Om! Salutation to the Triple Treasure! Salutation to all the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas! Here is carefully written down the Laṅkāvatāra Sūtra in which the Lord of the Dharma discourses on the egolessness of all things.
Said Mahāmati: Blessed One, if there is the self-nature of things such as is ascertained by the wise, by their wise knowledge, by their wise insight, by their wise transcendental vision which is neither human nor celestial vision, and if there is no such self-nature as is discriminated by the ignorant and simple-minded, how, Blessed One, can the ignorant and simple-minded abandon their discriminations, as they have no way to recognise the presence of an exalted reality? For they are neither perverted nor unperverted, Blessed One, [that is, they are what they are]. Why? Because they are unable to have an insight into the self-nature of exalted reality, because they see the course of things in the aspect of being and non-being.
And Blessed One, the reality cannot be such as is discriminated even by the wise, because the aspect of reality as it is in itself cannot be an object [of discrimination by anybody]; because, Blessed One, what appears to the wise as the self-nature of reality is no more than the creation of their imagination, which is predicable with the notion of causation and no-causation; that is, they also cherish in their own way the idea of a being with self-nature. [And they would say] that this is a realm that belongs to somebody else and is not that [of the ignorant]. This is committing the fault of non-finality, for thus what constitutes the self-nature of reality becomes impossible to know. Blessed One, what is derived from the imagination cannot be the self-nature of reality. How is it that while things are said to exist owing to the imagination [or discrimination], they are said again not to be such as are imagined?
Blessed One, [it is true that] according to the way the imagination is carried on, the aspect of self-nature conceived may vary; for when the cause is not alike, the notion of reality that thus comes to be cherished may not be alike. But according to you, Blessed One, while the imagination is kept on going with the wise as well as with the ignorant, the latter alone fail to see reality as it is; and yet you tell us that the reason why it is said that things are not really such as are imagined by the imagination is to make all beings discard their imagination. Now, Blessed One, is it that in order to have all beings free from the notion of being [which is realism] and of non-being [which is nihilism], you in turn make them cherish a realistic view of existence by telling them to uphold the idea of the self-nature of reality, whereby they are led to cling to the realm of noble wisdom? Why do you deny the truth of solitude by teaching the doctrine of reality whose self-nature is [according to you] noble wisdom?
Said the Blessed One: Mahāmati, it is not true that I deny truth of solitude, nor that I fall into a realistic view by upholding the doctrine of noble self-existing reality. But in order to save all beings from becoming frightened, who are addicted from beginningless past to the notion of self-nature, it is told them that there is truth of solitude, after making them realise by means of noble wisdom that reality in its self-nature is made the subject of attachment [by the ignorant]. Mahāmati, the doctrine of self-nature is not taught by me.
But, Mahāmati, those who have realised by themselves truth of solitude as it really is and are abiding in it, will see that [this existence of] error has no form; and thereby knowing that what is seen is nothing but the Mind itself, they are kept away from [dualistically] viewing an external world under the aspect of being and non-being; they are stamped well with the stamp of suchness which is gained by the triple emancipation; they will have an intuition into the self-nature of all things of the wisdom which is acquired within themselves, and thus get away from such ideas of reality as to lead themselves to realism and nihilism.
223. Māyā, Citta (mind), intelligence, tranquillity, the dualism of being and non-being—where are these teachings? for whom? whence? wherefore? and of what signification? Pray tell me.
224. I teach such things as Māyā, being and non-being, etc., to those who are confused in the teaching of Mind-only; when birth and death are linked together [as one], qualified and qualifying are removed.
225. Another name for Manas is discrimination (vikalpa), and it goes along with the five Vijñānas; mind seeds (cittabīja) take their rise in the way images [appear in a mirror] or [waves roll on] the ocean-waters.
226. When the Citta, Manas, Vijñāna cease to rise, then there is the attainment of the will-body and of the Buddha-stage.
227. Causation, the Dhātus, Skandhas, and the self-nature of all things, thought-construction, a personal soul, and mind—they are all like a dream, like a hair-net.
228. Seeing the world as like Māyā and a dream, one abides with the truth; the truth, indeed, is free from individual marks, removed from speculative reasoning.
229. The inner realisation attained by the wise always abides in a state of no-memory; it leads the world to the truth as it is not confused with speculative reasoning.
230. When all false speculation subsides, error no more rises; as long as there is discriminative knowledge (Jñāna), error keeps on rising.
231. The world is empty and has no self-nature; to talk of permanency and impermanency is the view maintained by followers of birth and not by those of no-birth.
232. They imagine the world to be of oneness and otherness, of bothness [and not-bothness], and [to have risen] from Isvara, or spontaneously, or from time, or from a supreme spirit, or other causal agency.
The Lankavatara Sutra
“Lord of Laṅkā, the differentiation of dharma and adharma comes from discrimination. Lord of Laṅkā, what are dharmas? That is, they are discriminated by the discriminations cherished by the philosophers, Śrāvakas, Pratyekabuddhas, and ignorant people. They think that the dharmas headed by quality and substance are produced by causes—[these are the notions] to be abandoned. Such are not to be regarded [as real] because they are appearances (lakshaṇa). It comes from one’s clinging [to appearances] that the manifestations of his own Mind are regarded as reality (dharmatā). Such things as jars, etc., are products of discrimination conceived by the ignorant, they exist not; their substances are not attainable. The viewing of things from this viewpoint is known as their abandonment.
“What, then, are adharmas? Lord of Laṅkā, [dharmas] are unattainable as to their selfhood, they are not appearances born of discrimination, they are above causality; there is in them no such [dualistic] happening as is seen as reality and non-reality. This is known as the abandoning of dharmas. What again is meant by the unattainability of dharmas? That is, it is like horns of a hare, or an ass, or a camel, or a horse, or a child conceived by a barren woman. They are dharmas the nature of which is unattainable; they are not to be thought [as real] because they are appearances. They are only talked About in popular parlance if they have any sense at all; they are not to be adhered to as in the case of jars, etc. As these [unrealities] are to be abandoned as not comprehensible by the mind (vijñāna), so are things (bhāva) of discrimination also to be abandoned. This is called the abandoning of dharmas and adharmas. Lord of Laṅkā, your question as to the way of abandoning dharmas and adharmas is hereby answered.
“Lord of Laṅkā, thou sayest again that thou hast asked [this question] of the Tathagatas of the past who were Arhats and Fully-Enlightened Ones and that it was solved by them. Lord of Laṅkā, that which is spoken of as the past belongs to discrimination; as the past is thus a discriminated [idea], even so are the [ideas] of the future and the present. Because of reality (dharmatā) the Tathagatas do not discriminate, they go beyond discrimination and futile reasoning, they do not follow the individuation-aspect of forms (rūpa) except when [reality] is disclosed for the edification of the unknowing and for the sake of their happiness. It is by transcendental wisdom (prajñā) that the Tathagata performs deeds transcending forms (animittacāra); therefore, what constitutes the Tathagatas in essence as well as in body is wisdom (jñāna). They do not discriminate, nor are they discriminated. Wherefore do they not discriminate the Manas? Because discrimination is of the self, of soul, of personality. How do they not discriminate? The Manovijñāna is meant for the objective world where causality prevails as regards forms, appearances, conditions, and figures. Therefore, discrimination and non-discrimination must be transcended.
“Lord of Laṅkā, beings are appearances, they are like figures painted on the wall, they have no sensibility [or consciousness]. Lord of Laṅkā, all that is in the world is devoid of work and action because all things have no reality, and there is nothing heard, nothing hearing. Lord of Laṅkā, all that is in the world is like an image magically transformed. This is not comprehended by the philosophers and the ignorant. Lord of Laṅkā, he who thus sees things, is the one who sees truthfully. Those who see things otherwise walk in discrimination; as they depend on discrimination, they cling to dualism. It is like seeing one’s own image reflected in a mirror, or one’s own shadow in the water, or in the moonlight, or seeing one’s shadow in the house, or hearing an echo in the valley. People grasping their own shadows of discrimination uphold the discrimination of dharma and adharma and, failing to carry out the abandonment of the dualism, they go on discriminating and never attain tranquillity, By tranquillity is meant oneness (ekāgra), and oneness gives birth to the highest Samādhi, which is gained by entering into the womb of Tathagatahood, which is the realm of noble wisdom realised in one’s inmost self.”
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