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Diamond Sutra - Part 10 Unchecked

DISCLAIMER - This transcript has not been checked by Sangharakshita, and may contain mistakes and mishearings. Checked and reprinted copies of all seminars will be available as part of the Complete Works Project.

by Sangharakshita

____ In many of the Pall canon Scriptures, S~~~S~ ~\~~~ \¼r~~ are given as the sort of
defined characteristics of
tnlightenment.
O~e of these, is this faculty of
perception ( ~ek~ ~ovA~ ~~cke&~b
Pause
It has also struck me as slightly strange that that's so central
to the definition of (. ? ~~~ __
S:
It is not exactly the definition. It is part of the sort of approach to it ~because both the
Pall ~radition(and~the Sanskrit
one speak in terms of theC~vin yas\ the sixC~vin yas) ~
LJ~c\~ altogether~ ~ only the
sixth is transcendental. The others
all represent mundane supernormal powers, including this one. The super-mundane one, the
transcendental 0ne~l5 the knowledge of the destruction of the ~suras. That is the one that
really constitutes ~nlightenment but the other(avin yas~ seem to constitute a sort of lead up to
that~ representing the higher and more refined kinds of mundane attainment which in a way
pave the way to enlightenment, to that sixth genuinely transcendental attainment. But the
general principle here
seems to be that enlightenment is approached, cnlightenment in
a
the transcendental sense, is approached by way of~progressive
refinement of the mundane. One doesn't go directly, so to
speak, from the ~amaloka to the
One goes through the
~u~aloka~ the ~rupaloka - one has various experiences there which are represented by these
so-called lower(~vin yas).
Pause.
Voice: I thought Subhuti was asking about the three powers of the Buddha. (To see)~arma
formations in theL~ . I thought that was what you were asking about?
DSlO
~
~Q.
Yes, but the(ewin yas~ re present a more elaborate list of the
same things.
_____ So in a way the
(~; ~;~t~~~ ) ~he first tw0~ are not...
S:
Do not constitute part of the enlightenment experience proper.
____ Yes.
~~v'a~a4&:I always thought karma was a mechanical process that absolutely had to bear that
fruit. If this capacity to perceive th~ result of karma is absolute it must involve something
else as well.
S.. Well, no. It is not that the Buddha infers . He directly t~ ~~~~ b~ ~riM~~ perceives.
If the result of a certain action~was open then it '4, could not be inferred - experience alone
would tell.j~hether it did in fact come to fruition in a particular experience or not
was a matter of direct perception~ then
could be
it could be predicted. Do you see what I mean?
Pause.
_____ is not that he sees the ICarma in a person and can tell that this person has done that or
that i~n the past. ...
S:
No, it is not a question of inference, it is not a question of reasoning but of direct
perception,as though the past or the future was directly present to him. I mean some karmas
are, so
DSlO
~~Cco~).:to speak, open-ended. I mean, some karmas- are- quite weak. That is to say
certain unskilful or skilful actions are quite weak &'4 ~hey may not result in any fruit ~hey
may not
any pleasurable or painful experience. So you cannot know
in advance.
You just have to wait and see what happens,but the
Buddha knows
that particular karma is going to have such and such a result o~ not.
Not because he infers it, because that can't be done but because he directly perceives the
future result,if there is a result,(exactly) present, .%v ~~
Do you see the difference? Pause.
_____ : You discussed this in your question and answer session.
S:
Yes.
Pause.
Well. Let's go on to the Bodhisattva and his Pure Land.
3C.
The Bodhisattva and Ms Pure Land
The Sutra next considers the eighth stage of a Bodhisattva's career. On the seventh he
has fully understood perfect wisdom. This sets free his 'skill in means', which in its turn gives
him sovereignty over the world. As the sovereign 'king of Dharma' he can now perfect the
beings in a chosen part of the universe, which he slowly transforms into a Pure Land.
lOb. The Lord said: II any Bodhlsattva would say. 'I will
create harmonious Buddhaflelds', he would speak falsely. And why? 'The harmonies of
Buddhafields, the harmonies of Buddhaflelds', Subhutl, as no-harmonies have they been
taught by the Tathagata. Therefore he spoke of 'harmonious Buddhaflelds'.
A Buddhafield is a part of the world in which a Buddha matures beings. As a
harmonious structure it is compared to an orderly and well-arranged military array. In
contradistinc-
DSlO
tion to an- ordin~ary, defiled world such as ours, in a 'Pure~Iand' all is beauty and order (see
B 154-5). 'Field' has the same
co:inotation as in 'Elysian Fields'. The term create should not
-
be pressed too closely. The Sanskrit ni~adayati also means to 'accomplish, perfect,
achieve, ripen and mature'. The force of their meritorious karma enables the Bodhisattvas to
realize, or to bring to perfection, a Pure Land, an unworldly world, a 'heaven' or 'paradise'
which offers ideal conditions for rapid spiritual progress. It is here assumed that also the
material world is a reflex of karma, and that the spiritual maturity of beings deterniines their
living conditions.
For two reasons the Bodhisattva would speak falsely, i.e. against the facts, if he were
to say, 'I will perfect harmonious Buddhaflelds': (I) Any statement which contains the word 'I'
is ipso facto false, because in the real world nothing corre- sponds to it. (2) A Buddhafield is
no material or perceptible fact, and its harmony is not an objective arrangement. It has a
quasi-sensory appearance - -as the by-product of a Buddha's meditative gnosis, but in reality it
is no more than a mental
construction.
S:
Well, here the general philosoph~ , as one might call it, of the
~~~ t'M~O'r~~~~
perfection of wisdom is applied to the characteristicLaction of
a Bodhisattva,that is to say,establishing a Pure Land, a ~~% t~W~~~ Buddhafield. The
Bodhisattva doesn't do thisLin a self'
conscious sort of way. It's the natural, 5p0nane0u5jre5ult~0~ t,n\o\&"M
~his own spiritual life and activity. He doesn't think,
DSlO
~
S.
S:
'Well, here am I creating a Buddhafield.'
Pause
One shouldn't be so, too self-conscious or possessive about one's achievements of any kind.
Pause.
Otherwise one might even spoil the achievement itself. It's just like, for instance, a musician
playing a piece of music. If he becomes too self-conscious of how well he's playing he loses
his concentration, or if you're meditating and you say 'Oh gosh, I'm really getting on really
well today, I'm getting really concentrated. Oh yes, I'm really getting deeply into it - there
are hardly any thoughts today.'
Laughter
You w;\~ s~~~
- losing ~o~
So it's just the same on an infinitely loftier,
transcendental plane~ LJ~c~~ the Bodhisattva establishes his
Buddhafield. He just doesn't think in that sort of way. He's
as it were, natural, spontaneous.
Pause.
I take it everybody is familar with the concept of a Pure Land,
IIIt which offers ideal conditions for rapid spiritual progress.
It is here assumed that also the material world is a reflex of karma, and that the spiritual
maturity of being%determines their living conditions. I' There seems a slight conflict that
Conze hasn't fully resolved between the Bodhisattva establishing the Buddhafield and the
world in which one lives reflecting ones
own
o~ spiritual maturity.
1s it the
Bodhisattva's merit that determines the nature of the Pure Land, The Buddha Field, or is it the
merits of the beings who inhabit it? Conze doesn't seem quite to resolve this, does he?
DSlO
S£co~~:He seems to say both things. Well, perhaps down through the ages the Bodhisattva is
working with a number of beings ~~a~ he is gradually bringing to maturity, but they sort of
establish the Pure Land or Buddhaland together, though - the Bodhisattva continues to take
the leading part. - So, in a sense, he establishes it. I don't think the scriptures actually say
this~ but if one~ to reconcile the two points of view, perhaps one could?
The Bodhisattva is like a queen bee in the hive.
Pause.
Is it fair of Conze to say, 1'6ut in reality it is no more than a mental construction". ~~cause
some schools/~~say,Amitabha's Sukhavati as being objectively existing?
Ah~ but it is a mental construction '~can sYt\\ 'o~
objectively perceived, like a mirage.
'It has a quasi-sensory appearance as the by-product of a
Buddha's meditative ~nosis.'
Here, he seems to leave out o~ "cco"'A~ the question of the spiritual maturity of the beings,
but in reality1no more than a mental construction." I think he can't quite make up his mind as
to the status of this Buddhafield.
~~~&ra:
I'm not quite clear about the first sentence there, under C~ "The Buddhafield is
no material or perceptible fact, and its harmony is not a objective arrangement.
Pause.
S:
Well, the Buddhafield is a material and perceptible facH ~o
DSlO
S('o~~:
the extent that this world is a material and perceptible fact. It is more refined,
but it is in principle really material and perceptible or a ...

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