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Holy Saddharma Pundarika
English translation by H.Kern
taken from http://www.sacred-texts.com/bud/lotus/
Thereupon the Lord addressed the venerable Mah‚-K‚syapa and the other senior great disciples, and said: Very well, very well, K‚syapa; you have done very well to proclaim the real qualities of the Tath‚gata. They are the real qualities of the Tath‚gata, K‚syapa, but he has many more, innumerable, incalculable, the end of which it would be difficult to reach, even were one to continue enumerating them for immeasurable ∆ons. The Tath‚gata, K‚syapa, is the master of the law, the king, lord, and master of all laws. And whatever law for any case has been instituted by the Tath‚gata, remains unchanged. All laws, K‚syapa, have been aptly instituted by the Tath‚gata. In his Tath‚gata-wisdom he has instituted them in such a manner that all those laws finally lead to the stage of those who know all. The Tath‚gata also distinctly knows the meaning of all laws. The Tath‚gata, the Arhat, is possessed of the faculty of penetrating all laws, possessed of the highest perfection of knowledge, so that he is able to decide all laws, able to display the knowledge of the allknowing, impart the knowledge of the all-knowing, and lay down (the rules of) the knowledge of the all-knowing.
It is a case, K‚syapa, similar to that of a great cloud big with rain, coming up in this wide universe over all grasses, shrubs, herbs, trees of various species and kind, families of plants of different names growing on earth, on hills, or in mountain caves, a cloud covering the wide universe to pour down its rain everywhere and at the same time. Then, K‚syapa, the grasses, shrubs, herbs, and wild trees in this universe, such as have young and tender stalks, twigs, leaves, and foliage, and such as have middle-sized stalks, twigs, leaves, and foliage, and such as have the same fully developed, all those grasses, shrubs, herbs, and wild trees, smaller and greater (other) trees will each, according to its faculty and power, suck the humid element from the water emitted by that great cloud, and by that water which, all of one essence, has been abundantly poured down by the cloud, they will each, according to its germ, acquire a regular development, growth, shooting up, and bigness; and so they will produce blossoms and fruits, and will receive, each severally, their names. Rooted in one and the same soil, all those families of plants and germs are drenched and vivified by water of one essence throughout.
In the same manner, K‚syapa, does the Tath‚gata, the Arhat, appear in the world. Like unto a great cloud coming up, the Tath‚gata appears and sends forth his call to the whole world, including gods, men, and demons'. And even as a great cloud, K‚syapa, extending over the whole universe, in like manner, K‚syapa, the Tath‚gata, the Arhat, before the face of the world, including gods, men, and demons, lifts his voice and utters these words: I am the Tath‚gata, O ye gods and men! the Arhat, the perfectly enlightened one; having reached the shore myself, I carry others to the shore; being free, I make free; being comforted, I comfort; being perfectly at rest, I lead others to rest. By my perfect wisdom I know both this world and the next, such as they really are. I am all-knowing, all-seeing. Come to me, ye gods and men! hear the law. I am he who indicates the path; who shows the path, as knowing the path, being acquainted with the path. Then, K‚syapa, many hundred thousand myriads of kotis of beings come to hear the law of the Tath‚gata; and the Tath‚gata, who knows the difference as to the faculties and the energy of those beings, produces various Dharmapary‚yas, tells many tales, amusing, agreeable, both instructive and pleasant, tales by means of which all beings not only become pleased with the law in this present life, but also after death will reach happy states, where they are to enjoy many pleasures and hear the law. By listening to the law they will be freed from hindrances and in due course apply themselves to the law of the all-knowing, according to their faculty, power, and strength.
Even as the great cloud, K‚syapa, after expanding over the whole universe, pours out the same water and recreates by it all grasses, shrubs, herbs, and trees; even as all these grasses, shrubs, herbs, and trees, according to their faculty, power, and strength, suck in the water and thereby attain the full development assigned to their kind; in like manner, K‚syapa, is the law preached by the Tath‚gata, the Arhat, of one and the same essence, that is to say, the essence of it is deliverance, the final aim being absence of passion, annihilation, knowledge of the all-knowing. As to that, K‚syapa, (it must be understood) that the beings who hear the law when it is preached by the Tath‚gata, who keep it in their memory and apply themselves to it, do not know, nor perceive, nor understand their own self. For, K‚syapa, the Tath‚gata only really knows who, how, and of what kind those beings are; what, how, and whereby they are meditating; what, how, and whereby they are contemplating; what, why, and whereby they are attaining. No one but the Tath‚gata, K‚syapa, is there present, seeing all intuitively, and seeing the state of those beings in different stages, as of the lowest, highest, and mean grasses, shrubs, herbs, and trees. I am he, K‚syapa, who, knowing the law which is of but one essence, viz. the essence of deliverance, (the law) ever peaceful, ending in Nirv‚na, (the law) of eternal rest, having but one stage and placed in voidness, (who knowing this) do not on a sudden reveal to all the knowledge of the all-knowing, since I pay regard to the dispositions of all beings.
You are astonished, K‚syapa, that you cannot fathom the mystery expounded by the Tath‚gata. It is, K‚syapa, because the mystery expounded by the Tath‚gatas, the Arhats, is difficult to be understood.
And on that occasion, the more fully to explain the same subject, the Lord uttered the following stanzas:
And further, K‚syapa, the Tath‚gata, in his educating creatures, is equal (i.e. impartial) and not unequal (i. e. partial). As the light of the sun and moon, K‚syapa, shines upon all the world, upon the virtuous and the wicked, upon high and low, upon the fragrant and the ill-smelling; as their beams are sent down upon everything equally, without inequality (partiality); so, too, K‚syapa, the intellectual light of the knowledge of the omniscient, the Tath‚gatas, the Arhats, the preaching of the true law proceeds equally in respect to all beings in the five states of existence, to all who according to their particular disposition are devoted to the great vehicle, or to the vehicle of the Pratyekabuddhas, or to the vehicle of the disciples. Nor is there any deficiency or excess in the brightness of the Tath‚gata knowledge up to one's becoming fully acquainted with the law. There are not three vehicles, K‚syapa; there are but beings who act differently; therefore it is declared that there are three vehicles.
When the Lord had thus spoken, the venerable Mah‚-K‚syapa said to him: Lord, if there are not three vehicles, for what reason then is the designation of disciples (Sr‚vakas), Buddhas, and Bodhisattvas kept up in the present times?
On this speech the Lord answered the venerable Mah‚-K‚syapa as follows: It is, K‚syapa, as if a potter made different vessels out of the same clay. Some of those pots are to contain sugar, others ghee, others curds and milk; others, of inferior quality, are vessels of impurity. There is no diversity in the clay used; no, the diversity of the pots is only due to the substances which are put into each of them. In like manner, K‚syapa, is there but one vehicle, viz. the Buddha-vehicle; there is no second vehicle, no third.
The Lord having thus spoken, the venerable Mah‚-K‚syapa said: Lord, if the beings are of different disposition, will there be for those who have left the triple world one Nirv‚na, or two, or three? The Lord replied: Nirv‚na, K‚syapa, is a consequence of understanding that all laws (things) are equal. Hence there is but one Nirv‚na, not two, not three. Therefore, K‚syapa, I will tell thee a parable, for men of good understanding will generally readily enough catch the meaning of what is taught under the shape of a parable.
It is a case, K‚syapa, similar to that of a certain blind-born man, who says: There are no handsome or ugly shapes; there are no men able to see handsome or ugly shapes; there exists no sun nor moon; there are no asterisms nor planets; there are no men able to see planets. But other persons say to the blind-born: There are handsome and ugly shapes; there are men able to see handsome and ugly shapes; there is a sun and moon; there are asterisms and planets; there are men able to see planets. But the blind-born does not believe them, nor accept what they say. Now there is a physician who knows all diseases. He sees that blind-born man and makes to himself this reflection: The disease of this man originates in his sinful actions in former times. All diseases possible to arise are fourfold: rheumatical, cholerical, phlegmatical, and caused by a complication of the (corrupted) humours. The physician, after thinking again and again on a means to cure the disease, makes to himself this reflection: Surely, with the drugs in common use it is impossible to cure this disease, but there are in the Himalaya, the king of mountains, four herbs, to wit: first, one called Possessed-of-all-sorts-of-colours-and-flavours; second, Delivering-from-all-diseases; third, Delivering-from-all-poisons; fourth, Procuring-happiness-to-those-standing-in-the-right-place. As the physician feels compassion for the blind-born man he contrives some device to get to the Himalaya, the king of mountains. There he goes up and down and across to search. In doing so he finds the four herbs. One he gives after chewing it with the teeth; another after pounding; another after having it mixed with another drug and boiled; another after having it mixed with a raw drug; another after piercing with a lancet somewhere a vein; another after singeing it in fire; another after combining it with various other substances so as to enter in a compound potion, food, Owing to these means being applied the blindborn recovers his eyesight, and in consequence of that recovery he sees outwardly and inwardly, far and near, the shine of sun and moon, the asterisms, planets, and all phenomena. Then he says: O how foolish was I that I did not believe what they told me, nor accepted what they affirmed. Now I see all; I am delivered from my blindness and have recovered my eyesight; there is none in the world who could surpass me. And at the same moment Seers of the five transcendent faculties [the five senses], strong in the divine sight and hearing, in the knowledge of others' minds, in the memory of former abodes, in magical science and intuition, speak to the man thus: Good man, thou hast just recovered thine eyesight, nothing more, and dost not know yet anything. Whence comes this conceitedness to thee? Thou hast no wisdom, nor art thou a clever man. Further they say to him: Good man, when sitting in the interior of thy room, thou canst not see nor distinguish forms outside, nor discern which beings are animated with kind feelings and which with hostile feelings; thou canst not distinguish nor hear at the distance of five yoganas the voice of a man or the sound of a drum, conch trumpet, and the like; thou canst not even walk as far as a kos without lifting up thy feet; thou hast been produced and developed in thy mother's womb without remembering the fact; how then wouldst thou be clever, and how canst thou say: I see all? Good man, thou takest darkness for light, and takest light for darkness.
Whereupon the Seers are asked by the man: By what means and by what good work shall I acquire such wisdom and with your favour acquire those good qualities (or virtues)? And the Seers say to that man: If that be thy wish, go and live in the wilderness or take thine abode in mountain caves, to meditate on the law and cast off evil passions. So shalt thou become endowed with the virtues of an ascetic and acquire the transcendent faculties. The man catches their meaning and becomes an ascetic. Living in the wilderness, the mind intent upon one sole object, he shakes off worldly desires, and acquires the five transcendent faculties. After that acquisition he reflects thus: Formerly I did not do the right thing; hence no good accrued to me. Now, however, I can go whither my mind prompts me; formerly I was ignorant, of little understanding, in fact, a blind man.
Such, K‚syapa, is the parable I have invented to make thee understand my meaning. The moral to be drawn from it is as follows. The word 'blindborn,' K‚syapa, is a designation for the creatures staying in the whirl of the world with its six states; the creatures who do not know the true law and are heaping up the thick darkness of evil passions. Those are blind from ignorance, and in consequence of it they build up conceptions; in consequence of the latter name-and-form, and so forth, up to the genesis of this whole huge mass of evils.
So the creatures blind from ignorance remain in the whirl of life, but the Tath‚gata, who is out of the triple world, feels compassion, prompted by which, like a father for his dear and only son, he appears in the triple world and sees with his eye of wisdom that the creatures are revolving in the circle of the mundane whirl, and are toiling without finding the right means to escape from the rotation. And on seeing this he comes to the conclusion: Yon beings, according to the good works they have done in former states, have feeble aversions and strong attachments; (or) feeble attachments and strong aversions; some have little wisdom, others are clever; some have soundly developed views, others have unsound views. To all of them the Tath‚gata skilfully shows three vehicles.
The Seers in the parable, those possessing the five transcendent faculties and clear-sight, are the Bodhisattvas who produce enlightened thought, and by the acquirement of acquiescence in the eternal law awake us to supreme, perfect enlightenment.
The great physician in the parable is the Tath‚gata. To the blind-born may be likened the creatures blind with infatuation. Attachment, aversion, and infatuation are likened to rheum, bile, and phlegm. The sixty-two false theories also must be looked upon as such (i. e. as doshas, 'humours and corrupted humours of the body,' 'faults and corruptions'). The four herbs are like vanity (or voidness), causelessness (or purposelessness), unfixedness, and reaching Nirv‚na. Just as by using different drugs different diseases are healed, so by developing the idea of vanity (or voidness), purposelessness, unfixedness, (which are) the principles of emancipation, is ignorance suppressed; the suppression of ignorance is succeeded by the suppression of conceptions (or fancies); and so forth, up to the suppression of the whole huge mass of evils. And thus one's mind will dwell no more on good nor on evil.
To the man who recovers his eyesight is likened the votary of the vehicle of the disciples and of Pratyekabuddhas. He rends the ties of evil passion in the whirl of the world; freed from those ties he is released from the triple world with its six states of existence. Therefore the votary of the vehicle of the disciples may think and speak thus: There are no more laws to be penetrated; I have reached Nirv‚na. Then the Tath‚gata preaches to him: How can he who has not penetrated all laws have reached Nirv‚na? The Lord rouses him to enlightenment, and the disciple, when the consciousness of enlightenment has been awakened in him, no longer stays in the mundane whirl, but at the same time has not yet reached Nirv‚na. As he has arrived at true insight, he looks upon this triple world in every direction as void, resembling the produce of magic, similar to a dream, a mirage, an echo. He sees that all laws (and phenomena) are unborn and undestroyed, not bound and not loose, not dark and not bright. He who views the profound laws in such a light, sees, as if he were not seeing, the whole triple world full of beings of contrary and omnifarious fancies and dispositions.
And on that occasion, in order to more amply explain the same subject, the Lord uttered the following stanzas: