Śakra’s palace and desire objects.[7] When people in Jambudvīpa [the southern continent] see the reflection of that celestial palace on the aquamarine ground, they join their palms, make offerings, burn incense, and scatter flowers, praying that they will be reborn in such a palace to enjoy life as does the god-king Śakra. They do not know that the ground displays merely a reflection of that palace. They give alms, observe the precepts, and accumulate merits, with a view to living in such a palace as their karmic requital. Mañjuśrī, the palace they see actually has neither birth nor death. Because the ground is pure, reflections appear on it. The reflection of that palace is neither existent nor nonexistent, and has neither birth nor death.
    “Mañjuśrī, in a similar way sentient beings see a Buddha. Because their minds are pure, they see a Buddha’s body. However, it is unreal, neither arises nor perishes, has neither birth nor death, neither form nor no form, neither mind nor no mind, and is neither visible nor invisible, neither worldly nor unworldly. Because sentient beings’ minds are pure, they see a Tathāgata’s body. Then they scatter flowers, burn incense, and make various offerings, praying that they too will acquire such a physical body. They accumulate merits by giving alms and observing the precepts, with a view to acquiring a Tathāgata’s sublime body. Thus, Mañjuśrī, using His spiritual power, a Tathāgata appears in the world to benefit sentient beings. He enables them to see the reflections or images of His dharma body.[8]
    Then the World-Honored One spoke in verse:

A Tathāgata constantly abides,
Has neither birth nor death,
And is neither mental nor physical,
Neither existent nor nonexistent.

As the aquamarine ground
Displays the reflection of a celestial palace,
This reflection is neither existent
Nor nonexistent.

Likewise, if sentient beings’ minds are pure,
They see a Tathāgata’s body,
Which is neither existent
Nor nonexistent.

    “Mañjuśrī, as an analogy, when the sun rises, it first shines on high mountains, then low mountains, and then the ground. Likewise a Tathāgata has no mind [citta], mental faculty [manas], or consciousness [vijñāna]. He has no appearance, and is apart from any appearance and free from all appearances. He is attached to neither this nor that, abides on neither this shore nor that shore opposite this shore,[9] nor in the stream in the middle. He is inconceivable, neither high nor low, beyond one’s thinking. He has neither bondage nor liberation, neither cognition nor no cognition, neither afflictions nor no afflictions, neither wisdom-knowledge nor no wisdom-knowledge. He is neither real nor unreal, neither conceivable nor inconceivable. He has neither thinking nor no thinking, neither mind nor no mind, neither mental faculty nor no mental faculty, neither form nor no form, neither names nor no names. He neither takes nor does not take action, neither grasps nor does not grasp anything, neither speaks nor does not speak. He is neither describable nor indescribable, neither visible nor invisible, neither a guiding teacher nor not a guiding teacher, and has neither acquired nor not acquired the [bodhi] fruit.
    “Thus, Mañjuśrī, a Tathāgata’s wisdom sunlight illuminates the Three Realms of Existence. It first illuminates Bodhisattvas like high mountains, then illuminates riders of the Pratyekabuddha Vehicle, then illuminations riders of the Voice-Hearer Vehicle, then illuminates believers with firm roots of goodness, and then illuminates even sentient beings on the wrong paths. His wisdom sunlight illuminates all sentient beings to nurture them, increase their good dharmas, and develop their future causes and conditions [to attain Buddhahood].
    “Mañjuśrī, a Tathāgata is impartial and constantly abides in the equable mind, never differentiating between high, middle, and low. Mañjuśrī, a Tathāgata never thinks that to these sentient beings He would give excellent teachings, or to those sentient beings He would give middling teachings. He never thinks that this sentient beings has high mental faculty, that sentient being has middling mental faculty, or another sentient being has low mental faculty; this person delights in good dharmas or that person delights in evil dharmas; this person definitely is on the right path or that person definitely is on the wrong path. A Tathāgata has radiant wisdom, does not make such differentiations, and has ended all differentiating perceptions. Because sentient beings have different kinds of roots of goodness, a Tathāgata’s wisdom sunlight illuminates different things [to benefit them].
    “Mañjuśrī, as another analogy, in the immense ocean is a jewel called fulfilling all sentient beings’ wishes. It is placed on a cylindrical banner to fulfill sentient beings’ wishes, but it has no mind, mental faculty, or consciousness. Likewise a Tathāgata has no mind, mental faculty, or consciousness. He is immeasurable, unreachable, and indescribable, and cannot be captured. Free from ignorance and faults, He is neither real nor unreal, neither permanent nor impermanent, neither radiant nor not radiant, neither worldly nor unworldly. He has neither coarse thinking nor fine thinking, neither birth nor death, neither mind nor body. Neither moving nor taking action, He is inconceivable, measureless, boundless, and indescribable. He has neither likes nor dislikes, neither speech nor number, neither action places nor life-paths. Neither coming nor going, He is invisible, ungraspable, and beyond comparison. He is neither empty nor not empty, neither united nor not united [with something]. Inconceivable, imperceptible, and apart from all appearances, He is neither pure nor impure, neither mental nor physical, neither inside nor outside nor in the middle. He has no belonging, no sound, no appearance, and no past, present, or future. Thus, Mañjuśrī, a Tathāgata purely abides in great lovingkindness and compassion, and manifests various bodies to expound various teachings according to sentient beings’ preferences.
    “Mañjuśrī, as another analogy, echoes produced by sounds have neither birth nor death, and are neither perpetual nor ceasing, neither inside nor outside nor in the middle. Mañjuśrī, likewise the sounds voiced by a Tathāgata are neither inside nor outside nor in the middle, and have neither birth nor death, neither names nor appearances. He voices various sounds according to sentient beings’ preferences to make them understand.
    “Mañjuśrī, as another analogy, grass and trees depend on the earth to grow, while the earth remains impartial and free from differentiation. Likewise sentient beings’ roots of goodness depend on a Tathāgata to grow. Moreover, the roots of goodness of riders of the Voice-Hearer Vehicle, of the Pratyekabuddha Vehicle, and of the Bodhisattva Vehicle, and even followers of the naked Nirgranthaputra depend on a Tathāgata to grow, while a Tathāgata remains impartial and free from differentiation.
    “Mañjuśrī, as another analogy, the open sky is impartial, without high, middle, or low. Likewise a Tathāgata is impartial while sentient beings perceive high, middle, and low. Mañjuśrī, a Tathāgata never thinks that to those with low mental faculty He would manifest a lowly body, or to those with middling or high mental faculty He would manifest a middling or lofty body. He never thinks that to those with low mental faculty he would expound a lowly vehicle,[10] to those with middling mental faculty He would expound the Pratyekabuddha Vehicle or the Voice-Hearer Vehicle, or to those with high mental faculty He would expound the Mahāyāna. Mañjuśrī, a Tathāgata never thinks that to those who delight in almsgiving he would expound almsgiving. Nor does He think that to those who delight in observing the precepts, acquiring endurance [of adversity], making energetic progress, doing meditation, or developing wisdom, he would expound a corresponding pāramitā. Why? Because a Tathāgata’s dharma body is impartial, apart from mind, mental faculty, and consciousness, and free from differentiation.
    “Mañjuśrī, all dharmas are equal [in their emptiness]. Because they are equal, they do not abide. Because they do not abide, they do not move. Because they do not move, they rely on nothing. Because they rely on nothing, they have no place. Because they have no place, they have no birth. Because they have no birth, they have no death. If one can see dharmas in this way, one’s mind is not deluded. Because one’s mind is not deluded, one accords with true reality. Because one accords with true reality, one does nothing. Because one does nothing, one does not come. Because one does not come, one does not go. Because one does not go, one is in unity with true suchness. Because one is in unity with true suchness, one follows dharma nature. Because one follows dharma nature, one’s mind does not move. Because one’s mind does not move, one has no expectations. Why not? Because one has attained bodhi. If one has attained bodhi, one does not abide in any dharmas. Because one does not abide in dharmas, one realizes that they have neither birth nor death, neither names nor appearances. Mañjuśrī, if sentient beings are attached to dharmas, their afflictions arise. If their afflictions arise, they cannot attain bodhi.”

Attainment of Bodhi

    Mañjuśrī Bodhisattva asked the Buddha, “World-Honored One, how does a Tathāgata attain bodhi?”
    The Buddha answered, “By having no root and no place to abide, a Tathāgata attains Bodhi.”
    Mañjuśrī Bodhisattva asked the Buddha, “What is the root and what is the place?”
    The Buddha answered, “The wrong view that one has an embodied self is the root; wrong thinking is the place. Mañjuśrī, a Tathāgata’s wisdom is bodhi. Because He knows that all dharmas are equal, He attains bodhi by having no root and no place.
    “Mañjuśrī, bodhi is quietness. What is quietness? It means inner and outer quietness. Why? Because as eye is empty, so too are [an imagined] self and its belongings. In the same way, as ear, nose, tongue, body, and mental faculty are empty, so too are a self and its belongings. Knowing that eye is empty and having no attachment to sights are quietness; knowing that ear is empty and having no attachment to sounds are quietness. In the same way, knowing that nose, tongue, body, and mental faculty are empty and having no attachment to their corresponding objects are quietness.
    “Mañjuśrī, bodhi neither accepts nor rejects. No-acceptance means that it never grasps any dharmas; no-rejection means that it never abandons any dharmas. Mañjuśrī, a Tathāgata never moves because He has realized true suchness. Abiding in true suchness, He sees neither this shore nor that shore. Because He sees neither this nor that, He sees all dharmas. Because He sees all dharmas, He is called a Tathāgata.
    “Mañjuśrī, bodhi has neither perception nor objects [of perception]. What is meant by no perception and what is meant by no objects? Not capturing eye consciousness means no perception, and not seeing sights means no objects; not capturing ear consciousness means no perception, and not hearing sounds means no objects. It is the same with the other consciousnesses and their corresponding objects, such as mental consciousness and its mental objects.[11]
    “Mañjuśrī, bodhi is not of the three time frames—past, present, and future—because they are equal, thus ending the flow of the three time frames. What is meant by ending this flow? The past mind does not arise; the present mental faculty does not abide; the future consciousness does not act. Not abiding in mind, mental faculty, or consciousness, a Tathāgata does not perceive, ponder, or differentiate dharmas.
    “Mañjuśrī, bodhi has neither form nor action. Why does it have no form? Because it cannot be perceived by the six consciousnesses. Why does it take no action? Because it has no birth, no existence, and no death, thus ending the flow of the three time frames.
    “Mañjuśrī, bodhi is a differentiation-free[12] word. What is free from differentiation and what is the word? Having no appearance is free from differentiation; true suchness is the word. Never abiding is free from differentiation; the dharma realm is the word. Never moving is free from differentiation; emptiness is the word. Never capturing is free from differentiation; no-appearance is the word. Never perceiving is free from differentiation; no-motion is the word. Having no wish is free from differentiation; nonexistence of self-essence is the word. Nonexistence of self-essence in a sentient being is free from differentiation; the open sky is the word. Nothing to attain is free from differentiation; no-birth is the word. Having no death is free from differentiation; freedom from causes and conditions is the word. Never taking action is free from differentiation; bodhi is the word. Quietness is free from differentiation; nirvāṇa is the word. Never undergoing subsequent rebirths is free from differentiation; no-birth is the word.
    “Mañjuśrī, bodhi cannot be attained by body or mind. Why not? Because, like grass or a tree, the body has no awareness; because the mind is false and illusory. Mañjuśrī, if someone says that bodhi is attained by body and mind, it is based on false names, not the true meaning. Why? Because bodhi is neither body nor mind, neither real nor unreal.
    “Mañjuśrī, bodhi cannot be described with words. Why not? Because, like the open sky, it has no place, and has neither birth nor death, nor names. Mañjuśrī, in true reality no dharma can be described. Why not? Because all dharmas are unreal and have neither birth nor death, neither names nor words.
    “Mañjuśrī, bodhi is ungraspable and has no place. Why is it ungraspable and why does it have no place? [It is ungraspable] because eye does not grasp anything; [it has no place] because sights cannot be captured. [It is ungraspable] because ear does not grasp anything; [it has no place] because sounds cannot be captured. It is the same with the other faculties and their corresponding objects.[13] Bodhi cannot be sensed. Because eye does not grasp anything, sights cannot be captured. Because sights cannot be captured, eye consciousness has no place. Because ear does not grasp anything, sounds cannot be captured. Because sounds cannot be captured, ear consciousness has no place. It is the same with the other faculties and their corresponding objects and consciousnesses, such as mental faculty and its mental objects and mental consciousness.[14]
    “Mañjuśrī, bodhi is emptiness because all dharmas are empty. Emptiness is what a Tathāgata knows; emptiness is what a Tathāgata has realized. Why? Because emptiness has no appearance. Moreover, Mañjuśrī, wisdom, the cause of bodhi, is also empty. Why? Because it has no appearance. Mañjuśrī, bodhi, or emptiness, has no existence, no duality, no number, no name, no appearance, no birth, no death, no action, no place, no sound, and no words, apart from mind, mental faculty, and consciousness. Mañjuśrī, bodhi is described by a name, but actually is indescribable. Mañjuśrī, a Tathāgata knows that without a beginning, all dharmas have always had neither birth nor death, neither arising nor perishing, neither names nor appearances, apart from mind, mental faculty, and consciousness. Such an understanding leads to liberation, though there is neither bondage nor liberation.
    “Mañjuśrī, bodhi is impartial, like the open sky. As the open sky is neither partial nor impartial, so too is bodhi. Such dharma appearances are what a Tathāgata has realized. Mañjuśrī, as a tiny dust particle is neither partial nor impartial, so too are all dharmas. This is true wisdom-knowledge. Mañjuśrī, what is the true wisdom-knowledge of dharmas? As dharmas appear to be born through causes and conditions and to die through causes and conditions, they have neither birth nor death nor control.
    “Mañjuśrī, bodhi is the word for true suchness. What is meant by the word for true suchness? As bodhi is not apart from true suchness, the five aggregates—form, sensory reception, perception, mental processing, and consciousness—are not apart from true suchness. As bodhi is not apart from true suchness, the four domains—earth, water, fire, and wind—are not apart from true suchness. As bodhi is not apart from true suchness, the eighteen spheres—from the spheres of eye and its sights and eye consciousness to the spheres of mental faculty and its mental objects and mental consciousness—are not apart from true suchness. This is what is meant by the word for true suchness.
    “Mañjuśrī, bodhi enters no action through actions. Mañjuśrī, what are actions and what is no-action? Actions produce all good dharmas; no-action means that no good dharma can be captured. Actions mean that the mind does not abide; no-action means liberation through no action.[15] Actions are measurable; no-action is immeasurable. Why is it immeasurable? Because it is beyond cognition.
    “Mañjuśrī, bodhi has no affliction and no grasping.[16] No-affliction means ending the four flows. What are these four? They are (1) afflictions in the desire realm, (2) afflictions in the form realm and the formless realm, (3) wrong views, and (4) ignorance of the truth.[17] Having no attachment to these four flows means ending these four flows. No-grasping means ending the four kinds of grasping. What are these four? They are grasping (1) desire objects, (2) wrong views, (3) wrong precepts, and (4) words claiming that one has a self. These four kinds of grasping strengthen one another, because sentient beings are shrouded in ignorance and driven by thirsty love [tṛṣṇā] of being. Mañjuśrī, the wisdom-knowledge of true suchness eradicates the root of grasping the words claiming that one has a self. Once this root is eradicated, one acquires purity and realizes that dharmas have neither birth nor death. Mañjuśrī, realization that dharmas have neither birth nor death means not using mind, mental faculty, or consciousness to ponder and differentiate dharmas, for differentiation reveals ignorance [of the truth]. If ignorance does not arise, the Twelve Links of Dependent Arising do not arise. If these twelve links do not arise, one’s karmic rebirths end. [Realization that dharmas have] no birth is bodhi; bodhi is the definitive meaning. This definitive meaning is the foremost meaning; this foremost meaning is the meaning of no self; the meaning of no-self is ineffable. What is ineffable is the meaning of the Twelve Links of Dependent Arising. The meaning of the Twelve Links of Dependent Arising is the meaning of the Dharma. The meaning of the Dharma is the meaning of true suchness. Therefore, I say that if one sees the Twelve Links of Dependent Arising, one sees the Dharma. Seeing the Dharma is seeing a Tathāgata. Seeing a Tathāgata in this way is seeing that there is nothing to see.
    “Mañjuśrī, bodhi is pure, taint free, and attachment free.[18] Mañjuśrī, the liberation door of emptiness is pure; the liberation door of no appearance is taint free; the liberation door of no wish is attachment free. Moreover, what has no birth is pure; what takes no action is taint free; what has no death is attachment free. Moreover, the true nature of dharmas is pure; purity is taint free; freedom from taint is attachment free. Moreover, seeing no differentiation is pure; making no differentiation is taint free; ending differentiation is attachment free. True suchness is pure; the dharma realm is taint free; the true reality of dharmas is attachment free. The open sky is pure; the open sky is taint free; the open sky is attachment free. Knowledge of one’s inner body [dharma body] is pure, not taking outer action is taint free; seeing neither inner nor outer is attachment free. The true nature of the five aggregates is pure; the true nature of the eighteen spheres is taint free; not abandoning the twelve fields is attachment free. The wisdom-knowledge that the past has ended is pure; the wisdom-knowledge that the future has no birth is taint free; the wisdom-knowledge that the present abides in the dharma realm is attachment free. Mañjuśrī, purity, freedom from taint, and freedom from attachment are encompassed in one word, quietness. Quietness means inner and outer quietness. Inner and outer quietness is the great quietness [nirvāṇa], which is taught by a great muni [saint].
    “Mañjuśrī, as the open sky is [pure, taint free, and attachment free], so too is bodhi. As bodhi is, so too are dharmas. As dharmas are, so too are all sentient beings. As all sentient beings are, so too are worlds. As worlds are, so too is nirvāṇa. Mañjuśrī, all dharmas are equally in nirvāṇa, which is supreme, boundless, and free from rectification. Thus they are free from rectification because they have always been pure, taint free, and attachment free. Mañjuśrī, in this way a Tathāgata realizes the true reality of all dharmas, elicits great lovingkindness and compassion for sentient beings, and enables them to enter the place that is pure, taint free, and attachment free.

Taking Bodhisattva Actions

    “Mañjuśrī, how does a Bodhisattva take Bodhisattva actions? Mañjuśrī, a Bodhisattva takes Bodhisattva actions without pondering whether dharmas have birth or no birth, death or no death, because [he understands that] all dharmas have always had no birth. Moreover, Mañjuśrī, a Bodhisattva takes Bodhisattva actions without seeing that the past mind is gone, the present mind does not abide, and the future mind has not arrived. Why? Because he has no attachment to past, present, and future. Mañjuśrī, this is how a Bodhisattva takes Bodhisattva actions.
    “Mañjuśrī, a Bodhisattva gives alms in the same way as would a Tathāgata, without any difference. This is how a Bodhisattva takes Bodhisattva actions. Likewise a Bodhisattva observes the precepts, endures adversity, makes energetic progress, does meditation, and develops wisdom in the same way as would a Tathāgata, without any difference. This is how a Bodhisattva takes Bodhisattva actions.
    “Mañjuśrī, a Bodhisattva takes Bodhisattva actions without pondering whether or not form is empty. Why? Because form is by nature empty. Likewise a Bodhisattva takes Bodhisattva actions without pondering whether or not sensory reception, perception, mental processing, or consciousness is empty. Why? Because one’s mind, mental faculty, and consciousness cannot be captured. Mañjuśrī, one should train to realize that all dharmas are empty. If one realizes this, one will not see the birth or death of afflictions. Mañjuśrī, birth and death are false names. In true reality dharmas neither arise nor perish.

Merit Acquired by Upholding This Sūtra

    “Mañjuśrī, suppose that all sentient beings born through the four modes of birth and transmigrating through the six life-paths, whether with or without form, with or without perception, with two, four, multiple, or no feet, become humans. As humans, they activate the bodhi mind and become Bodhisattvas. Each of them makes offerings to Buddhas as numerous as the sands of the Ganges, and to Bodhisattvas, Pratyekabuddhas, and voice-hearers, providing them with food, clothing, bedding, medicine, and pleasure objects, throughout kalpas as numerous as the sands of the Ganges. After a Buddha enters parinirvāṇa, each of them erects a pagoda [stūpa] a hundred yojanas tall, made of the seven treasures. It is surrounded by jeweled railings and hanging jeweled banners, and covered with the Brahma-king Maheśvara’s net of interlaced jewels. Then suppose that a Bodhisattva uses the pure mind to hear this Sūtra of Entering the States of All Buddhas Adorned with Wisdom and, after hearing it, delights in it, accepts it, believes in it, and understands it, or even expounds to others one of its stanzas or phrases. His merit acquired in this way surpasses that acquired by any former Bodhisattva a hundred, a thousand, ten thousand, or a koṭi times, or even beyond calculation or analogy. Why? Because this sūtra extensively expounds the inconceivable, pure, appearance-free, and wondrous dharma body.
    “Mañjuśrī, suppose that Buddha Lands as numerous as the sands of the Ganges are made of Jambūnada gold. Even the trees, flowers, and fruits are made of Jambūnada gold. The trees are adorned with celestial garments and covered with nets of radiant jewels. The palaces are made of the Brahma-king Maheśvara’s jewels, with lightning jewels as their stair steps, and hanging jeweled banners. And suppose that for countless kalpas, every day Bodhisattvas as numerous as the sands of the Ganges use all these things as offerings to Buddhas as numerous the sands of the Ganges. Then suppose that a Bodhisattva mindfully recites this sūtra or expounds one of its phrases. His merit acquired in this way surpasses that acquired by any former Bodhisattva a hundred, a thousand, ten thousand, or a koṭi times, or even beyond calculation or analogy. No other merit can be compared with that acquired by upholding this sūtra.”
    Then the World-Honored One spoke in verse:

If someone accepts and upholds
This sūtra of the wondrous dharma body,
His merits and benefits acquired thereby
Are immeasurable.

Suppose that all sentient beings
Are reborn as humans,
And activate the bodhi mind
To seek all wisdom-knowledge.

And suppose that all these Bodhisattvas
Become great almsgivers,
Making various offerings to
Innumerable Buddhas,
Bodhisattvas, Pratyekabuddhas,
And voice-hearers.

After a Buddha enters parinirvāṇa
Each of these Bodhisattvas erects a pagoda a hundred yojanas tall,
Made of the seven treasures
And adorned with various jewels.

If someone upholds this sūtra
Or recites one of its stanzas or phrases,
His merits acquired thereby surpass those acquired by any former Bodhisattva,
And are immeasurable and boundless.

The reason is that this sūtra
Expounds the appearance-free dharma body.
Therefore, a wise person
Should recite, accept, and uphold it.

The merits and fruits acquired by
Reciting and copying this sūtra
Or offering it flowers and incense
Are inconceivable.
Whoever does so will soon enter his bodhimaṇḍa,
Subjugate māras, and attain true enlightenment.

This sūtra is praised by Buddhas.
It reveals the wondrous dharma body,
Free from appearances and words.
The merits acquired by whoever
Accepts and upholds this sūtra are immeasurable.

    After the Buddha pronounced this sūtra, Mañjuśrī and all other Bodhisattvas, innumerable Pratyekabuddhas and voice-hearers, and all others in the multitude, such as gods, dragons, yakṣas, gandharvas, asuras, garuḍas, kiṁnaras, mahoragas, humans, and nonhumans, having heard the Buddha’s words, rejoiced and carried out His teachings.

Sūtra of Entering the States of All Buddhas Adorned with Wisdom,
Translated from the digital Chinese Canon (T12n0358)


Notes

    1. An Arhat is likened to a great dragon. See “dragon” in the glossary. (Return to text)
    2. As soon as the Buddha attains perfect enlightenment under the bodhi tree, His bodhimaṇḍa changes into a splendid place like a world in the Lotus Flower Store of Oceans of Magnificent Worlds, described in detail in fascicles 8–10 of text 279 (T10n0279), the 80-fascicle Chinese version of the Mahāvaipulya Sūtra of Buddha Adornment (Buddhāvataṁsaka-mahāvaipulya-sūtra). (Return to text)
    3. In each world, the Brahma-king Śikhin rules the gods in the first dhyāna heaven in the form realm, or the Brahma realm, where all gods are referred to as Brahma gods. The god-king Śakra rules the gods in the second desire heaven. The four god-kings rule the gods in the first desire heaven and protect the human world. (Return to text)
    4. Jambūnada gold is gold from the river that flows through the jambū (rose apple) grove. It is renowned for its supreme quality and red-golden color with a purple tinge. (Return to text)
    5. Śākyamuni Buddha is called the saint of the Śākya clan. (Return to text)
    6. Tathāgata, the Thus-Come One, is the first of the ten epithets of a Buddha. It signifies true suchness [bhūta-tathātā], or the dharma body [dharmakāya]. See “dharma body” defined in the glossary’s “three bodies of a Buddha.” (Return to text)
    7. See “five desires” in the glossary. (Return to text)
    8. See “dharma body” defined in the glossary’s “three bodies of a Buddha.” (Return to text)
    9. That shore is the shore of nirvāṇa, opposite this shore of saṁsāra. (Return to text)
    10. A lowly vehicle refers to the Human Vehicle or the God Vehicle, used by those who wish to be reborn as a human or a god. (Return to text)
    11. See “eighteen spheres” in the glossary. (Return to text)
    12. Text 358 (T12n0358) uses “indestructible,” while texts 357 (T12n0357) and 359 (T12n0359) use “differentiation-free.” Here, the latter is used. Texts 357, 358, and 359 are the three Chinese versions of this sūtra. Text 357 in 2 fascicles was translated from Sanskrit in 501 in the Northern Wei Dynasty (386–534) by Dharmaruci (曇摩流支, 5th–6th centuries) from southern India. Text 358 in one fascicle was translated from Sanskrit in the Southern Liang Dynasty (502–57) by Saṅghapāla (僧伽婆羅, 460–524) from Funan, present-day Cambodia. Text 359 in 5 fascicles was translated from Sanskrit in the Northern Song Dynasty (960–1127) by Dharmapāla (法護, 963–1058) from northern India. (Return to text)
    13. This passage addresses the emptiness of one’s “twelve fields,” a term in the glossary. (Return to text)
    14. This passage addresses the emptiness of one’s “eighteen spheres,” a term in the glossary. (Return to text)
    15. See “no action” in the glossary’s Three Liberation Doors. (Return to text)
    16. Grasping [upādāna, 取] desire objects is the ninth of the glossary’s Twelve Links of Dependent Arising, which generates the karmic force for being. In other contexts, upādāna means acceptance of worldly views, wrong precepts, or theories that claim that one has an autonomous self. (Return to text)
    17. For details of the four flows, see “four torrential flows” in the glossary. (Return to text)
    18. Text 358 (T12n0358) states that “bodhi is pure, taint free, and affliction free.” In text 357 (T12n0357), the third adjective is “spotless”; in text 359 (T12n0359), the third adjective is “attachment free.” Here, “attachment free” is used because the meaning of “affliction free” or “spotless” overlaps that of “taint free.” (Return to text)


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