Term for 'Mind' in Awakening of Faith

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Term for 'Mind' in Awakening of Faith

Post by Wayfarer » Sat Mar 09, 2019 1:19 am

I am reading the BDK edition of the Awakening of Faith in the Mahayana.

At the top of P. 42, we read the following:
The principle is ‘‘the Mind of the sentient being.” This Mind includes in itself all states of being of the phenomenal world and the transcendental world. On the basis of this Mind, the meanings of the Mahayana may be unfolded. Why? Because the absolute aspect of this Mind represents the essence (svabhåva) of the Mahayana; and the phenomenal aspect of this Mind indicates the essence, attributes (laksana) and influences (kriyå) of the Mahayana itself.
I am interested in what character or word that has been translated as "Mind" in this passage.
'Only practice with no gaining idea' ~ Suzuki Roshi

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Re: Term for 'Mind' in Awakening of Faith

Post by Caoimhghín » Sat Mar 09, 2019 3:46 am

Do you have the Taishō citation? My guess is "heart" 心.
歸命本覺心法身常住妙法心蓮臺本來莊嚴三身徳三十七尊住心
城遠離因果法然具普門塵數諸三昧無邊徳海本圓滿還我頂禮心諸佛

In reverence for the root gnosis of the heart, the dharmakāya,
for the ever present good law of the heart, the lotus terrace,
for the inborn adornment of the trikāya, the thirty-seven sages dwelling in the heart,
for that which is removed from seed and fruit, the upright key to the universal gate,
for all boundless concentrations, the sea of virtue, the root perfection,
I prostrate, bowing to the hearts of all Buddhas.

胎藏金剛菩提心義略問答鈔, Treatise on the teaching of the gnostic heart of the womb and the diamond, T2397.1.470c5-8

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Re: Term for 'Mind' in Awakening of Faith

Post by Caoimhghín » Sat Mar 09, 2019 4:19 am

I see the PDF has Taishō citations, but are you sure that is from page 42? I can't find it.

Edit: I think it's on page 7, I'm looking at the Chinese now but won't be near a computer for an hour plus. Someone else will likely beat me to it, but my guess is "heart".
歸命本覺心法身常住妙法心蓮臺本來莊嚴三身徳三十七尊住心
城遠離因果法然具普門塵數諸三昧無邊徳海本圓滿還我頂禮心諸佛

In reverence for the root gnosis of the heart, the dharmakāya,
for the ever present good law of the heart, the lotus terrace,
for the inborn adornment of the trikāya, the thirty-seven sages dwelling in the heart,
for that which is removed from seed and fruit, the upright key to the universal gate,
for all boundless concentrations, the sea of virtue, the root perfection,
I prostrate, bowing to the hearts of all Buddhas.

胎藏金剛菩提心義略問答鈔, Treatise on the teaching of the gnostic heart of the womb and the diamond, T2397.1.470c5-8

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Re: Term for 'Mind' in Awakening of Faith

Post by Wayfarer » Sat Mar 09, 2019 4:55 am

Yes, sorry - I got the page wrong, I glanced at the page number shown in the PDF file header (which appears as 42/148 although in the phrase I quoted it's actually 41). It is actually on the page marked as '7' in the print form.

And I think your guess is correct - I've noticed previously that the Sanskrit 'cit' or 'citta' is translated as both 'mind' and 'heart' in some Thai Buddhist meditation manuals. The double meaning is significant!
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Re: Term for 'Mind' in Awakening of Faith

Post by Astus » Sat Mar 09, 2019 9:46 am

Wayfarer wrote:
Sat Mar 09, 2019 1:19 am
The principle is ‘‘the Mind of the sentient being.” This Mind includes in itself all states of being of the phenomenal world and the transcendental world. On the basis of this Mind, the meanings of the Mahayana may be unfolded. Why? Because the absolute aspect of this Mind represents the essence (svabhåva) of the Mahayana; and the phenomenal aspect of this Mind indicates the essence, attributes (laksana) and influences (kriyå) of the Mahayana itself.
I am interested in what character or word that has been translated as "Mind" in this passage.


T1666, c21-25:
所言法者,謂眾生心,是心則攝一切世間法、出世間法。依於此心顯示摩訶衍義。何以故?是心真如相,即示摩訶衍體故;是心生滅因緣相,能示摩訶衍自體相用故。

"The word "principle" means the mind of sentient beings. This mind embraces all dharmas in the mundane and supramundane worlds. On the basis of this mind the meaning of Mahayana is revealed. Why? Because the suchness aspect of this mind shows the essence of Mahayana, (while) the causal and conditional aspect of the arising and ceasing of this mind can show the attributes and operation of Mahayana's essence itself."
(tr Sung-Bae Park, in Wonhyo's Commentaries on the "Awakening of Faith in Mahayana.", PhD dissertation, 1979, p 166)
1 Myriad dharmas are only mind.
Mind is unobtainable.
What is there to seek?

2 If the Buddha-Nature is seen,
there will be no seeing of a nature in any thing.

3 Neither cultivation nor seated meditation —
this is the pure Chan of Tathagata.

4 With sudden enlightenment to Tathagata Chan,
the six paramitas and myriad means
are complete within that essence.


1 Huangbo, T2012Ap381c1 2 Nirvana Sutra, T374p521b3; tr. Yamamoto 3 Mazu, X1321p3b23; tr. J. Jia 4 Yongjia, T2014p395c14; tr. from "The Sword of Wisdom"

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Re: Term for 'Mind' in Awakening of Faith

Post by Wayfarer » Sat Mar 09, 2019 9:49 am

Thank you, splendid translation.

I'm convening a Mahayana Study group at Buddhist Library, first meeting Sunday next, this is the text we're studying.

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Re: Term for 'Mind' in Awakening of Faith

Post by Simon E. » Sat Mar 09, 2019 10:40 am

Astus wrote:
Sat Mar 09, 2019 9:46 am
Wayfarer wrote:
Sat Mar 09, 2019 1:19 am
The principle is ‘‘the Mind of the sentient being.” This Mind includes in itself all states of being of the phenomenal world and the transcendental world. On the basis of this Mind, the meanings of the Mahayana may be unfolded. Why? Because the absolute aspect of this Mind represents the essence (svabhåva) of the Mahayana; and the phenomenal aspect of this Mind indicates the essence, attributes (laksana) and influences (kriyå) of the Mahayana itself.
I am interested in what character or word that has been translated as "Mind" in this passage.


T1666, c21-25:
所言法者,謂眾生心,是心則攝一切世間法、出世間法。依於此心顯示摩訶衍義。何以故?是心真如相,即示摩訶衍體故;是心生滅因緣相,能示摩訶衍自體相用故。

"The word "principle" means the mind of sentient beings. This mind embraces all dharmas in the mundane and supramundane worlds. On the basis of this mind the meaning of Mahayana is revealed. Why? Because the suchness aspect of this mind shows the essence of Mahayana, (while) the causal and conditional aspect of the arising and ceasing of this mind can show the attributes and operation of Mahayana's essence itself."
(tr Sung-Bae Park, in Wonhyo's Commentaries on the "Awakening of Faith in Mahayana.", PhD dissertation, 1979, p 166)
See, I think that raises more questions than answers.
It seems to posit an agreed definition of 'mind' shared by all readers a priori. And has been discussed many times on this and other Buddhist forums such an assumption does not bear much analysis.
I know nothing. This is not false modesty.

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Re: Term for 'Mind' in Awakening of Faith

Post by Wayfarer » Sat Mar 09, 2019 10:44 am

Just the kind of question I would like to see raised at study group - pity you’re not in Sydney!
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Re: Term for 'Mind' in Awakening of Faith

Post by Astus » Sat Mar 09, 2019 11:03 am

Simon E. wrote:
Sat Mar 09, 2019 10:40 am
It seems to posit an agreed definition of 'mind' shared by all readers a priori.
What mind is is one of the main topics of the treatise.
1 Myriad dharmas are only mind.
Mind is unobtainable.
What is there to seek?

2 If the Buddha-Nature is seen,
there will be no seeing of a nature in any thing.

3 Neither cultivation nor seated meditation —
this is the pure Chan of Tathagata.

4 With sudden enlightenment to Tathagata Chan,
the six paramitas and myriad means
are complete within that essence.


1 Huangbo, T2012Ap381c1 2 Nirvana Sutra, T374p521b3; tr. Yamamoto 3 Mazu, X1321p3b23; tr. J. Jia 4 Yongjia, T2014p395c14; tr. from "The Sword of Wisdom"

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Re: Term for 'Mind' in Awakening of Faith

Post by Wayfarer » Sat Mar 09, 2019 11:49 am

There’s an interesting title, How Buddhism Aquired a Soul on the way to China (learned of it via this forum!) It in my uni library, might try and get hold of it. Another interesting facet to this particular text is the translation of ‘Mind’ as both ‘God’ and ‘World-soul’ by some early Christian Sinologists, which makes the text seem almost Christian Platonist in their reading.
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Re: Term for 'Mind' in Awakening of Faith

Post by Wayfarer » Sat Mar 09, 2019 12:01 pm

(I moved this topic from Sutra Studies to Academic, as it’s not a Sutra but a Shastra.)
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Re: Term for 'Mind' in Awakening of Faith

Post by Simon E. » Sat Mar 09, 2019 12:15 pm

Astus wrote:
Sat Mar 09, 2019 11:03 am
Simon E. wrote:
Sat Mar 09, 2019 10:40 am
It seems to posit an agreed definition of 'mind' shared by all readers a priori.
What mind is is one of the main topics of the treatise.
:namaste:
I know nothing. This is not false modesty.

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Re: Term for 'Mind' in Awakening of Faith

Post by jake » Sat Mar 09, 2019 3:00 pm

FWIW, the translator, Yoshito Hakeda, does try to provide some background on the key concept of Mind for this work.
Hakeda wrote:In the author’s system of thought, the all-inclusive reality, the
unconditional absolute, is called suchness. When it engages the realms
of being, it is expressed in terms of Mind, i.e., One Mind, the Mind
of sentient being, the essential nature of Mind, etc. The Mind, therefore,
represents the absolute as it is expressed in the temporal order.
The Mind necessarily contains within itself two orders or aspects—
the transcendental and the phenomenal, the universal and the particular,
the infinite and the finite, the static and the dynamic, the
sacred and the profane, the absolute and the relative, and so forth.
The absolute order, therefore, does not exist apart from the relative
order; rather, they differ epistemologically but not ontologically. (Hakeda, Yoshito. 2005 (reprint). The Awakening of Faith. pg. xxix)
Also, if helpful, BDK now allows free downloads all their books (or nearly all). Including their reprint of the above. Available here: https://www.bdkamerica.org/system/files ... h_2005.pdf

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Re: Term for 'Mind' in Awakening of Faith

Post by Nicholas Weeks » Mon Mar 18, 2019 8:50 pm

It is an expensive book but if you can find it, you will appreciate Fa-Tsang's commentary. Here is an outline of the book, which mentions title & translator:
https://info.stiltij.nl/publiek/vertaal ... utline.pdf

Also the old DT Suzuki version from a differing Chinese translation is still in print.
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Re: Term for 'Mind' in Awakening of Faith

Post by Wayfarer » Tue Mar 19, 2019 12:48 am

Thanks. I am working with the Yoshito S. Hakedas translation which is posted on the Zensite. It's a very deep study, this shastra.
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Re: Term for 'Mind' in Awakening of Faith

Post by Sentient Light » Thu Mar 21, 2019 9:39 pm

Wayfarer wrote:
Sat Mar 09, 2019 4:55 am
And I think your guess is correct - I've noticed previously that the Sanskrit 'cit' or 'citta' is translated as both 'mind' and 'heart' in some Thai Buddhist meditation manuals. The double meaning is significant!
In both Vietnamese and Chinese, there is no word for "heart" in the western sense but the word for "mind." The distinction does exist in Sanskrit however, so I wouldn't read too much into it.

I do think it is significant we have the same word for both ideas, and I think it provides a lot of depth to contemplation, but it should be noted that the lack of distinction is only specific to the Sinosphere.
:buddha1: Nam mô A di đà Phật :buddha1:
:bow: Nam mô Quan Thế Âm Bồ tát :bow:
:bow: Nam mô Đại Thế Chi Bồ Tát :bow:

:buddha1: Nam mô Bổn sư Thích ca mâu ni Phật :buddha1:
:bow: Nam mô Di lặc Bồ tát :bow:
:bow: Nam mô Địa tạng vương Bồ tát :bow:

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Re: Term for 'Mind' in Awakening of Faith

Post by Caoimhghín » Thu Mar 21, 2019 9:42 pm

Sentient Light wrote:
Thu Mar 21, 2019 9:39 pm
Wayfarer wrote:
Sat Mar 09, 2019 4:55 am
And I think your guess is correct - I've noticed previously that the Sanskrit 'cit' or 'citta' is translated as both 'mind' and 'heart' in some Thai Buddhist meditation manuals. The double meaning is significant!
In both Vietnamese and Chinese, there is no word for "heart" in the western sense but the word for "mind." The distinction does exist in Sanskrit however, so I wouldn't read too much into it.
Isn't 心 a pictogram of a heart? How does 心 relate to 識 with your above comment in mind?
歸命本覺心法身常住妙法心蓮臺本來莊嚴三身徳三十七尊住心
城遠離因果法然具普門塵數諸三昧無邊徳海本圓滿還我頂禮心諸佛

In reverence for the root gnosis of the heart, the dharmakāya,
for the ever present good law of the heart, the lotus terrace,
for the inborn adornment of the trikāya, the thirty-seven sages dwelling in the heart,
for that which is removed from seed and fruit, the upright key to the universal gate,
for all boundless concentrations, the sea of virtue, the root perfection,
I prostrate, bowing to the hearts of all Buddhas.

胎藏金剛菩提心義略問答鈔, Treatise on the teaching of the gnostic heart of the womb and the diamond, T2397.1.470c5-8

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Re: Term for 'Mind' in Awakening of Faith

Post by Sentient Light » Fri Mar 22, 2019 6:29 pm

Coëmgenu wrote:
Thu Mar 21, 2019 9:42 pm

Isn't 心 a pictogram of a heart? How does 心 relate to 識 with your above comment in mind?
So I do not know Chinese. What I know is that the word for heart/mind in Chinese is "xin" and in Vietnamese is "tam."

We have another word for the organ that pumps blood, but this is not what people are literally talking about when they use the word "heart" most of the time. In that specific context, in the context of the "nexus of feeling", we use the word "mind."
:buddha1: Nam mô A di đà Phật :buddha1:
:bow: Nam mô Quan Thế Âm Bồ tát :bow:
:bow: Nam mô Đại Thế Chi Bồ Tát :bow:

:buddha1: Nam mô Bổn sư Thích ca mâu ni Phật :buddha1:
:bow: Nam mô Di lặc Bồ tát :bow:
:bow: Nam mô Địa tạng vương Bồ tát :bow:

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Re: Term for 'Mind' in Awakening of Faith

Post by Nicholas Weeks » Fri Mar 22, 2019 6:44 pm

Here is how Fa-tsang begins his commentary:
The True Mind that is serene and vast is separate from the words and
forms found in the fish nets and hare snares (of deluded conceptualization).
Abstrusely boundless, invisible and inaudible, it is neither the object of that
which knows nor the subject of that which is known. It is neither produced nor
destroyed and is not something affected by the four momentary states.*
Neither coming nor going, none of the three time periods can change it. But, taking
non-abiding as its nature, it flows and branches, rising and falling in accord with (the
arising of) delusion and enlightenment. So, in dependence on causes and
conditions it does arise and is destroyed. Nevertheless, though multitudes of
phenomena repeatedly arise, rousing and popping about, (such activity) has never
yet moved the Mind’s Origin. Still and quiet, empty yet formed, it does not stand
in opposition to karmic results. So, utilizing an unchanging nature it nevertheless
dependently arises so that the pure and the impure are constantly differentiated.
Yet, in not abandoning conditions as Thusness, the sage and the common man
become one. It is just like waves which because they are not different than the
water’s movement, are just the water differentiated into waves. Furthermore,
because the water itself is not different than the stream of flowing waves, it is just
the waves manifest on the water. Because of this, movement and quiescence
interpenetrate, the ultimate and the conventional interfuse, and samsara and
nirvana uniformly pervade one another.
* Four momentary states (四 相): The “four avasthå,” or characteristic
marks of phenomena. Conditioned phenomena are subject to production, abiding,
change, and destruction.
Glorious one, creator of all goodness, Mañjuśrī, his glorious eminence!
Manjushri-namasamgiti

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Re: Term for 'Mind' in Awakening of Faith

Post by tingdzin » Fri Mar 22, 2019 11:26 pm

If you are interested in the development of Buddhist mentational language in Chinese Buddhism, you might read "How Buddhism Acquired a Soul on its way to China" by Jungnok Park. If you are not aware of the problems the Chinese faced in bringing Indian concepts together with Chinese vocabulary, translation issues are difficult.

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