Detecting Good or Evil Karma and Requital Sutra

Discuss and learn about the traditional Mahayana scriptures, without assuming that any one school ‘owns’ the only correct interpretation.
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Nicholas Weeks
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Detecting Good or Evil Karma and Requital Sutra

Post by Nicholas Weeks » Sun Jul 22, 2018 4:11 pm

Rulu's translation of only the second fascicle begins like this:
At that time Firm Pure Faith Bodhisattva-Mahāsattva asked Earth Store Bodhisattva-Mahāsattva, “Please indicate a viable way for the sake of those who seek the Mahāyāna.”
Earth Store Bodhisattva-Mahāsattvas said, “Good man, if there are sentient beings that seek the Mahāyāna, they should first know the initial fundamental karma to do. To know the initial fundamental karma to do means that they need to cultivate faith and understanding by relying upon the one true reality. As their faith and understanding grow in strength, they will quickly develop the Bodhisattva character-type. The one true reality refers to the true mind of sentient beings, which, with inherent purity, without hindrances, has neither birth nor death. Like space, it does not differentiate but accommodates all, and it is equal in and universal to all. With the ultimate one appearance, it is perfect everywhere in worlds in the ten directions, non-dual and differentiation free, neither changing nor varying, neither increasing nor decreasing. For all sentient beings, voice-hearers, Pratyekabuddhas, Bodhisattvas, and Buddhas, the true mind is the same, which is true suchness, silent and never tainted, with neither birth nor death.
“Why? Because the mind that differentiates is like illusions without any reality. For example, mental functions, such as consciousness, sensory reception, perception, mental processing, memory, deliberation, and cognition, are neither blue nor yellow, neither red nor white, nor of mixed colors. They are neither long nor short, neither square nor round, neither large nor small. One can search for the shape of the mind throughout all worlds in the ten directions, but can never capture it under a classification. However, [the mind of] every sentient being, conditioned by ignorance and delusion, manifests false objects and clings to them through thinking and memory. This mind does not know itself but falsely claims its own existence. Although thoughts of a self and its belongings arise, there is no truth to them because the false mind is not an entity that can be seen. If there is no perception that differentiates, then there cannot be appearances differentiated into objects in space and time, such as the ten directions and the past, present, and future. Dharmas do not have independent existence, and they exist only as differentiations made by the false mind, which thinks of all objects as existent and distinct, identifying this as self and that as others.
From page 108 of her book Teachings of the Buddha; also online at Mahayana Sutras site.
Glorious one, creator of all goodness, Mañjuśrī, his glorious eminence!
Manjushri-namasamgiti

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Nicholas Weeks
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Re: Detecting Good or Evil Karma and Requital Sutra

Post by Nicholas Weeks » Mon Jul 23, 2018 1:45 pm

Because dharmas do not exist independently, they have no inherent differences. However, the false mind neither knows nor understands this. Having no substance within, it falsely perceives and recognizes that various dharmas exist outside. It identifies existence and nonexistence, this and that, true and false, good and evil, producing innumerable, boundless perceptions of dharmas. We should know this: All dharmas are born from perception constructed by the false mind. Furthermore, this false mind has no self-essence, and its false existence depends on its objects. Because it can think of and perceive objects, it is called the mind. Although this false mind and its objects depend upon each other and arise simultaneously, the false mind is the originator of objects. Why? Because the false mind does not understand the one appearance of the dharma realm, we say that this is the ignorance of one’s mind. Relying on the force of ignorance, it falsely manifests objects. If ignorance ends, then one’s attachment to the manifestation of objects will end. We should not say, out of lack of understanding, that objects have ignorance or that they cause ignorance. Evidently, objects do not cause ignorance to arise in Buddhas. The ignorance of one’s mind will not end by annihilating objects because objects have no independent existence and their dharma nature has always been in nirvāṇa. For this reason, we say that all dharmas arise from one’s mind. Know that dharmas should be called the mind because they in essence are not distinct, but are all encompassed in one’s mind. Furthermore, dharmas arise as appearances perceived by one’s mind, and manifest as birth and death together with one’s perception, never staying. All objects of mind move along with mind, continuing thought after thought. Their seeming stay and existence last temporarily.
The meaning of mind comprises two aspects. What are these two? One is internal and the other external. The internal aspect of mind is divided into two. What are these two? One is true and other false. The essence of the true mind is changeless, pure, perfect, unobstructed, unimpeded, subtle, invisible, free from places, and eternally indestructible, relying on which all dharmas are constructed and developed [through causes and conditions]. By contrast, the false mind produces thoughts, perceiving, distinguishing, pondering, and recollecting objects. Although it can continuously construct [perception of] various kinds of objects, it is false, not true.
The external aspect of mind refers to dharmas, or various kinds of objects, which appear according to one’s thinking. This is the distinction between the internal and external aspects of mind. Therefore, we should know that the internal false perceptions are the cause and function, and the external false appearances are the results and projections. Considering these meanings, I say that all dharmas are called the mind. Furthermore, the external appearances of one’s mind are like objects seen in a dream, which are produced by the thinking mind and are not real external objects. Indeed, all objects perceived are dreams of one’s ignorant consciousness, fabricated by one’s thinking. Moreover, because the internal false mind does not stay, moving thought after thought, the objects it perceives also do not stay, moving thought after thought. Therefore, various kinds of dharmas arise because the false mind arises, and they cease because the false mind ceases. Such appearances of birth and death cannot be captured because they are in name only. As one’s mind does not go to the objects, the objects do not come to one’s mind, like reflections in a mirror, neither coming nor going.
Therefore, the appearance of birth and death of all dharmas cannot be captured because dharmas have no self-essence. They have always been empty, with neither birth nor death. Because dharmas in true reality have neither birth nor death, they have no differentiable appearances as objects. They are in the one flavor of silence and stillness, called true suchness, the highest truth, the inherent pure mind. One’s inherent pure mind is profound and perfect because it does not distinguish objects. Because it does not distinguish, it is universal. As it is universal, all dharmas rely on it to establish themselves. Furthermore, this mind is called the Tathāgata store, which encompasses immeasurable, boundless, inconceivable, affliction-free, pure, meritorious karmas.
Glorious one, creator of all goodness, Mañjuśrī, his glorious eminence!
Manjushri-namasamgiti

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