Sūtra 38 (posted 08/2013, updated 2/2014) Book information on Home page
At that time Samantabhadra Bodhisattva told the other Bodhisattvas in the assembly, “Buddha-Sons, a Bodhisattva-Mahāsattva has ten transcendental Powers. What are these ten?
“Buddha-Sons, a Bodhisattva-Mahāsattva, through the first transcendental power, the ability of telepathy, knows the minds of sentient beings in a Three-Thousand Large Thousandfold World and their differences, such as a benevolent mind or a malevolent mind, a broad mind or a narrow mind, a large mind or a small mind, a mind turning toward repeated birth and death or a mind turning away from repeated birth and death; a voice-hearer’s mind, a Pratyekabuddha’s mind, or a Bodhisattva’s mind; a mind that follows a voice-hearer’s ways, a Pratyekabuddha’s ways, or a Bodhisattva’s ways; a god’s mind, a dragon’s mind, a yakṣa’s mind, a gandharva’s mind, an asura’s mind, a garuḍa’s mind, a kiṁnara’s mind, or a mahoraga’s mind; a human mind, a nonhuman mind, a hell dweller’s mind, an animal’s mind, King Yama’s mind, a hungry ghost’s mind, or the mind of a sentient being in difficulties.
“He knows various sentient beings’ minds and their countless differences. As he knows them all in one world, so too he knows them all in 100, 1,000, and 100,000 worlds, and even 100,000 koṭi nayuta worlds. He even knows the minds of all sentient beings in worlds as numerous as the dust particles in an ineffably ineffable number of Buddha Lands. This is called a Bodhisattva-Mahāsattva’s first transcendental power, the ability of telepathy.
“Buddha-Sons, a Bodhisattva-Mahāsattva, through the second transcendental power, the ability of the hindrance-free pure god-eye, sees sentient beings in worlds as numerous as the dust particles in an ineffably ineffable number of Buddha Lands. He sees them all, pure or impure, dying in one place and being reborn in another place, making a good or an evil life-journey, assuming a fortunate or an unfortunate appearance, looking beautiful or ugly. Such innumerable kinds of sentient beings include gods, dragons, yakṣas, gandharvas, asuras, garuḍas, kiṁnaras, and mahoragas; humans, nonhumans, tiny sentient beings, and huge sentient beings; small groups and large groups.
“Using his hindrance-free eye, he clearly sees various sentient beings accumulating karmas, experiencing pain or pleasure, and following their minds, their differentiations, their views, their words, their causes, their conditions, their karmas, and whatever arises. Without error, he clearly sees them all. This is called a Bodhisattva-Mahāsattva’s second transcendental power, the ability of the hindrance-free god-eye.
“Buddha-Sons, a Bodhisattva-Mahāsattva, through the third transcendental power, the ability to recall the past, knows the events in the past lives of himself and all sentient beings in worlds as numerous as the dust particles in an ineffably ineffable number of Buddha Lands, in kalpas as numerous as the dust particles in an ineffably ineffable number of Buddha Lands. He knows their birthplaces, names, family names, clans, food and drink, pain and pleasure. He knows that, without a beginning in time, sentient beings in the Three Realms of Existence have thrived through causes and condition and endlessly transmigrated, life after life. He knows their various kinds, various worlds, various life-paths, various shapes and appearances, various karmic actions, various afflictions, various thoughts, various causes and conditions, and differences in rebirths. He knows all such things.
“He also remembers Buddhas as numerous as the dust particles in a Buddha Land, in worlds as numerous as the dust particles in a Buddha Land, in kalpas as numerous as the dust particles in a Buddha Land. Each Buddha assumed such and such a name, appeared in such and such a world, [taught in] such and such assemblies, had such and such parents, such and such attendants, and such and such voice-hearer disciples, including two foremost disciples. Each Buddha lived in such and such a city, renounced family life in such and such a way, attained the supreme enlightenment under such and such a bodhi tree, sat in such and such a seat in such and such a place, pronounced such and such sūtras, did such and such Buddha work, gave such and such benefits to sentient beings there, lived out His lifespan there, and entered the nirvāṇa without remnant. After His parinirvāṇa, His Dharma remained in the world for a short or long time. A Bodhisattva-Mahāsattva remembers all such things.
“He also remembers the names of Buddhas as numerous as the dust particles in an ineffably ineffable number of Buddha Lands. Each name was also assumed by Buddhas as numerous as the dust particles in an ineffably ineffable number of Buddha Lands. Each Buddha began with His initial resolve, made vows, trained for bodhi, made offerings to Buddhas, tamed sentient beings, expounded the Dharma in assemblies, lived out His lifespan, displayed transcendental powers, and entered the nirvāṇa without remnant. After His parinirvāṇa, His Dharma remained in the world for a short or long time, and well-adorned memorial pagodas [stūpa] were built, which inspired sentient beings to plant their roots of goodness. He knows all such things. This is called a Bodhisattva-Mahāsattva’s third transcendental power, the ability to know the past.
“Buddha-Sons, a Bodhisattva-Mahāsattva, through the fourth transcendental power, the ability to see the endless future, knows all kalpas of worlds as numerous as the dust particles in an ineffably ineffable number of Buddha Lands. In each kalpa, all sentient beings will die and be reborn life after life. He knows their karmic actions and corresponding requitals, whether good or bad, achieving or not achieving liberation, decisive or indecisive about their paths, definitely walking or not walking the path to bodhi, having roots of goodness with or without afflictions, completing or not completing their roots of goodness, developing or not developing their roots of goodness, expanding or not expanding their roots of goodness, accumulating or not accumulating their sins. He knows all such things.
“He also knows worlds as numerous as the dust particles in an ineffably ineffable number of Buddha Lands, and kalpas as numerous as the dust particles in an ineffably ineffable number of Buddha Lands, throughout the endless future. In each kalpa, there will be names of Buddhas as numerous as the dust particles in an ineffably ineffable number of Buddha Lands. Each name will also be assumed by Buddha-Tathāgatas as numerous as the dust particles in an ineffably ineffable number of Buddha Lands. Each Tathāgata will begin with His initial resolve, make vows, train for bodhi, make offerings to Buddhas, teach and transform sentient beings, expound the Dharma in assemblies, live out His lifespan, display transcendental powers, and enter the nirvāṇa without remnant. After His parinirvāṇa, His Dharma will remain in the world for a short or long time, and well-adorned memorial pagodas will be built, which will inspire sentient beings to plant their roots of goodness. A Bodhisattva-Mahāsattva knows all such things. This is called a Bodhisattva-Mahāsattva’s fourth transcendental power, the ability to see the endless future.
“Buddha-Sons, a Bodhisattva-Mahāsattva, through the fifth transcendental power, the ability of the hindrance-free pure god-ear, which is perfect, vast, keen, hindrance free, and fully developed, hears or does not hear sounds at will. Buddha-Sons, in the east, there are Buddhas as numerous as the dust particles in an ineffably ineffable number of Buddha Lands. As They pronounce, indicate, reveal, expound, establish, teach, arrange, think of, and differentiate Their profound, vast, and pure teachings, which contain various differences, countless skillful means, and immeasurable purity, he can receive and retain them all. He can receive and retain all the words and meanings [of the teachings] imparted to one person or multitudes according to their languages, intellects, understandings, behaviors, receptiveness, mental states, reliance, and liberation paths. He retains all teachings without forgetting or losing them and without interruption or regress, confusion or bewilderment. Then, without missing a word or phrase, he expounds the Dharma to others, enabling them to understand it. As he receives and retains the teachings of Buddhas in worlds in the east, so too he receives and retains the teachings of Buddhas in worlds in the south, west, and north, in worlds in the four intermediate directions, and in worlds above and below. This is called a Bodhisattva-Mahāsattva’s fifth transcendental power, the ability of the hindrance-free pure god-ear.
“Buddha-Sons, a Bodhisattva-Mahāsattva abides in transcendental powers, which have no self-essence, no action, no reliance, no regress, and no cessation. They are equal, vast, immeasurable, indestructible, growing, arising or not arising, prompted by thoughts, and in accord with actions. He hears the names of Buddhas in extremely faraway worlds, countless worlds, measureless worlds, and even worlds as numerous as the dust particles in an ineffably ineffable number of Buddha Lands. When he hears Their names, he sees himself present in Their places. Their worlds are facing up or down, in various shapes and locations, and have various other differences. Such various worlds in various kalpas are countless, hindrance free, and adorned with countless virtues. Tathāgatas appear in them, display Their spiritual powers, and pronounce Their countless different names.
“When this Bodhisattva hears Their names, without leaving his own place, he sees himself present in Their places, making obeisance with respect, attending Them and making offerings to Them, asking for Bodhisattva teachings, and entering Buddha wisdom. He knows the assemblies in the bodhimaṇḍas in Buddha Lands, and knows the Dharma expounded there with no attachment to it, as he heads for his ultimate enlightenment.
“Thus, for kalpas as numerous as the dust particles in an ineffably ineffable number of Buddha Lands, he travels in the ten directions without abiding anywhere. He visits Buddha Lands, beholds Buddhas, hears the Dharma, and asks for the bodhi path, never stopping or giving up. Without rest or weariness, he trains on the Bodhisattva Way, fulfills his great vows, and never regresses, because he wants the great Tathāgata character-type never to end. This is called a Bodhisattva-Mahāsattva’s sixth transcendental power, the ability to go to all Buddha Lands without motion.
“Buddha-Sons, a Bodhisattva-Mahāsattva, through the seventh transcendental power, the ability to differentiate all sentient beings’ words, knows various words of sentient beings in worlds as numerous as the dust particles in an ineffably ineffable number of Buddha Lands. He knows the words of holy ones, ordinary ones, gods, dragons, yakṣas, gandharvas, asuras, garuḍas, kiṁnaras, mahoragas, humans, nonhumans, and even ineffably ineffable sentient beings. All these beings’ words have distinctive expressions and various differences. He knows them all.
“This Bodhisattva knows the natures and desires of all sentient beings in the world he has entered, and uses words suitable for their natures and desires, enabling all sentient beings to understand and have no doubts. As an analogy, when the sun rises, it shines on all things, enabling those with eyes to see them clearly. Likewise this Bodhisattva-Mahāsattva does so. Using his ability to differentiate words, he goes deep into the cloud of all words, enabling intelligent ones in the world to understand all words. This is called a Bodhisattva-Mahāsattva’s seventh transcendental power, the ability to differentiate words.
“Buddha-Sons, a Bodhisattva-Mahāsattva, through the eighth transcendental power, the ability to manifest countless asaṁkhyeyas of bodies as adornment, knows that all dharmas are apart from physical appearances. They have no differentiated appearances, no diverse appearances, no countless appearances, no distinctive appearances, and no appearances in colors, such as blue, yellow, red, or white. Thus this Bodhisattva enters the dharma realm and can manifest his body in various forms, such as boundless forms, measureless forms, pure forms, majestic forms, universal forms, unequaled forms, universally illuminating forms, superior forms, conforming forms, forms with various appearances, forms without evils, powerful forms, respectable forms, endless forms, forms with mixed wonderful features, stately forms, immeasurable forms, well-guarded forms, forms that can ripen, forms that suit those being taught, hindrance-free forms, lucid forms, taint-free forms, extremely pure forms, robust forms, forms with inconceivable skillful means, indestructible forms, flawless forms, unveiled forms, well-settled forms, wonderfully adorned forms, forms with stately features, forms with excellent characteristics, noble forms, forms in wonderful states, well-polished forms, forms arising from the pure and profound mind, radiant forms, most excellent huge forms, uninterrupted forms, reliance-free forms, peerless forms, forms filled with ineffable Buddha Lands, growing forms, firm and receptive forms, forms with supreme virtues, forms that follow the mind’s pleasure, forms with pure understanding, forms that are an aggregate of wonders, forms that make skillful decisions, impediment-free forms, forms as pure as the sky, pure and delightful forms, forms without afflictions, immeasurable forms, forms with wonderful sights, forms with universal sights, forms displayed according to timing, quiet forms, forms without greed, forms that are true fortune fields, forms that can bring peace, forms without fears, forms free from foolish actions, forms with wisdom and bold valor, forms with unhindered physical appearances, forms that travel everywhere, forms with the reliance-free mind, forms arising from great lovingkindness, forms manifested by great compassion, forms that abide in equality and liberation, forms adorned with merit and wisdom, forms that follow thoughts, forms with countless treasures, forms with the radiance of treasure stores, forms trusted and liked by sentient beings, forms that reveal [sarvajña] the overall wisdom-knowledge, forms with the joyful eye, forms adorned with foremost treasures, forms that abide nowhere, forms displayed at will, forms with various transcendental powers, forms born in the Tathāgata family, forms beyond analogies, forms that pervade the dharma realm, forms visited by multitudes, varying forms, forms for achievement, forms for liberation, forms with awesome deportments that suit those being taught, forms beheld insatiably, forms with various purities, forms that emit countless webs of radiance, forms with various kinds of ineffable radiance, forms with inconceivable fragrance and radiance that surpass those in the Three Realms of Existence, forms with the radiance of the immeasurable sun, forms that display the unequaled moon, forms with countless lovely splendid clouds, forms that produce various clouds of garlands of lotus flowers as adornment, forms that surpass the fragrant flames suffusing the whole world, forms that produce all Tathāgata stores, forms that expound the entire Dharma with ineffable sounds, and forms that complete all universally worthy actions.
“Buddha-Sons, this Bodhisattva-Mahāsattva, even if going deep into the formless realm, can manifest various physical bodies to be seen and thought of by those being taught, and to turn the Dharma wheel to benefit them. According to their timings and appearances, he enables them to get close [to his bodies] and to be enlightened. He displays to them various transcendental powers and various kinds of mastery, and does whatever he can for them.
“Through diligent training a Bodhisattva-Mahāsattva acquires this power to deliver all sentient beings. This is called a Bodhisattva-Mahāsattva’s eighth transcendental power, the ability to manifest countless physical bodies.
“Buddha-Sons, a Bodhisattva-Mahāsattva, through the ninth transcendental power, the ability to know all dharmas, knows that dharmas have neither names nor character-types, neither selves nor [others for] comparison, neither birth nor death, neither motion nor destruction, neither the one appearance nor no appearance. They are neither coming nor going, neither same nor different, neither diverse nor not diverse, neither dual nor non-dual, neither real nor unreal, neither existent nor nonexistent, neither dharmas nor non-dharmas, neither conforming nor nonconforming to the world, neither karmas nor not karmas, neither requitals nor not requitals, neither saṁskṛta nor asaṁskṛta, neither the highest truth [paramārtha] nor not the highest truth, neither bodhi nor not bodhi, neither liberated nor not liberated, neither measurable nor immeasurable, neither worldly nor supra-worldly, neither born nor not born from causes, neither definite nor indefinite, neither achievements nor not achievements, neither exiting nor not exiting, neither differentiated nor not differentiated, neither in accord nor not in accord with principles.
“This Bodhisattva-Mahāsattva neither subscribes to worldly truths nor abides in the highest truth, neither differentiates dharmas nor establishes words. He follows the quiet nature [of dharmas], but does not abandon his vows. He knows dharmas through their meanings, spreads the Dharma cloud, and pours down the Dharma rain. Although he knows that the true reality [of dharmas] is beyond words, he systematically expounds their meanings by skillful means and with endless eloquence. He is skilled in using words to explain dharmas, and his great lovingkindness and compassion are pure. From dharmas beyond words, he can produce words that are in accord with their meanings, without contradiction. To expound the dependent arising of dharmas, he uses words but has no attachment to them. He expounds all dharmas with endless eloquence, establishing them, developing them, indicating them, and differentiating them, in order to fully reveal the nature of dharmas, destroy the web of doubts, and achieve purity. As he draws in sentient beings, he never abandons the true reality of dharmas and never regresses from [his understanding of] the non-duality of dharmas. He always expounds the hindrance-free Dharma Door, using wonderful sounds. According to sentient beings’ minds, he timely pours down the Dharma rain on them all. This is called a Bodhisattva-Mahāsattva’s ninth transcendental power, the ability to know all dharmas.
“Buddha-Sons, a Bodhisattva-Mahāsattva, through the tenth transcendental power, the ability to abide in the Samādhi of the Emptiness of All Dharmas, thought after thought enters this samādhi. However, he neither regresses on the Bodhisattva Way nor abandons Bodhisattva work, nor does he abandon his great lovingkindness and compassion. He practices the pāramitās without rest and observes all Buddha Lands without weariness or boredom. He neither abandons his vow to deliver sentient beings nor interrupts his work of turning the Dharma wheel. He neither ends his karmas of teaching sentient beings nor abandons his actions of making offerings to Buddhas, nor does he abandon the Dharma Door that leads to the realization that dharmas are hindrance free. He abandons neither constantly seeing all Buddhas nor constantly hearing all teachings. Knowing that all dharmas are equal and hindrance free, he masters the entire Buddha Dharma with ease and fulfills all his excellent vows. He knows the differences among all worlds, enters the Buddha character-type, and arrives at the opposite shore. In each and every world, he studies all dharmas and understands that dharmas have no appearance. Although he knows that dharmas have no self-essence and arise through conditions, he explains them using worldly skillful means. Although his mind does not abide in dharmas, he skillfully explains various dharmas to sentient beings according to their capacities and preferences.
“When a Bodhisattva enters this samādhi, at his mind’s pleasure he abides in it for one kalpa, or 100 or 1,000 kalpas; for one koṭi, or 100, 1,000, or 100,000 koṭi kalpas; for one nayuta koṭi, or 100, 1,000, or 100,000 nayuta koṭi kalpas; for countless kalpas, measureless kalpas, or even an ineffably ineffable number of kalpas. When a Bodhisattva abides for kalpas in this Samādhi of Ending All Dharmas, his body does not disintegrate. It neither wastes away nor changes, neither sees nor does not see, neither perishes nor deteriorates, neither fatigues nor relaxes, nor can it be used up.
“Although he does nothing to bring about his existence or nonexistence, he can accomplish Buddha work. This means that he never abandons any sentient beings, but teaches and transforms them at the right times. As he enables them to increase [their understanding of] the entire Buddha Dharma, he completes his Bodhisattva actions. To benefit all sentient beings, he displays transcendental powers without rest. Like light illuminating everything, he quietly abides in this samādhi without motion. This is called a Bodhisattva-Mahāsattva’s tenth transcendental power, the ability to abide in the Samādhi of the Emptiness of All Dharmas.
“Buddha-Sons, how a Bodhisattva-Mahāsattva abides in these ten transcendental powers is inconceivable to all gods, sentient beings, voice-hearers, Pratyekabuddhas, and other Bodhisattvas. This Bodhisattva’s body karmas, voice karmas, and mind karmas are inconceivable. His mastery of samādhi and the scope of his wisdom are inconceivable. Except for Buddhas and other Bodhisattvas who have also acquired these transcendental powers, no one can rightly describe or praise his virtues.
“Buddha-Sons, these are a Bodhisattva-Mahāsattva’s ten transcendental powers. If a Bodhisattva-Mahāsattva abides in them, he acquires all transcendental powers arising from his past, present, and future hindrance-free wisdom-knowledge.”
Then Samantabhadra Bodhisattva told the other Bodhisattvas, “Buddha-Sons, a Bodhisattva-Mahāsattva has ten endurances. If he acquires these ten endurances, he arrives on the ground of all Bodhisattvas’ hindrance-free endurance, and masters the entire Buddha Dharma, hindrance free. What are these ten? They are (1) endurance in hearing the sounds, (2) endurance in accord, (3) endurance in no birth, (4) endurance in illusion-likeness, (5) endurance in mirage-likeness, (6) endurance in dream-likeness, (7) endurance in echo-likeness, (8) endurance in reflection-likeness, (9) endurance in manifestation-likeness, and (10) endurance in sky-likeness. All past, present, and future Buddhas have pronounced, do pronounce, and will pronounce these ten endurances.
“Buddha-Sons, what is meant by a Bodhisattva-Mahāsattva’s endurance in hearing the sounds? It means that when he hears the Dharma pronounced by Buddhas, he is neither shocked nor terrified, nor even anxious. Instead, he deeply believes and understands it, appreciates and follows it, intently remembers it, abides in it, and carries out its teachings. This is called a Bodhisattva-Mahāsattva’s first endurance, the endurance in hearing the sounds.
“Buddha-Sons, what is meant by a Bodhisattva-Mahāsattva’s endurance in accord? It means that he ponders and observes that all dharmas are equal [in their emptiness]. He achieves understanding in accord with the true reality of dharmas, purifies his mind, correctly carries out the teachings, and heads for spiritual attainment. This is called a Bodhisattva-Mahāsattva’s second endurance, the endurance in accord.
“Buddha-Sons, what is meant by a Bodhisattva-Mahāsattva’s endurance in no birth? Buddha-Sons, this Bodhisattva-Mahāsattva sees that dharmas have neither birth nor death. Why not? If there is no birth, there is no death. If there is no death, there is no end. If there is no end, there are no taints. If there are no taints, there is no decay. If there is no decay, there is no motion. Stillness is the ground of nirvāṇa. On the ground of nirvāṇa, one has no desire. If one has no desire, one has no action. If one has no action, one has no wish. If one has no wish, one does not abide [in any dharma]. If one does not abide, there is neither coming nor going. This is called a Bodhisattva-Mahāsattva’s third endurance, the endurance in no birth.
“Buddha-Sons, what is meant by a Bodhisattva-Mahāsattva’s endurance in illusion-likeness? Buddha-Sons, this Bodhisattva-Mahāsattva knows that all dharmas are like illusions because they arise through causes and conditions. Through one dharma, he understands many dharmas; through many dharmas, he understands one dharma. Knowing that dharmas are like illusions, this Bodhisattva fully understands worlds, sentient beings, and the dharma realm. He fully understands the equality of dharmas in the world, the equality of Buddhas appearing in worlds, and the equality of the three time frames [past, present, and future]. He displays various transcendental powers and produces manifestations.
“An illusion is neither an elephant nor a horse, neither a chariot soldier nor a foot soldier, neither a man nor a woman, neither a boy nor a girl, neither a tree nor a leaf, neither a flower nor a fruit, neither earth nor water, neither fire nor wind, neither day nor night, neither the sun nor the moon, neither a half month nor a whole month, neither one year nor a hundred years, neither one kalpa nor many kalpas, neither stable nor unstable, neither pure nor impure, neither same nor different, neither wide nor narrow, neither many nor few, neither measurable nor immeasurable, neither coarse nor fine. An illusion is none of these. Various things are not an illusion; an illusion is not various things. However, an illusion can appear to be various things.
“This Bodhisattva-Mahāsattva observes that all worlds are like illusions, such as the world of karmas, the world of afflictions, the world of Buddha Lands, the world of dharmas, the world of time frames, the world of life-journeys, the world of formations [of worlds], the world of destructions [of worlds], the world of actions, and the world of fabrications. When he observes that all worlds are like illusions, he sees that sentient beings, worlds, and dharmas have neither birth nor death. He sees neither that the past can be differentiated nor that the future has the act of arising, nor that the present can abide in a thought. He neither observes nor grasps at bodhi. He sees neither the appearance nor the parinirvāṇa of a Buddha. He sees neither his abiding in great vows nor his entering the right position, nor does he lose [his understanding of] the equality of dharmas. Although he forms Buddha Lands, he knows that they are no different. Although he enables sentient beings to come to [spiritual] achievement, he knows that they are no different. Although he observes the dharma realm, he abides in dharma nature, which is quiet and still. Although he knows the equality of the three time frames, he does not oppose differentiating them. Although he is composed of the five aggregates and the twelve fields, he forever ends his reliance on them. Although he delivers sentient beings, he knows that, in the equality of the dharma realm, dharmas have no differences. Although he knows that all dharmas are beyond words and cannot be described, he always explains dharmas with endless eloquence. Although he has no attachment to his work of delivering sentient beings, he ceaselessly turns the Dharma wheel to deliver them all with great compassion. Although he explains past causes and conditions, he knows that their nature never changes. This is called a Bodhisattva-Mahāsattva’s fourth endurance, the endurance in illusion-likeness.
“Buddha-Sons, what is meant by a Bodhisattva-Mahāsattva’s endurance in mirage-likeness? Buddha-Sons, this Bodhisattva-Mahāsattva knows that all dharmas in the world are like mirages. A mirage has neither directions nor locations. It is neither inside nor outside, neither existent nor nonexistent, neither unceasing nor ceasing, neither uniform nor multiform, nor formless. It is established by false names. This Bodhisattva observes dharmas as they truly are. He understands them and fully realizes their true reality. This is called a Bodhisattva-Mahāsattva’s fifth endurance, the endurance in mirage-likeness.
“Buddha-Sons, what is meant by a Bodhisattva-Mahāsattva’s endurance in dream-likeness? Buddha-Sons, this Bodhisattva-Mahāsattva knows that all dharmas in the world are like dreams. A dream has neither birth nor death. It is neither impure nor pure, neither of nor not of the world, neither in the desire realm nor in the form realm, nor in the formless realm. Yet it appears.
“This Bodhisattva-Mahāsattva knows that all dharmas in the world are the same as dreams, without any difference, because they have the nature and appearances of a dream. As does a dream, they have no self-essence and, through one’s perceptions, entertain one’s delusions, differentiations, and attachments. They come to nothing, like being awakened from a dream. [He accepts and upholds that all dharmas are like dreams, and neither destroys nor grasps a dream.] This is called a Bodhisattva-Mahāsattva’s sixth endurance, the endurance in dream-likeness.
“Buddha-Sons, what is meant by a Bodhisattva-Mahāsattva’s endurance in echo-likeness? Buddha-Sons, this Bodhisattva-Mahāsattva hears the Dharma expounded by Buddhas, observes dharma nature, trains for spiritual attainment, and arrives at the opposite shore. He knows that all sounds are like echoes, neither coming nor going, yet appearing. Buddha-Sons, this Bodhisattva-Mahāsattva understands that a Tathāgata’s sounds come from neither inside nor outside, nor both. Although he knows that sounds come from neither inside nor outside, nor both, he skillfully speaks like an echo arising through conditions, not contradicting dharma nature, and enables sentient beings to achieve understanding that suits their kind, and to train and learn accordingly. For example, the god-king Śakra’s queen, an asura-daughter, is named Śakrī. As her one tone encompasses a thousand tones, she does not need to think in order to voice such tones.
“Likewise this Bodhisattva-Mahāsattva enters the realm of no differentiation, skillfully voices tones that suit different kinds of sentient beings, and constantly turns the Dharma wheel in countless worlds. He is well able to observe all sentient beings and, using his wide-ranging and far-reaching tongue, expounds the Dharma with hindrance-free sounds that reach everywhere in worlds in the ten directions, enabling the hearers to hear different teachings according to their needs. Although he knows that sounds have no birth, he emits sounds everywhere. Although he knows that there is nothing to expound, he widely expounds teachings in wonderful tones, which equally enable different kinds of sentient beings to achieve different understandings through their intellect. This is called a Bodhisattva-Mahāsattva’s seventh endurance, the endurance in echo-likeness.
“Buddha-Sons, what is meant by a Bodhisattva-Mahāsattva’s endurance in reflection-likeness? Buddha-Sons, this Bodhisattva-Mahāsattva neither is born nor dies in the world. He is neither inside nor outside the world, neither the same as nor different from the world, neither coming nor not coming to the world, neither abiding nor not abiding in the world. He is neither worldly nor supra-worldly, neither real nor unreal. He neither walks nor does not walk in the world, neither trains in Bodhisattva actions nor abandons his great vows. Although he carries out the teachings of the entire Buddha Dharma, he still can have many worldly accomplishments. He neither follows the worldly stream nor abides in the Dharma stream.
“As an analogy, the sun, the moon, men, women, houses, mountains, and forests can cast their reflections in water, oil, crystal, or a clear mirror. A medium and a reflection that appears in the medium are neither same nor different, neither apart nor joined. A reflection neither flows away in a river nor sinks in a pond or well. Although it appears in a place, it has no attachment to the place. However, observers know that a particular reflection appears in a particular place, not elsewhere. Objects far from and near a medium can cast their reflections, which are neither far nor near as are the objects themselves.
“This Bodhisattva-Mahāsattva knows that all his and others’ states are states of wisdom. He does not perceive himself and others as dual objects. However, he can simultaneously appear everywhere in his world and other worlds. A seed does not contain roots, stems, branches, or leaves, but it can grow these things. Likewise this Bodhisattva-Mahāsattva can use skillful means to identify non-dual dharmas as dual, hindrance free. This is called a Bodhisattva-Mahāsattva’s eighth endurance, the endurance in reflection-likeness.
“A Bodhisattva-Mahāsattva who has acquired this endurance can appear in all Buddha Lands in the ten directions, though he does not actually travel to them. He neither leaves one place nor arrives at another place. Like reflections that appear everywhere, his actions are hindrance free. He enables sentient beings to see different bodies appear to be as solid as the world. However, such differences are no difference because there is no barrier between differences and no difference. This Bodhisattva is born from the Tathāgata character-type, and his body, voice, and mind are hindrance free. Therefore, he can acquire a pure body with countless physical appearances.
“Buddha-Sons, what is meant by a Bodhisattva-Mahāsattva’s endurance in manifestation-likeness? Buddha-Sons, this Bodhisattva-Mahāsattva knows that all dharmas in the world are like manifestations. This means that all sentient beings’ mind karmas are like manifestations because they arise from perceptions; all actions in the world are like manifestations because they arise from differentiations; all pains and pleasures are like manifestations because they arise from delusion and attachments; all dharmas in the world are like manifestations because they are shaped by words; all afflictions and differentiations are like manifestations because they arise from thinking; taming sentient beings is like a manifestation because it displays the purity of no differentiation; one’s past, present, and future lives are like manifestations because they are equal in their no birth; the power of a Bodhisattva’s vows is like a manifestation because it arises from his vast spiritual training; a Tathāgata’s great compassion is like a manifestation because it is displayed by skillful means; turning the Dharma wheel by skillful means is like a manifestation because the Dharma is expounded with wisdom, fearlessness, and eloquence.
“Thus this Bodhisattva knows that the worldly and the supra-worldly are like manifestations. His wisdom-knowledge [jñāna], which arises from his realization of things as they truly are, is vast, boundless, effortless, and true. It cannot be changed by wrong views, or corrupted even when following the worldly ways.
“A manifestation does not arise from one’s mind, mental functions, or karmas, nor does it receive karmic requitals. It is neither created nor terminated by the world. It can be neither followed nor grasped. It abides for neither a long time nor a short time. It neither circulates in the world nor leaves the world. It is tied to neither one place nor many places. It is neither measurable nor immeasurable, neither tiring nor ceasing, nor untiring or unceasing. It is neither ordinary nor holy, neither impure nor pure, neither alive nor dead, neither wise nor foolish, neither seen nor unseen, neither relying on the world nor entering the dharma realm, neither quick-witted nor dull-witted, neither grasping nor not grasping, neither saṁsāra nor nirvāṇa, neither existent nor nonexistent.
“Thus this Bodhisattva-Mahāsattva uses skillful means to walk in the world and train on the Bodhisattva Way. He knows the worldly ways and manifests copies of his body. With no attachment to the world, he has no attachment to himself because he does not differentiate between the world and himself. He neither abides in nor leaves the world, neither abides in nor separates from dharmas. Because of his original vows, he neither abandons even one sentient being nor tames only a few sentient beings. He neither differentiates nor does not differentiate dharmas. He knows that dharma nature has neither comings nor goings. Although dharmas are like manifestations, neither existent nor nonexistent, he is equipped with the Buddha Dharma. Buddha-Sons, when a Bodhisattva-Mahāsattva abides in his endurance in manifestation-likeness, he can complete the bodhi path of Buddhas and benefit sentient beings. This is called a Bodhisattva-Mahāsattva’s ninth endurance, the endurance of manifestation-likeness.
“If a Bodhisattva-Mahāsattva has acquired this endurance, whatever he does is like a manifestation. Like a manifested person, he has neither reliance on any Buddha Land nor attachments in the world, nor does he differentiate the teachings of the Buddha Dharma. Yet he heads for Buddha bodhi without idling or tiring and trains in Bodhisattva actions without holding any inverted views. Although he has no body, he manifests all bodies. Although he abides nowhere, he abides in all worlds. Although he has no form, he manifests myriad forms. Although he has no attachment to the true reality [of dharmas], he illuminates the universality and perfection of dharma nature.
“Buddha-Sons, this Bodhisattva-Mahāsattva is called a liberated one because he does not rely on any dharma; he is called a subduer because he has discarded all faults; he is called one with transcendental powers because, without motion or change, he enters all assemblies of every Tathāgata; he is called one with no regress because he has acquired endurance in his realization that dharmas have no birth; he is called a hindrance-free one because he has acquired all powers, and because even Mount Sumeru and the iron mountain range cannot hinder him.
“Buddha-Sons, what is meant by a Bodhisattva-Mahāsattva’s endurance in sky-likeness? Buddha-Sons, this Bodhisattva-Mahāsattva knows that the entire dharma realm is like the open sky because it has no appearance; the whole world is like the open sky because it has no birth; all dharmas are like the open sky because they are non-dual [free from dichotomy, such as subject and object]; the actions of all sentient beings are like the open sky because all actions are no action; all Buddhas are like the open sky because they are no different; all powers of Buddhas are like the open sky because they are no different; all meditations are like the open sky because past, present, and future are equal; all teachings pronounced are like the open sky because they are beyond words; all bodies of Buddhas are like the open sky because they have no attachments and no hindrances. Thus this Bodhisattva uses the apt analogy of the open sky to understand that all dharmas are nonexistent.
“Buddha-Sons, when this Bodhisattva-Mahāsattva uses his enduring wisdom-knowledge of sky-likeness to understand all dharmas, he acquires a sky-like body and body karmas, a sky-like voice and voice karmas, and a sky-like mind and mind karmas. As the open sky, relied upon by all dharmas, has neither birth nor death, likewise a Bodhisattva-Mahāsattva’s dharma body has neither birth nor death. As the open sky is indestructible, likewise a Bodhisattva-Mahāsattva’s wisdom and powers are indestructible. As the open sky, though relied upon by the whole world, itself relies on nothing, likewise a Bodhisattva-Mahāsattva, though relied upon by all dharmas, himself relies on nothing. As the open sky, with neither birth nor death, can sustain the whole world with births and deaths, likewise a Bodhisattva-Mahāsattva, with neither aspirations nor attainments, can reveal his aspirations and attainments, inspiring the world to train for purity. As the open sky, with neither directions nor reaches, can allow boundless directions and reaches, likewise a Bodhisattva-Mahāsattva, with neither karmas nor karmic requitals, can manifest various karmas and karmic requitals. As the open sky, neither moving nor abiding, can display various splendors, likewise a Bodhisattva-Mahāsattva, neither walking nor standing still, can differentiate among all actions. As the open sky, neither a form nor not a form, can display various forms, likewise a Bodhisattva-Mahāsattva, in neither a worldly nor a supra-worldly form, can manifest all forms. As the open sky, born neither a long time nor a short time ago, can abide for a long time and display all things, likewise a Bodhisattva-Mahāsattva, born neither a long time nor a short time ago, can abide for a long time and display all Bodhisattva actions. As the open sky, neither pure nor impure, is not separate from the purities and impurities of worlds, likewise a Bodhisattva-Mahāsattva, neither with nor without hindrances, is not separate from hindrances and no hindrances. The open sky has all worlds appearing there, but to it their appearances are no appearance. Likewise a Bodhisattva-Mahāsattva has all dharmas appearing before him, but to him their appearances are no appearance. As the open sky enters everywhere and has no boundaries, likewise a Bodhisattva-Mahāsattva enters all dharmas, and his mind has no boundaries.
“Why? Because whatever this Bodhisattva does is like the open sky. His training, his purities, and his attainments are equal, in one essence, one flavor, and one kind, measuring like the open sky, and with purity pervading everywhere. Thus he observes all dharmas but does not differentiate them, purifies all Buddha Lands, perfects his body that relies on nothing, and knows all directions without confusion. He acquires powers that cannot be destroyed, acquires all boundless virtues, reaches the depths of dharmas, and achieves all pāramitās. He sits in all vajra seats, voices all [Dharma] tones that suit the hearers’ kind, and turns the Dharma wheel for the whole world at the right times. This is called a Bodhisattva-Mahāsattva’s tenth endurance, the endurance in sky-likeness.
“A Bodhisattva-Mahāsattva who has acquired this endurance acquires a body that does not come because it does not go; acquires a body with no birth because it has no death; acquires an immovable body because it does not perish; acquires an unsubstantial body because it is free from false appearances; acquires a body with one appearance because it has no appearance; acquires an immeasurable body because the power of Buddhas is immeasurable; acquires a body that equals all other bodies because each is an appearance of suchness; acquires a body free from differentiation because he observes the equality of the three time frames; acquires a body that goes everywhere because his pure eye equally illuminates all places, hindrance free; acquires a body with no desire [for dharmas] because he knows that all dharmas neither converge nor diverge; acquires a boundless body that equals the open sky because his endless store of merit and wisdom is like the open sky; acquires a body with eloquence that equals the uninterruptible and endless dharma nature because he knows that all appearances of dharmas are only one appearance, and that dharma nature is no nature, like the open sky; acquires a body that emits countless sounds hindrance free, like the open sky; acquires a body fully equipped with all skillful Bodhisattva actions because it has no hindrances anywhere, like the open sky; acquires a body that continues to sail the ocean of the entire Buddha Dharma because it is endless, like the open sky; acquires a body that displays, in every Buddha Land, countless Buddha Lands because he is free from greed and attachment, like the open sky; acquires a body that without rest displays all dharmas with ease because it is like the open sky; acquires an indestructible, firm, and powerful body because it sustains the whole world, like the open sky; acquires an indestructible vajra body with keen faculties because it is like the open sky, which cannot be burnt away by the fires at the end of a kalpa; acquires a body with the power to support the whole world because the power of his wisdom is like the open sky.
“Buddha-Sons, these are called a Bodhisattva-Mahāsattva’s ten endurances.”
Then, to restate his meaning, Samantabhadra Bodhisattva spoke in verse:
When someone in a world hears
The location of a treasure store,
Delight rises in his mind
Because he can acquire the treasures.
When a Bodhisattva, a true Buddha-son,
Who has great wisdom,
Hears the Buddha Dharma
As an appearance of profound nirvāṇa,
His mind finds peace and calm
In the profound Dharma.
He is neither shocked nor terrified,
Nor is he even anxious.
When a great one who aspires to bodhi
Hears the sounds [of the Dharma],
His pure mind can endure in hearing them
And harbor no doubts.
He knows that, by hearing
The profound wondrous Dharma,
He will acquire [sarvajña] the overall wisdom-knowledge
And become a great guiding teacher to gods and humans.
When a Bodhisattva hears these sounds,
With great joy in his mind
He makes a firm resolve
To seek the Dharma of Buddhas.
Because he delights in attaining bodhi,
His mind is gradually tamed.
As his faith grows stronger,
He never opposes or maligns the Dharma.
Therefore, when he listens to the sounds [of the Dharma],
His mind can endure in hearing them.
Abiding in the Dharma without motion,
He trains in Bodhisattva actions.
To seek bodhi,
He walks only the bodhi path.
Making energetic progress without thoughts of turning back,
He never abandons good precepts.
To seek bodhi,
His mind has no fear.
Hearing the Dharma increases his bold valor,
And He makes offerings to Buddhas to delight Them.
* * * * * * * * * *
If someone greatly fortunate
Has found a store of pure gold,
To satisfy his personal needs,
He makes gold ornaments.
Likewise, a Bodhisattva who hears
The profound meanings of the Dharma
Ponders them to increase the ocean of his wisdom-knowledge
And to train in accordance with the Dharma.
Thus he knows dharmas in existence
And dharmas in nonexistence.
Following true suchness,
He knows dharmas as they truly are.
He acquires a pure mind, which is
Lucid and filled with great joy.
Knowing that dharmas arise through conditions,
He diligently trains to
Observe all dharmas with the same impartiality
And understand their nature.
Never damaging the store of the Buddha Dharma,
He realizes [the true reality of] all dharmas.
His aspirations always firm,
He adorns Buddha bodhi.
Immovable as Mount Sumeru,
He single-mindedly seeks true enlightenment.
Resolved to make energetic progress,
He trains in profound samādhi.
For countless kalpas, he diligently trains
Without regress or failure.
The dharmas this Bodhisattva enters
Are the places walked by Buddhas.
He fully understands them,
His mind neither tiring nor idling.
Following the words of the unsurpassed one,
He impartially observes all dharmas.
Only by acquiring endurance in equality
Can he acquire the wisdom-knowledge of equality.
Following the words of Buddhas,
He attains this endurance.
He knows dharmas as they truly are,
But does not differentiate them.
* * * * * * * * * *
In the Thirty-three Heavens [the second desire heaven],
All gods use
The same vessels for food,
But each eats different food.
Their various kinds of food
Do not come from the ten directions,
But naturally appear in their vessels
According to the karmas they have done.
Thus a Bodhisattva observes
That all dharmas
Arise through causes and conditions.
Because there is no birth, there is no death.
Because there is no death, there is no end.
Because there is no end, there are no taints.
He knows that the changes of dharmas in the world
Are no change.
Because there is no change, there is no place,
Because there is no place, all dharmas are in nirvāṇa.
With neither taints nor attachments in his mind,
He vows to deliver sentient beings.
Thinking only of the Buddha Dharma,
His mind is neither distracted nor swayed.
Honoring vows made out of compassion,
He skillfully acts in the world.
Diligently seeking to acquire the Ten Powers,
He follows the ways of the world but does not abide in the world.
Neither coming nor going,
He well expounds the Dharma by skillful means.
With this supreme endurance [in no birth],
He understands that dharmas have no end.
He truly enters the dharma realm,
Knowing that his entrance is no entrance.
A Bodhisattva who abides in this endurance
Sees all Tathāgatas
Simultaneously bestowing upon him the prophecy
Called receiving a Buddha’s position.
He fully understands that past, present, and future dharmas
Are pure appearances of nirvāṇa.
He can transform sentient beings
And set them on the path of goodness.
* * * * * * * * * *
Various dharmas in the world
Are all like illusions.
With this understanding,
His mind is never moved by anything.
Karmas are born from the mind,
So the mind is said to be like an illusion.
If one discards differentiation,
One’s life-journeys in the Three Realms of Existence come to an end.
As an analogy, an artist
Paints colorful images,
Which merely satisfy the greed and pleasure of multitudes,
Who however cannot obtain anything portrayed in a painting.
Likewise all things in the world
Are like illusions.
With no self-essence and no birth,
They appear to be various things.
A Bodhisattva delivers sentient beings,
Enabling them to know that dharmas are like illusions.
Although illusions are not sentient beings,
Sentient beings are no different from illusions.
Sentient beings, worlds,
And dharmas in the past, present, and future
Are all like illusions,
With no exception.
An illusion can appear to be a man, a woman,
An elephant, a horse, a cow, a sheep,
A house, a pond, a spring,
A garden, a flower, a fruit, or anything else.
An illusion has no awareness,
Nor does it have a place.
It is in ultimate nirvāṇa,
But appears according to one’s differentiations.
A Bodhisattva can see that,
Existent or nonexistent,
All dharmas in the world
Are like illusions.
Sentient beings and worlds
Are produced by various karmas.
He enters the realm of illusions,
But has no attachment to them.
Thus he acquires skill in
Abiding in nirvāṇa, free from ludicrous statements.
Standing on the hindrance-free ground [of nirvāṇa],
He displays awesome powers everywhere.
* * * * * * * * * *
Buddha-sons, who are boldly valiant,
Should follow and enter the wondrous Dharma,
And observe their perceptions, which are like
A fettering net in their worlds.
Perceptions are like mirages,
Which lead sentient beings to misconceptions.
A Bodhisattva should know well his perceptions
And discard all inverted views.
Sentient beings are different and
Do not come in only one shape or one kind.
He fully understands that all such differences
Are perceptions and hence unreal.
Sentient beings [in worlds] in the ten directions are
All shrouded by their perceptions.
If they can discard their inverted views,
They can end perceptions of their worlds.
The world is like a mirage,
And one’s perceptions produce differences [of dharmas].
If one knows that the world abides in one’s perceptions,
One will be free from the three inversions.
As an analogy, when a mirage appears in hot air,
It is perceived by the world as water.
Actually there is no water,
And the wise should not seek it.
Likewise sentient beings should know that
Their worlds and life-journeys are nonexistent.
They are like mirages that abide in perceptions,
Which do not hinder the states of the mind.
If one discards one’s perceptions,
One will be free from ludicrous statements
And can enable the foolish, who are attached to their perceptions,
To achieve liberation.
Abandoning perceptions of worlds,
And ending what is endless
Are a Bodhisattva’s skillful means.
* * * * * * * * * *
A Bodhisattva knows that dharmas in the world
Are all like dreams.
Neither with nor without a place,
Their essence is nirvāṇa.
Dharmas are beyond differentiation,
Like dreams, which are no different from the mind.
Worlds and the three time frames,
Are all like dreams.
The essence of a dream has neither birth nor death,
Nor does it have a direction or place.
Those who see the essence of the Three Realms of Existence in the same light
Liberate their minds.
A dream is neither in the world
Nor not in the world.
If one does not differentiate between these two,
One enters the ground of endurance [in dream-likeness].
As one sees in a dream
Likewise one sees them in the world,
No different from those in a dream.
He who abides in the Dream Samādhi
Knows that the world is like a dream.
All things are neither same nor different,
Neither one nor various.
Whether they are worlds, sentient beings, or their karmas,
He knows that all of them,
Pure or impure,
Are like dreams.
Whether they are a Bodhisattva’s actions
Or great vows,
He knows that all of them are like dreams,
As is the world.
Although he knows that the world is empty,
He does not destroy dharmas in the world,
Such as long and short things,
As if they are in a dream.
This is called endurance in dream-likeness,
Through which he understands dharmas in the world,
Quickly acquires the hindrance-free wisdom-knowledge,
And widely delivers sentient beings.
Training in these actions
Brings him profound understanding of
The nature of dharmas
With no attachment to them.
* * * * * * * * * *
Various sounds in
The whole world
Are neither internal nor external dharmas,
And are like echoes.
When hearing various sounds,
One’s mind should not differentiate them.
Hence, when a Bodhisattva hears sounds,
His mind does not differentiate them.
He beholds Tathāgatas with reverence
And listens to Their Dharma tones.
As They pronounce countless sūtras,
He has no attachment to what he hears.
As echoes come from nowhere,
Likewise do the sounds heard.
Nevertheless, he can differentiate dharmas,
Not contradicting their meanings.
He well understands sounds,
But does not differentiate them.
Knowing that sounds are empty,
He voices pure tones.
Understanding that dharmas are beyond words,
He enters the wordless state.
Nevertheless, he speaks words, which are
Like echoes pervading the world.
He knows that usage of words
Although he Knows that the nature of sounds is empty,
He speaks words in worldly tones.
As all sounds in the world
Are presented as differentiated dharmas,
His tones reach everywhere
To enlighten sentient beings.
When a Bodhisattva attains this endurance [in echo-likeness],
His pure tones transform the world.
He skillfully explains past, present, and future,
And has no attachment to the world.
To benefit the world,
He is resolved to attain bodhi.
He enters dharma nature,
But does not differentiate it.
He observes that all dharmas in the world
Have no self-essence and are in nirvāṇa.
To benefit sentient beings,
He trains for bodhi with an unwavering resolve.
He neither abides in the world
Nor leaves the world.
He does not rely on the world
Because the place for reliance cannot be found.
He knows the nature of the world
But has no attachment to this nature.
Although he does not rely on the world,
He transforms all in the world and enables them to transcend the world.
He knows the true nature of
All dharmas in the world.
He knows that dharmas are non-dual,
But has no attachment to non-duality.
His mind neither abides in the world
Nor leaves the world.
He does not train outside the world
To acquire the overall wisdom-knowledge.
* * * * * * * * * *
As a reflection in the water
Is neither inside nor outside the water,
A Bodhisattva who seeks bodhi
Understands that the world is not the world as perceived.
He neither abides in nor leaves the world
Because the world is ineffable.
Neither inside nor outside [the mind],
The world appears as does a reflection.
He who fathoms this profound meaning
Has discarded taints and become lucid.
Never abandoning his original vows,
He illuminates everything as does a wisdom lamp.
Countless dharmas in the world
Are equal in [in the sphere of] wisdom-knowledge.
He transforms all sentient beings
And enables them to discard their attachments.
He studies the profound Dharma
And benefits sentient beings.
Then he enters into wisdom-knowledge
And trains for bodhi.
* * * * * * * * * *
A Bodhisattva observes dharmas
And knows that they are like manifestations.
Nevertheless, he takes manifestation-like good actions
And never abandons them.
Following manifestation-like natures,
He trains on the bodhi path.
As all dharmas are like manifestations,
So too are Bodhisattva actions.
All things in the world
And immeasurable karmas
Are equally like manifestations,
And forever abide in nirvāṇa.
All past, present, and future Buddhas
Are also like manifestations.
A Bodhisattva trains for bodhi to fulfill his original vows
And transforms into a Tathāgata.
A Buddha, out of His great lovingkindness and compassion,
Using the power of manifestation, expounds the Dharma
And delivers manifestation-like sentient beings,
Whose deliverance is also like a manifestation.
He who knows that all things in the world are like manifestations
Does not differentiate them.
Differences in manifestation-like things
Are all caused by different karmas.
He who trains in Bodhisattva actions is
Adorned with the store of manifestations.
Using immeasurably good adornments,
He does good karmas for the world.
A manifestation is beyond differentiation,
And does not differentiate dharmas.
As manifestations and dharmas are both in nirvāṇa,
So too are Bodhisattva actions.
Wisdom-knowledge reveals the ocean of manifestations,
And the nature of manifestations imprints the world.
As manifestations have neither birth nor death,
So too does wisdom.
* * * * * * * * * *
The tenth endurance is acquired by clearly seeing that
The essence of sentient beings and dharmas
Which is like the sky, without a place.
He who acquires this wisdom-knowledge of sky-likeness
Forever discards grasping and attachment.
What is like the sky has no varieties
And no hindrance in the world.
He who acquires the power of endurance in sky-likeness
Is like the endless sky.
All mental objects are like the open sky,
The open sky has neither self-essence
And the power of wisdom-knowledge is like the open sky.
The open sky has no beginning,
No middle, and no end.
As it cannot be measured,
So too a Bodhisattva’s wisdom-knowledge cannot be measured.
Observing dharma nature in this way,
He sees that all dharmas acquired by a Bodhisattva
Are like the open sky,
With neither birth nor death.
He abides in sky-like dharmas,
And explains their sky-likeness to sentient beings.
He subjugates all māras,
Using his endurance in sky-likeness as skillful means.
All different appearances in the world
Are empty and are no appearance.
He enters the place of no appearance, where
All appearances are equal.
Using only one skillful means,
He enters all worlds
Because he knows that the three time frames
Are equal in the nature of the open sky.
So too, wisdom, sounds,
And a Bodhisattva’s bodies
Are equal in the nature of the open sky
Because all dharmas are in nirvāṇa.
* * * * * * * * * *
These ten endurances
Are a Buddha-son’s trainings.
His mind well abiding in them,
He expounds them to sentient beings.
Developing and learning well these endurances,
He acquires vast power.
The power of the Dharma and the power of wisdom-knowledge
Are the skillful means to attain bodhi.
He who enters this door of endurances
Acquires the hindrance-free wisdom-knowledge.
Surpassing all multitudes,
He turns the unsurpassed Dharma wheel.
The vast actions he trains in
Are beyond measure.
Only a Buddha, a tamer-teacher, who has an ocean of wisdom-knowledge,
Can know them all.
He who discards fixation on having a self and trains for bodhi
Enters the profound dharma nature.
His mind abiding in pure dharmas,
He gives them as alms to all sentient beings.
Although the number of sentient beings and dust particles in a world
Can be known,
The limits of a Bodhisattva’s virtues
Cannot be determined.
If a Bodhisattva can acquire
These ten endurances,
No sentient being can comprehend
His wisdom and actions.
1. See “eight difficulties” in the glossary. (Return to text)
2. See “nirvāṇa without remnant” defined in the glossary’s “nirvāṇa.” (Return to text)
3. See “three groups” in the glossary. (Return to text)
4. The four intermediate directions are northeast, southeast, southwest, and northwest. (Return to text)
5. See “no action” and “no wish” defined in the glossary’s Three Liberation Doors. (Return to text)
6. The mind lives in its world of duality, dichotomizing all things perceived. For example, it perceives itself as subject and everything else as object, and perceives all dharmas as large or small, pure or impure, etc. As any dichotomy is a false establishment, duality versus non-duality is therefore a false comparison. (Return to text)
7. One interpretation is that dharmas are good dharmas, and non-dharmas are evil dharmas. A second interpretation is that dharmas are dharmas with appearances, and non-dharmas are dharma nature, free from appearances. A third interpretation is that dharmas are saṁskṛta dharmas, and non-dharmas are asaṁskṛta dharmas. The third dichotomy, saṁskṛta and asaṁskṛta, is listed separately in this paragraph. (Return to text)
8. The opposite shore is that shore of nirvāṇa, opposite this shore of saṁsāra. (Return to text)
9. In the Sūtra of Amitāyus Buddha, fascicle 1, the monk Dharmākara makes forty-eight vows before he attains Buddhahood and becomes Amitāyus Buddha. His forty-eighth vow is that those who hear His name will acquire one of the Three Endurances in the Dharma (Rulu 2012b, 52). Those three are the first three of the ten endurances in this chapter. In the Sūtra of the Garland of a Bodhisattva’s Primary Karmas, fascicle 1, the six Bodhisattva character-types are also called the six endurances (Rulu 2013, 44–45). However, those six are unrelated to the ten in this chapter. (Return to text)
10. According to text 279 (T10n0279), upon which this translation is based, this Chinese term is “zhengzhu” (正住), which means “right abiding.” However, the corresponding term in the Song, Yuan, and Ming editions of the Chinese Canon is “zhengwei” (正位), which means “right position.” Here, the latter version is adopted. The right position is realization of nirvāṇa, which is beyond causes and conditions. (Return to text)
11. This sentence is based on a corresponding passage in text 278 (T09n0278, 0581b11–12), the 60-fascicle Chinese version of the Mahāvaipulya Sūtra of Buddha Adornment (Buddhāvataṁsaka-mahāvaipulya-sūtra), translated from Sanskrit by Buddhabhadra (佛馱跋陀羅, 359–429) in the Eastern Jin Dynasty (316–420). (Return to text)
12. See “inversion” in the glossary. (Return to text)
13. See “dharma body” defined in the glossary’s “three bodies of a Buddha.” (Return to text)
14. The three inversions are (1) inverted perceptions, (2) inverted views, and (3) inverted mind. For details, see “inversion” in the glossary. (Return to text)