"Shugchang" <> Date:  Thu Aug 16, 2001 7:53 pm Subject:  Vajra point VII: Buddha-activity

    The example involving the lapis lazuli ground is interesting and multi- leveled. This is apparently derived from a tradition of 'scrying' or gem gazing for oracular and visionary purposes, the clarity of the vision being equivalent to the mind purified of obstructions. In such a crystal/mind, the exotic abode of Lord Indra was believed to become visible. Once mortals see the various splendors of his realm, they are motivated to practice virtuous deeds and pray to attain such a rebirth for themselves. The text notes that it is of no import that these sentient beings do not have full knowledge of the absolute mode of existence (as emptiness-awareness) of this appearance or even that such experiences are impermanent; beings are effectively inspired by these visions to practice with the aim of attaining rebirth in the realm of the gods.

    It is underscored that the extraordinary qualities of buddha activity are not accompanied by any self-conscious intention to benefit other but manifest as spontaneously as reflections in a mirror.

    The pre-requisite of purification for this sublime perception suggests another dimension of activity in the analogy.

    The vision of Indra's abode serving as a contributory cause attracting others to the practice of virtue corresponds to the activity of the bodhisattva. Without clinging to artifice for recognition or leaning too far forward, the pure energy of true sangha is naturally attractive and inspiring to other sentient beings, so that they are magnetized toward a life of graceful discipline wherein the cultivation of loving- kindness and true wisdom are uppermost.

"Shugchang" <> Date:  Wed Aug 22, 2001 8:40 pm Subject:  gold and milk

    Kasyapa said to the Buddha: "O World-honoured One! Is there any self in the twenty-five existences or not?"

    The Buddha said: "O good man! 'Self' means 'tathagatagarbha.' Every being has the Buddha Nature. This is self. Such a self is, since the very beginning, under cover of innumerable illusions. That is why man cannot see it. O good man! There is here a poor woman. She has in her house the true gold hidden. But none of the people of the house, big or small, know it. But there is a stranger, who, by expediency, speaks to the poor woman: 'I shall employ you. You now weed the land!' The woman answers: 'I cannot do it now. If you let my son see where the gold is hidden, I will soon work for you.' The man says, 'I know the way. I will show it to your son.' The woman says again: 'No people of my house, big or small, know. How can you?' The man says: 'I will now make it clear.' The woman says again: 'I desire to see. Pray let me.' The man digs out the gold that lay hidden. The woman sees it, is glad, and begins to respect the person. O good man! The same is the case with the Buddha Nature that man has. Nobody can see it. This is as in the case of the gold the poor woman possessed and yet could not see. O good man! I now let persons see the Buddha Nature that they possess, which is overspread by illusions. This is as in the case of the poor woman who cannot see the gold, even possessing it. The Tathagata now shows all beings the storehouse of enlightenment, which is the so-called Buddha Nature. If all beings see this, they are glad and will take refuge in the Tathagata. The good expediency is the Tathagata and the poor woman is all the innumerable beings, and the cask of true gold is the Buddha Nature.

    "Also, next, O good man! For example, a woman has a child, who, yet very young, is taken by illness. Worried by this, the woman seeks a good doctor. A good doctor comes and mixes up three medicines, which are the butter, milk and rock candy. This he gives her, to have it taken by the child. Then, he says to the woman: 'When the child has taken the medicine, do not give milk to the child for some time. When the medicine has worked out its way, you, then, may give milk.' Then, the woman applies a bitter thing to the nipple and says to the child: 'Do not touch it. The nipple is poisoned.' The child is dying for the milk and wants to have it. Hearing of poison, it runs away. When the medicine has done the work, the mother washes the nipple, calls the child in, and gives it. The hungry child, having heard of poison, does not come to it. The mother says again: 'Just to give you the medicine, I put on it poison. As you have already taken the medicine, I have washed it off. Come! Have the nipple. It is no more bitter.' Hearing this, the child slowly comes back and takes it. O good man! The same is the case with the Tathagata. To save beings, he gives them the law of no-self. Having thus practiced the Way, the beings make away with the mind that clings to self and gain nirvana. All this is to make away with the wrong concept of the people, to show them the way and make them stand above, to show them that they stick to self, that what goes in the world is all false and not true, and make then practice no-self and purify their own self. This is as in the case of the woman who puts bitter things to the nipple for love of the child. The same is the case of the Tathagata. For practicing the void, I say that all do not have the self. This is as in case of the woman who washed the nipple, calling for the child to partake of the milk. The same is the case with me too. I speak of the tathagatagarbha. Because of the, the bhikshus do not entertain fear. The same goes with the child which hears its mother, slowly comes back, and take the milk. The same is the case with the bhikshus. They should well know that the Tathagata hides nothing."

-from Chapter 12 On the Nature of Tathagata The Mahaparinirvana Sutra