Nirvana Sutra

Appreciation of the "Mahayana Mahaparinirvana Sutra"

The "Nirvana Sutra" Continued (Y)

Chapter Thirty-Three: On Bodhisattva Lion's Roar (A)

Then the Buddha said to all those gathered there: "All of you good men! Should you have any doubt as to whether there is the Buddha or not, whether there is Dharma or not, whether there is the Sangha or not, whether there is suffering or not, whether there is the cause of suffering or not, whether there is extinction or not, whether there is the Way or not, whether there is Reality or not, whether there is the Self or not, whether there is sorrow or not, whether there is purity or not, whether there is Eternity or not, whether there is a vehicle or not, whether there is nature or not, whether there is the being or not, whether there is "is" or not, whether there is the True or not, whether there is causation or not, whether there is the result or not, whether there is action or not, whether there is karma or not, or whether there is the karmic result or not, I shall now allow you freely to ask. I shall explain to you in detail. O good man! All such as devas, humans, Maras, Brahmas, sramanas, and Brahmins have come to ask, and I have never been unable to answer."

Then, there was amongst the congregated a Bodhisattva called "Lion's Roar". He stood up and adjusted his robe, touched the Buddha's feet, prostrated himself, folded his hands, and said to the Buddha: "O World-honoured One! I wish to ask [a question]. Please permit me to ask, O great Compassionate One!"

Then, the Buddha said to all the congregation: "O you good men! You now should greatly honour, respect and praise this Bodhisattva. Make offferings of incense and flowers, of music, of necklaces, banners, parasols, clothes, food, drink, bedding, medicine, houses and palaces, and attend upon his comings and goings. Why? Because this Bodhisattva has in the past greatly accomplished all good deeds at the sites of the Buddhas, and he is replete with virtues. Because of this, he now desires to utter a lion's roar before me. O good man! He is like a lion-king. He knows his own power, has sharp teeth, and his four legs stand [firmly] on the ground. He lives in a rocky grotto; he shakes his tail and gives a roar. When he displays thus, he knows that he indeed gives out a lion's roar. The true lion-king  emerges from his den early in the morning. He stretches his body and yawns. He looks around, growls, and roars for eleven things. What are those eleven?

"First, he desires to crush a person who, not [truly] being a lion, makes the pretence of presenting himself as a lion.

"Second, he now desires to test his own physical strength.

"Third, he desires to purify the place where he lives.

"Fourth, he desires to know the places where all others are living.

"Fifth, he does not fear any other.

"Sixth, he desires to awaken those who are asleep.

"Seventh, he desires to make all indolent beasts non-indolent.

"Eighth, he desires all beasts to come and surrender [to him].

"Ninth, he desires to subjugate the great gandhahastin.

"Tenth, he desires to test all sons.

"Eleventh, he desires to adorn all those to whom he is related.

"All birds and beasts hear the lion's roar; those of the water hide themselves down in the depths, and those on land in grottos and caves; those who fly fall to the ground; all those great gandhahastins become frightened and defecate. O all good men! A fox may pursue a lion for 100 years, and yet he cannot make him roar. The situation is like that. The son of a lion, at the age of three full years, can truly roar like a lion-king.

"O good men! The Tathagata, with the fangs and nails of the Wisdom of Right Enlightenment, with the legs of the four-at-willnesses , with the full body of the six paramitas, with the manly courage of the ten powers, with the tail of Great Loving-Kindness, and living in the pure grottos of the four dhyanas, gives out a lion's roar and crushes Mara's army, revealing to all beings the ten powers and opening up the place where the Buddha goes. He becomes a refuge to all those fleeing from twisted views, he consoles beings who are in fear of birth and death, he awakens beings who drowse in ignorance, he proclaims to those of twisted views that what the six masters [i.e. teachers of the six non-Buddhist schools of belief] say is not the lion's roar, he crushes the arrogant mind of Puranakasyapa [i.e. one of the six masters] and others, he causes the two vehicles to become repentant, he teaches all Bodhisattvas of the stage of the fifth abode and enables them to acquire a mind of great power, he causes the four classes of the Sangha who abide in right views not to be afraid of the four classes of the Sangha who abide in twisted views. He steps forth from the grottoes of holy actions, pure actions, and heavenly actions so as to crush the arrogance of all beings. He yawns so as to call forth Wonderful Dharma. He looks towards the four directions so as to cause beings to gain the four unmolestednesses in hindrances [i.e. the fourfold unhindered knowledge]. His four feet stand [firmly] on the ground, so that beings can peacefully abide in silaparamita. Thus, he utters a lion's roar. To utter the lion's roar means to make it known that all beings have the Buddha-Nature and that the Tathagata is Eternal and Unchanging.

"O good men! The sravakas and pratyekabuddhas follow the Tathagata-World-Honoured One for a period of an innumerable hundred thousand asamkhyas of kalpas, and yet are unable to utter the lion's roar. If the Bodhisattvas of the stage of the ten abodes can practise these three actions [i.e. the three actions of body, mouth, and mind], know that they will be able to utter the lion's roar. O all good men! Now, this Bodhisattva Lion's Roar wishes to raise the great lion's roar. This being so, make offerings to him with the deepest mind, and respect, honour and praise him."

Then, the World-Honoured One spoke to Bodhisattva-mahasattva Lion's Roar: "O good man! If you desire to ask anything, do now put your questions." Bodhisattva-mahasattva Lion's Roar said to the Buddha: "O World-Honoured One! What is the Buddha-Nature? Why do we speak of Buddha-Nature? Why do we say the Eternal, Bliss, Self, and the Pure? If all beings possess the Buddha-Nature, why is it that they do not see their own Buddha-Nature? In what do the Bodhisattvas of the stage of the ten “bhumis” live, and why can they not clearly see it [i.e. the Buddha-Nature]? Abiding in what dharma can the Buddha clearly see it? With what eye can the Bodhisattvas of the stage of the ten “bhumis” not clearly see it? With what eye can the Buddha clearly see it?"

The Buddha said: "Well said, well said, O good man! If any person pays homage to Dharma, he will be equal to two adornments. The one is Wisdom, and the other is weal. If any Bodhisattva is perfect in these two adornments, he will be able to know the Buddha-Nature and will know why we say "Buddha-Nature". Also, he can see with what eyes the Bodhisattvas of the ten “bhumis” see and with what eyes all Buddhas see."

Bodhisattva Lion's Roar said: "O World-honoured One! What is the adornment of Wisdom?"

"O good man! The adornment of Wisdom refers to what pertains to the first “bhumi” up to the tenth. The adornment of weal refers to danaparamita [unsurpassed giving] up to prajna [Wisdom]. This is not prajnaparamita [transcendent Wisdom].

"Also, next, O good man! The adornment of Wisdom is none other than all Buddhas and Bodhisattvas. The adornment of weal refers to sravakas, pratyekabuddhas, and the Bodhisattvas of the nine “bhumis”.

"Also, next, O good man! The adornment of weal is the law [dharma] of the common mortal, being the created, the "asravic" [defiled], the existing, that which engenders karmic results, that which has hindrances, and is non-eternal.

"O good man! You now possess these two adornments. That is why you effectively put such deep-rooted questions. I, too, possess these adornments and I shall answer your query."

Bodhisattva-mahasattva Lion's Roar said: "O World-Honoured One! If the Bodhisattva possesses these two adornments, there can be no asking of one or two questions. Why do you, the World-Honoured One, say that you answer one or two? Why? All things have no number of one or two kinds. To state one or two is to answer the need of the common mortal."

The Buddha said: "O good man! If the Bodhisattva did not have one or two adornments, we could not know that there are one or two adornments. If the Bodhisattva has two adornments, we can well know of the one or two kinds. You say that all things are not one or two. But you are wrong. Why? If there is not one or two, how can we say that all things do not have one or two? O good man! If you say that speaking of one or two relates to the phase of the common mortal, this refers to the Bodhisattva of the grade of the ten “bhumis”. Such a person is no common mortal. Why not? "One" refers to Nirvana; "two" relates to birth and death.

"Why is it that "one" is none other than Nirvana? Because it is the Eternal. Why is "two" birth and death? Because of craving [“trisna”] and ignorance. Eternal Nirvana is not a phase of the common mortal; the two of birth and death is again not a phase of the common mortal. Because of this, being perfect in the two adornments, one questions well and answers well.

"O good man! If you desire to know what the Buddha-Nature is, listen carefully, listen carefully. I shall now analyse and explain it to you.

"“O good man! The Buddha-Nature is none other than the All-Void of “Paramartha-satya” [Ultimate Truth]. The All-Void of “Paramartha-satya” is Wisdom. We say "All-Void". This does not refer to no Void [any Voidness], nor non-Void. Knowledge [“jnana”] sees the Void and the non-Void, the Eternal and the non-Eternal, Suffering and Bliss, the Self and the non-Self. The Void refers to all births and deaths. The Non-Void refers to Great Nirvana. And the non-Self is nothing but birth and death. The Self refers to Great Nirvana.

"If one sees the All-Void, but does not see the non-Void, we do not speak of this as the Middle Path. Or if one sees the non-Self of all things, but does not see the Self, we do not call this the Middle Path.

"The Middle Path is the Buddha-Nature. For this reason, the Buddha-Nature is Eternal and there is no change. As ignorance overspreads [them], all beings are unable to see. The sravaka and pratyekabuddha see the All-Void of all things. But they do not see the non-Void. Or they see the non-Self of all things, but they do not see the Self. Because of this, they are unable to gain the All-Void of “Paramartha-satya”. Since they fail to gain the All-Void of “Paramartha-satya”, they fail to enact the Middle Path. Since there is no Middle Path, there is no seeing of the Buddha-Nature."

"O good man! There are three seeings of the Middle Path [i.e. constituting the Middle Path]. The one is the definitely blissful action; the second is the definitely sorrowful action; the third is the sorrow-bliss action.

"We say "definitely blissful action". This is as in the case of the so-called Bodhisattva-mahasattva, who, pitying all beings, lives in Avichi Hell and yet feels things as of the bliss of the third dhyana Heaven.

"We say "definitely sorrowful action", referring to all common mortals.

"We say "sorrow-bliss action". This alludes to sravakas and pratyekabuddhas. The sravakas and pratyekabuddhas experience sorrow and bliss, and gain the thought of the Middle Path. For this reason, thouh a person possesses the Buddha-Nature, he cannot see it well.

"O good man! You say that we speak of the "Buddha-Nature". O good man! The Buddha-Nature is the seed of the Middle Path of the unsurpassed Enlightenment of all Buddhas.

"Also, next, O good man! There are three kinds of way, which are: low, top, and middle. The low refers to the non-eternal of Brahma, in which one mistakes the non-eternal for the Eternal. The top refers to the non-eternal of birth and death, which people wrongly conceive as the Eternal. The Three Jewels that are Eternal are wrongly conceived of as eternal [sic; non-eternal]. Why do we call it the top? Because by it, one well gains unsurpassed Enlightenment.

"The Middle is the All-Void of “Paramartha-satya”. This sees the non-eternal as the non-eternal and the Eternal as the Eternal. The All-Void of “Paramartha-satya” is not made [i.e. designated] "low". Why not? For it is that which all common mortals do not have. We do not call it "top". Why not? Because it is the top [another recension gives "low" here; either meaning is not clear - K. Yamamoto]. The Way of all Buddhas and Bodhisattvas is neither the top nor the low. We call it the Middle Path.

"Also, next, O good man! There are two kinds of original abode of birth and death. The one is ignorance, and the other is clinging to what exists. In between [these] two are the sufferings of birth, old age, illness and death. We call this the Middle Path. This Middle Path well destroys birth and death. That is why we say "Middle". That is why we call the teaching of the Middle Path the Buddha-Nature. Therefore, the Buddha-Nature is the Eternal, Bliss, the Self, and the Pure. All beings do not see this. Hence there is [for them] no Eternity, no Bliss, no Self, and no Purity. The Buddha-Nature is not non-Eternal, not non-Bliss, not non-Self, and not non-Purity.

"O good man! “There is a poor man, in whose house there is a storehouse of treasure. But the man cannot see it. So, there is no Eternity, no Bliss, no Self, and no Purity. There is there a good teacher of the Way, who says to him: "You have a storehouse in your house, in which there is gold. Why is it that you are poor, have worries, and have no Eternity, no Bliss, no Self, and no Purity?" Utilising “[certain] “means, he enables the man to see this. On seeing this, the person gains the Eternal, Bliss, the Self, and the Pure. It is thus. The same is the case with the Buddha-Nature. Beings cannot see [it]. Its not being seen, no Eternity, no Bliss, no Self, and no Purity exists [for them]. The good teacher of the Way, all Buddhas and Bodhisattvas, by enacting the means and telling them various enlightening stories, enable them to see. Through seeing, these beings reach the Eternal, the Bliss, the Self, and the Pure”.

"Also, next, O good man! There are two ways in which beings see. One is "is", and the other is "is-not". Such two are not the Middle Path. When there is no "is" and no "not-is", we have the Middle Path. What sees as not "is" and not "is-not" is the Knowledge [“jnana”] that meditates and perceives the 12 links of interdependence. This kind of Knowledge that sees is the Buddha-Nature. The two vehicles may meditate on causal relations, but such cannot be called Buddha-Nature.

"The Buddha-Nature is Eternal. But all beings cannot see it because of the overspreading of ignorance. They cannot yet cross the waters of the 12 links of interdependence - it is as though they were like hares and horses. Why? Because they cannot see the Buddha-Nature.

"O good man! The Wisdom that can meditate on the 12 links of interdependence is the seed that gains one unsurpassed Enlightenment. For this reason, we call the 12 links of interdependence the Buddha-Nature.

"O good man! For example, we call the cucumber "fever". Why? Because it bears on [relates to, cures] fever. The same is the case with the 12 links of interdependence.

"O good man! The Buddha-Nature has a cause and a cause of the cause; it has a result and a result of the result. "Cause" is the 12 links of interdependence. The cause of the cause is Wisdom. "Result" is unsurpassed Enlightenment. The result of the result is Mahaparinirvana.

"O good man! For example, ignorance is the cause and all actions the result. "Action" is the cause, and consciousness is the result. Because of this, the body of ignorance is the cause and also the cause of the cause. Consciousness is the result and, also, the result of the result. The same is the case with the Buddha-Nature.

"O good man! Because of this, the 12 links of interdependence are no going-out and no dying-out, no eternality and no disruption, not one and not two, no coming and no going, no cause and no result. O good man! It  is the cause and not the result, as in the case of the Buddha-Nature. It is the result and not the cause, as in the case of Great Nirvana; it is the cause and it is the result, as in the case of the 12 links of interdependence. Causeless and resultless is the Buddha-Nature. As it does not arise out of causality, it is eternal and it knows no change. That is why I say in the sutra: "The meaning of the 12 links of interdependence is deep-rooted and none can grasp, see or conceive it. All [these] are things of the world of all Buddhas and Bodhisattvas. It is not within the reach of sravakas and pratyekabuddhas to attain."

"Why is it that things are deep-rooted? What all beings do is non-eternal and non-disruptive. And yet results come about from actions performed. They go off moment after moment, and yet there is not anything that is lost. None may be living, yet there remains the karma. There may be none to receive, yet there is the karmic result. The one who harvests may be gone, but the result does not die out. Though not to be thought of or to be known, there is harmonization [i.e. coming together of cause and result]. All beings journey along with the 12 links of interdependence, which they do not see or know. Not seeing or knowing, there is no ending and no beginning. The Bodhisattvas of the stage of the ten abodes see only the end, but they do not see the beginning. The All-Buddha-World-Honoured One sees the beginning and the end. Thus do all Buddhas clearly see the Buddha-Nature.

"O good man! All beings are unable to see the 12 links of interdependence. Therefore, they ride on the wheel of transmigration. O good man! Just as the silkworm makes a cocoon, gains birth, and dies by itself, so do things proceed with all beings. As they do not see the Buddha-Nature, they generate karma out of defilement and repeat births and deaths, just as a person bounces a ball. O good man! That is why I say in the sutra:  "One who sees the 12 links of interdependence sees Dharma; one who sees Dharma sees the Buddha. “The Buddha is none other than the Buddha-Nature.” “Why so? Because all Buddhas make this their own nature."

"O good man! There are four kinds of Knowledge that see the 12 links of interdependence. These are: 1)low,  2) middle,  3) top,  and 4) topmost. A person of the low position does not see the Buddha-Nature. Not gaining [it], he gains the way of a sravaka. Those of the middle position also do not see the Buddha-Nature. Noting  the Buddha-Nature, they gain the way of the pratyekabuddha. Those of the top see, but not clearly. Not being clear, they live in the soil of the ten abodes. The topmost [persons] see clearly. So they attain unsurpassed Enlightenment. Because of this, we call the 12 links of interdependence the Buddha-Nature. The Buddha-Nature is the All-Void of “Paramartha-satya”. The All-Void of “Paramartha-satya” is the Middle Path. The Middle Path is the Buddha. The Buddha is Nirvana."

Bodhisattva-mahasattva Lion's Roar said to the Buddha: "O World-Honoured One! If no difference exists between the Buddha and the Buddha-Nature, why should all beings particularly need to practise the Way?" The Buddha said: "O good man! Your question is misplaced. “The Buddha and the Buddha-Nature are not different”. But beings are not yet armed therewith.

"O good man! For example, there is a man who abides in evil and kills his mother. Having killed [her], he repents. He is [here performing] one of the three good actions. But this one [i.e. another person] falls into hell. Why? Because this person surely gains hell. Even though this person has none of the five skandhas, the 18 realms and the 12 spheres, yet we call him a person of hell.

"O good man! That is why I say in all the sutras: "Any person who sees another doing good, this is worth [i.e. equal to] seeing a deva [god]; anyone who sees a person doing evil sees hell. Why? Because karmic results surely await such a person."

"O good man! “As all beings will definitely gain unsurpassed Enlightenment, I say that all beings possess the Buddha-Nature”. The beings actually do not possess the 32 signs of perfection and the 80 minor marks of excellence. So, in this sutra, I say in a gatha:

"What originally was is now no longer;

What originally was not, now is;

There can be nothing such as "is"

That obtains in the Three Times."

"O good man! There are three kinds of what exists. One is what comes about in the days to come, the second what actually exists there [now], and the third what was there in the past. “All beings will gain unsurpassed Enlightenment in the days to come.” [This is the Buddha-Nature.] All beings now possess all bonds of defilement. So they do not possess at present the 32 signs of perfection and the 80 minor marks of excellence. Thus, the beings who have cut off the bonds of defilement in the past see, in the present, the Buddha-Nature. So, I always say that beings all possess the Buddha-Nature. I even say that the icchantika [most spiritually blinded of persons] possesses the Buddha-Nature. The icchantika has no good dharma. The Buddha-Nature too  is a good Dharma. As there are the days to come, there is also the possibility for the icchantika to possess the Buddha-Nature. Why? Because all icchantikas can definitely attain unsurpassed Enlightenment.

"O good man! As an example: there is a man who has some cream. People ask: "Do you have any butter?" He answers: "I have". But, truth to tell, cream is not butter. Skilfully worked out [i.e. using skilful means], he is sure to gain it. So he says that he has butter. It is the same with beings. All have the mind. “Anyone with a mind will assuredly reach unsurpassed Enlightenment” [emph. added]. That is why I always say that all beings possess the Buddha-Nature.

"O good man! Of the absolute, there are two kinds. One is the absolute in adornment, and the other the ultimate of the absolute. One is the absolute in the secular sense, and the other the absolute in the supramundane sense. By the absolute in adornment is meant the six paramitas; the ultimate of the absolute is the One Vehicle which beings gain. The One Vehicle is the Buddha-Nature. That is why I say that all beings possess the Buddha-Nature. All beings possess the One Vehicle. As ignorance is spread all over them, they cannot see. O good man! In Uttarakuru, the fruition of Trayastrimsa Heaven cannot be seen by beings because  there is [this] overspreading [of ignorance]. It is the same regarding the Buddha-Nature. Beings cannot see [it] because of the overspreading of defilement.

"Also, next, O good man! “The Buddha-Nature is the Suramgama Samadhi “[deepest state of meditative absorption]”. Its nature is like sarpirmanda “[most delicious and efficacious of all milk-medicines].” It is the mother to all Buddhas. By dint of the power of the Suramgama Samadhi, all Buddhas gain the Eternal, Bliss, the Self, and the Pure” All beings possess the Suramgama Samadhi. Not practising, they cannot. see it. Hence, [there is then] no gaining of unsurpassed Enlightenment.

"O good man! The Suramgama Samadhi has five names, which are:  1) suramgama samadhi,  2) prajnaparamita [transcendent Wisdom],  3) diamond samadhi,  4) lion's roar samadhi,  5) Buddha-Nature. According to the part it takes, it has various names. O good man! Just as a single samadhi gains various names, such as in [connection with] dhyana we say "four dhyanas" [“catvari-dhyanani”], in element "samadhi element", in power "samadhi power", in element "samadhi element" [sic], in rightness "right meditation", and in the eight awakened minds of a great man "right meditation". So does it obtain with the Suramgama Samadhi.

"O good man! All beings are perfect in three samadhis, which are: top, middle, and low. The top refers to the Buddha-Nature. So, we say that all beings possess the Buddha-Nature. By middle is meant that all beings possess the first dhyana. When causal relations are favourable, they can indeed practise; if not, they cannot. Of causal relations, there are two kinds. The one is fire, and the other the bond that destroys the things of the world of desire. So, we say that all beings are perfect in the middle-grade samadhi. The low-grade samadhi is none but the caitta samadhi of the ten mahabhumikas. Though possessing the Buddha-Nature, all beings are unable to see it, being overspread with defilement. The Bodhisattva of the ten abodes sees the One Vehicle, but he does not know that the Tathagata is Eternal. So, though the Bodhisattva of the ten abodes sees the Buddha-Nature, he cannot see it clearly.

“"O good man! “Shuryä” means "the ultimate of all things"; “gon” means "strong". As the ultimate of all things is strong, we say "suramgama". So, the Suramgama Samadhi is made to stand for the Buddha-Nature.

"O good man! I once lived by the River Nairanjana and said to Ananda: "I now intend to bathe in the river. Give me my robe and the washing powder “[soap]”. I then got into the water. All flying birds and those on water and land came and watched. Then there were also 500 Brahmacarins, who lived near the river. They came to me and said: "How can you hope to gain the Adamantine Body? If Gautama does not talk about "not-is", I shall follow him and accord with the rules of food."

"O good man! I, at that time, with mind-reading Wisdom, fathomed the mind of the Bramacarins and said to them: "What do you mean by saying that I talk of "not-is"? All the Brahmacarins said: "You, Gautama, have previously stated, here and there in the sutras, that all beings do not possess the Self. Now you say that there is no Self. How can you say that this is not the "not-is" theory? If “[there is]” no Self, who upholds the precepts and who violates “[them]”? I, the Buddha, said: "I have never said that all beings do not have the Self; I have always said that all beings have the Buddha-Nature. Is not the Buddha-Nature the Self? Thus, I have never spoken of "not-is". All beings do not see the Buddha-Nature. Hence, “[for them there is]” the non-Eternal, non-Self, non-Bliss, and non-Purity. Such are the views of "not-is". Then, all the Brahmacarins, on hearing that the Buddha-Nature is the Self, aspired to the unsurpassed Bodhi “[Enlightenment]” mind, and then, renouncing the world, practised the way of Bodhi. All flying birds and all those on water and land aspired to unsurpassed Bodhi, and having aspired, abandoned their bodies.

"O good man! This Buddha-Nature is, truth to say, no Self “[i.e. no defiled, circumscribed ego”]. For the benefit of beings, I say Self.

"O good man! The Tathagata, when there is reason for “[so]” saying, says that non-Self is the Self. But, truth to say, there is no Self “[there]”. Though I speak thus, there is nothing “[here]” that is false.

"O good man! On account of causal relations, I state Self to be non-Self, “and, yet, truth to tell, there is the Self. It constitutes the world. I state “[this]” as non-Self. But nothing is wrong. The Buddha-Nature is non-Self. The Tathagata says Self. Because there is the quality of the Eternal. The Tathagata is the Self. And yet he states “[this]” as non-Self. Because he has unmolestedness” [i.e. complete freedom, unrestrictedness, the ability to do what he wills].

Then, Bodhisattva Lion's Roar said: "O World-Honoured One! If it is the case that all beings possess the Buddha-Nature like any vajra-guardsman [i.e. a person who holds in his hand a vajra - diamond - and who thus protects the Buddhist teaching], why is it that all beings cannot see it?"

The Buddha said: "O good man! For example, "matter" [“rupa”] has such representational qualities as blue, yellow, red, and white, and long or short, but a blind person cannot see it as such. Though it is not seen, we cannot say that there is no such quality as blue, yellow, red, white, long or short. Why not? Even though the blind person cannot see [it], one who has eyes can see [it]. It is the same with the Buddha-Nature. Even though all beings cannot see [it], the Bodhisattva at the level of the ten stages can see [it] somewhat; the Tathagata sees [it] completely. The Buddha-Nature seen by the Bodhisattva of the ten stages is like colour seen at night. What the Tathagata sees is like colour seen in the daytime.

"O good man! When the eye is blurred, one cannot see colour clearly. A good doctor can cure this. By [the use of] medicine, one comes to see things clearly. It is the same with the Bodhisattva of the ten stages. He can indeed see the Buddha-Nature, but not very clearly. By the power of the Suramgama Samadhi, a person can see [it] clearly.

“"O good man! If a person sees the non-Eternal, non-Self, non-Bliss, and non-Pure of "all" things” [Japanese “issai”, which here means all that can be seen, touched and felt - the material world, i.e. matter],” and sees also the non-Eternal”, “non-Bliss, non-Self, and the non-Pure of the "non-all" [Japanese “hiissai”, which here means the opposite of the concrete, i.e. the abstract],” such a person does not see the Buddha-Nature. "All" alludes to birth and death; "non-all" alludes to the Three Treasures. The sravaka and pratyekabuddha see the non-Eternal, the non-Self, non-Bliss, and the non-Pure of the non-all. Due to this “[i.e. in this sense]”, they cannot see the Buddha-Nature. The Bodhisattva of the ten stages sees the non-Eternal, the non-Self, non-Bliss, and the non-Pure of all things, and sees, in part, the Eternal, Bliss, the Self, and the Pure of the non-all. Because of this, he can see only one tenth. The All-Buddha-World-Honoured One sees the non-Eternal, non-Self, non-Bliss, and the non-Pure of all things and, also, the Eternal, Bliss, the Self, and the Pure of the non-all. Because of this, he sees the Buddha-Nature just as one would see a mango that is “[resting] “in one's own palm. Because of this, the Suramgama Samadhi is the Ultimate”.

"O good man! It is as when one cannot see the first moon. And yet, one cannot say that there is no moon. The same is the case with the Buddha-Nature. All beings may not [be able to] see it, yet we cannot say that there is no Buddha-Nature.

"O good man! The Buddha-Nature is none other than the ten powers, the four fearlessnesses, Great Compassion, and the three thinkings.

"All beings have the three destructions of defilement, and later, by [means of] this, they can see.

"The icchantika first crushes out the icchantika [i.e. ceases to be an icchantika within himself] and then he gains the ten powers, the four fearlessnesses, Great Compassion, and the three thinkings. That is why I always say that all beings posssess the Buddha-Nature.

"O good man! All beings have, all-equally, the 12 links of interdependence. These are the cases of the interior and the exterior.

"What are the 12?

"Defilement from the past is called ignorance [“avidya”].

"Karma from the past is called mental formation [“samskara” - i.e. mental volitions and impulses].

"In this present life, we first gain life in the womb. This is consciousness [“vijnana”].

"After entering the womb, the five parts [i.e. the five limbs or the five parts of the human body, made up of two hands, two feet, and one head] and the four roots [i.e. the four sense-organs of the eye, ear, nose, and mouth] are not yet perfectly formed. This state is called mind-and-body [“nama-rupa”].

"When one has the four roots and when one is not yet in the stage of touch [“sparsa”], this stage is called the six spheres [“sadayatana”].

"When no feeling of suffering or joy has as yet arisen, this stage is called that of touch.

"When one gets attached to a single love, this stage is called feeling [“vedana”].

"When one learns and befriends the five desires, this is craving [“trsihna”].

"When one looks in and out, and has cleaving [i.e. attachment], this is cleaving [“upadana” - clinging].

"When one raises actions in and out in the three categories of body, mouth and mind, this is existence [“bhava”].

"The consciousness that one has in this life is [one's] birth for the days to come [i.e. one's worldly consciousness provides the basis for one's future rebirth], and the body-and-mind, the six spheres, touch, and feeling are the old age, illness, and death of the future. These are the 12 links of interdependence.

"O good man! Although there are these 12 links of interdependent arising, there are cases where things do not so come about. When one dies at the kalala stage, there cannot be the twelve. There can be the twelve when one gets into the stages beginning with birth and ending with old age and death.

"The beings of the world of form do not possess the three kinds of feeling, the three of touch, the three of craving, and there is no old age and no illness. And we can indeed say that there are the twelve.

"The beings of the world of non-form do not have anything of "matter", and there is no ageing and no death. And we can also say that there are the twelve. Because this is gained through meditation. And we can indeed say that beings all-equally possess the 12 links of interdependence.

"O good man! The case is the same with the Buddha-Nature. As all beings can definitely gain unsurpassed Enlightenment, I teach and say that beings have the Buddha-Nature.

"O good man! There is a grass called “ninniku” in the Himalayas. If a cow eats it, that cow will bring forth sarpirmanda.  There is a different kind of grass, which, when eaten, does not bring forth sarpirmanda. Although no sarpirmanda comes forth [in such an instance], we cannot say that there is no ninniku in the Himalayas. It is the same with the Buddha-Nature.

"The Himalayas are the Tathagata, the ninniku is Great Nirvana, the foreign grass is the 12 types of sutra. If beings give ear to, and respect and praise, Mahaparinirvana, they will see the Buddha-Nature.  Even if it is not found in the 12 types of sutra, we cannot say that there is no Buddha-Nature.

“"O good man! The Buddha-Nature is matter, non-matter, non-matter-and-not-non-matter.

"Also, it is a phase of appearance, no phase of appearance, no-phase-of-appearance-and-not-no-phase-of-appearance.

"Also, it is one, not-one, not-one-and-not-not-one.”

“"Also, it is non-eternal and non-disruption, not-non-eternal-and-not-non-disruption.

"It is "is", "is-not", not "is"-and-not-"is-not".

"Also, it is an ending, non-ending, non-ending-and-not-non-ending.

"Also, it is cause, it is result, and it is no-cause-and-no-result.

"Also, it is signification, non-signification, non-signification-and-not-non-signification.

"Also, it is a letter, non-letter, non-letter-and-not-non-letter.

"Why is it matter? Because it is the Adamantine Body.

"Why is it non-matter? Because it is of the Buddha's 18 independent characteristics and is of the category of non-matter.

"Why is it non-matter-and-not-non-matter? Because it has nothing to do with matter, non-matter, and because it has no fixed form.

"Why is it the phase of appearance? Because it has the 32 signs of perfection.

"Why is it that it has no phase of appearance? Because it displays no phase of showing the appearance of all beings.

"Why is it that it has no-phase-of-appearance-and-not-no-phase-of-appearance? Because there is no fixed phase of appearance or not no-fixed-phase-of-appearance.

"Why is it one? Because all beings ride in the One Vehicle.

"Why is it not one? Because three vehicles are spoken of.

"Why is it not-one-and-not-not-one? Because there is no way of counting.

"Why is it non-eternal? Because things are seen by causal relations.

"Why is it non-disruption? Because it is segregated from the world-view of disruption.

"Why is it not-non-eternal-and-not-non-disruption “[the concept of "disruption" is used here for the Japanese term, “dan”, which represents the notion of disruption of continuation. It stands in opposition to the term, "eternal", which is the continuation of an existence or rather the endlessness of an existence.]” Because there is no-end and no-beginning.

"Why do we say "is"? Because there do actually exist all beings.

"Why is it "not-is"? Because one can see it “[i.e. the Buddha-Nature]” by dint of the best expedient.

"Why is it "not-is" and "°not-not-is"? This is because of the nature of the All-Void.

"Why “[i.e. in what sense]” is it that it ends? Because one gains the Suramgama Samadhi.

"Why is it non-ending? Because of the Eternal.

"Why is it non-ending-and-not-non-ending? Because all endings are done away with.

"Why is it the cause? Because the cause is known.

"Why is it the result? Because the result is fixed.

"Why is it non-cause-and-non-result? Because it is the Eternal.

"Why is it signification? Because all are taken into the unhinderedness of signification.

"Why is it non-signification? Because it is not possible to explain “[it].

"Why is it non-signification-and-not-non-signification? Because it is the ultimate All-Void.

"Why is it a letter? Because it has a name to represent “[it].

“"Why is it a non-letter? Because the name has no name which it can have.

"Why is it non-letter-and-not-non-letter? Because it is segregated from the category of letters.

"Why is it non-Suffering-and-non-Bliss? Because it is away from feeling.

"Why is it non-Self? Because there is no arriving at the eight unmolestednesses “[Japanese “hachidaijizaigi”: the eight aspects of unmolestedness or non-restriction which the Self - one of the four attributes of Nirvana - is considered to possess].

"Why is it not non-Self? Because of the quality of the Eternal.

"Why is it non-Self and not non-Self? Because of non-doing and non-receiving.

"Why is it Voidness? Because of “Paramartha-satya”.

"Why is it non-Voidness? Because of the Eternal.

"Why is it non-Voidness-and-not-non-Voidness? Because it indeed serves as the seed of Wonderful Dharma.

"O good man! If any person can meditate upon and understand the signification of the Sutra of Great Nirvana, know that this person sees the Buddha-Nature.

"The Buddha-Nature is inconceivable. It is the world of the All-Buddha-Tathagata. It is not within the compass of conception of sravakas and pratyekabuddhas." 

"O good man! The Buddha-Nature is not within the category of the five skandhas, the 18 realms, or the 12 spheres. It is not what originally was not but is now, nor is it what originally was but is now no longer. It is what beings can only see through causal relations.

"For example, it is like iron, which, when in the fire, is red, but when not and is cooled, is black as before. And this black colour does not exist inside or out. It comes about thus by causal relations. The same is the case with the Buddha-Nature. When the fire of defilement has gone, all beings can see [it].

"O good man! It is as in the case of a seed. The bud comes out and the seed dies. And the nature of the bud exists neither in nor out. It is the same with the flower and with the fruit. This comes out thus, since things are based on causal relations.

"O good man! This All-Wonderful Sutra of Great Nirvana is perfect in innumerable virtues. It is the same with the Buddha-Nature. It accomplishes and is perfect in innumerable virtues."

Then, Bodhisattva-mahasattva Lion's Roar said: "O World-Honoured One! How many laws [dharmas] does a Bodhisattva need to accomplish by [means of] which he can see the Buddha-Nature, yet not very clearly? How many laws does the All-Buddha-World-Honoured One need to accomplish by [means of] which he can see it clearly?"

"O good man! If the Bodhisattva accomplishes 10 things, he will be able to see the Buddha-Nature, and yet to a lesser degree. What are the 10? They are:  1) desiring little,  2) feeling satisfied,  3) quietude,  4) effort,  5) right remembrance,  6) right samadhi,  7) right Wisdom,  8) emancipation,  9) praising emancipation,  10) succouring beings with Great Nirvana."

Bodhisattva Lion's Roar said: "O World-Honoured One! What difference is there between desireing little and feeling satisfied?"

"O good man! Desiring little is not seeking and not taking; feeling satisfied is not feeling regret when one gains little. Desiring little is having little; feeling satisfied means that the mind does not become worried by the things offered.

"O good man! Of desire, there are three kinds, which are:  1) evil desire,  2) great desire,  3) desire for desire's sake. We say "evil desire". A bhiksu may gain greed in his mind, become the head of a great mass [of people], make all priests follow him, make all the four classes of the Buddhist Sangha make offerings unto him, respect, praise, and make much of him, make him preach, first of all others, before the four classes of the Sangha, make all believe in his words, make kings, ministers and rich people pay respect to him, so that they may give him an abundance of clothing, food, drink, bedding, medicine, and the very best types of accommodation. These are desires relative to the temporal life of birth and death. This is evil desire.

"What is great desire? For example, there is a bhiksu who gains greed in his mind, so that he makes himself known among the four classes of the Buddhist Sangha as one who has attained the stage of the first abode [stage] up to the tenth, unsurpassed Bodhi, arhatship, or such others as the [stage of] srotapanna, the four dhyanas, or the fourfold unhindered knowledge - all this is merely for the sake of profit. This is great desire.

"A bhiksu may desire to be born as a Brahma, as Marapapiyans, as an Isvara, a Chakravartin, a Kshatriya, or a Brahmin, so that he can have unrestrictedness. As this is but for profit, such a desire can well be called one for desire's sake.

"If a person is not despoiled by these three evil desires, such a person is one with little desire to possess. By desire is meant the 25 cravings. If a person does not have these 25 cravings, such a person is called one who has little desire to possess. When a person does not seek to possess what he may well expect to have in the days to come, we call this seeking little to possess. The person gains, but does not cling. This is feeling satisfied. Not seeking to be respected is seeking little to possess. A person may obtain things, but if he does not seek to hoard them up, this is feeling satisfied.

"O good man! There is a situation where one has little seeking to possess, but which cannot be called a state where one is satisfied; and also there is a situation where one is satisfied, and yet this is not what one could well call a state where one is satisfied. Also, there is a situation where one  has little seeking to possess and yet is satisfied; also, there is a situation where one does not have little seeking to possess and is not satisfied. Seeking little to possess refers to the srotapanna, and feeling satisfied refers to the pratyekabuddha. Seeking little to possesss and not feeling satisfied refers to the so-called Bodhisattva.

"O good man! There are two kinds of seeking little to possess and feeling satisfied. The one is good, and the other non-good. Non-good refers to the so-called common mortal, and good to the holy persons and the Bodhisattvas. All holy persons may gain the fruition of the way they have practised, but they will not praise what they have gained. As they do not praise, their minds do not have any worry. This is feeling satisfied.

"O good man! The Bodhisattva-mahasattva studies and practises the Mahayana Sutra of Great Nirvana and sees the Buddha-Nature. Because of this, he practises the way of seeking little to possess and feeling satisfied.

"What is quietude? There are two kinds of it. One is quietude of mind, and the other quietude of body.

"By quietude of body is meant not performing the three evils with the body; by quietude of mind is meant not committing the three evils with the mind. This is having quietude in body and mind.

"Quietude of body means not befriending the four classes of the Sangha, not taking part in the work done by the four classes of the Sangha. By quietude of the mind is meant not generating greed, anger or ignorance. This is quietude of body and mind.

"There may be a bhiksu whose body may find quietude, but whose mind does not find it. Or the mind may be in quietude, but not the body. Or there are cases where the body and mind are in quietude; or where the body and mind are not in quietude.

"We may say that the body is in quietude, but the mind is not. For example, a bhiksu sits in dhyana [meditation], segregating himself from the four classes of the Sangha. But the mind may yet always generate greed, anger and ignorance. This is what we call the body's being in quietude but the mind's not.

"We say that the mind is in quietude, but the body is not. This alludes to the situation where a bhiksu might befriend the four classes of the Sangha, kings, and ministers, and segregates himself from greed, anger and ignorance. This is where we speak of the mind's being in quietude but the body's not.

"We say that body and mind are in quietude. This refers to the Buddha and Bodhisattvas.

"We say that the body and mind are both not in quietude. This refers to all common mortals. Why? Because common mortals may well enjoy quietude in body and mind. Yet they cannot meditate deeply on the non-Eternal, non-Bliss, non-Self, and the non-Pure. For this reason, common mortals cannot have quietude in their actions of body, mouth and mind.

"Such classes of people as the icchantika, those who have committed the four grave offences, and those of the five deadly sins also cannot be called those whose body and mind are in quietude.

"What is effort? There is a bhiksu who desires to purify the actions of his body, mouth and mind, and segregates himself from all evil deeds, amassing all good deeds. This is effort. One such focuses his mind on the six spheres, which are:  1) Buddha,  2) Dharma,  3) Sangha,  4) sila [moral precepts],  5) offerings,  6) heaven. This is right thinking. The samadhi resultant from right thinking is right meditation. One abiding in right meditation sees all things as Void. This is right Wisdom. One perfect in right Wisdom segregates his self from all the bonds of defilement. This is Emancipation.

"The person who has gained Emancipation praises it to all beings and says that this Emancipation is Eternal and Unchanging. This is the correct praising of Emancipation. This is unsurpassed Mahaparinirvana.

“"Nirvana is none other than the extinction of the fire of all the bonds of defilement.

"Also, Nirvana is called a house. Why? Because it well protects one from the evil winds and rains of defilement.

"Also, Nirvana is a refuge. Why? Because it is well beyond all fears of the world.

"Also, Nirvana is a sand-dune. Why? Because the four madding floods of water cannot wash it away. What the these four? They are?  1) the storm of desire,  2) the storm of existence,  3) the storm of the “[wrong] “views of life,  4) the storm of ignorance. For this reason, Nirvana is called the sand-dune.

"Also, Nirvana is the final refuge. Why? Because one arrives at absolute Bliss. If a Bodhisattva-mahasattva accomplishes, and is perfect in, these ten things, he will see the Buddha-Nature, but not quite clearly”.

"Also, next, O good man! Those who have fled from worldly life suffer from four illnesses. Because of this, they are unable to arrive at the four fruitions of a bhiksu. What are the four illnesses? These are the four evil desires for:  1) clothing,  2) food,  3) bedding,  4) existence. These are the four evil desires. These are the illnesses of those who have abandoned worldly life.

"There are four good medicines which will cure these well.

"The pamsukula [i.e. Buddhist robe made from abandoned cloth] well cures the bhiksu's evil craving for clothing.

"Alms-begging well cures the evil craving for food.

"The shade under a tree cures the evil craving for bedding.

"Quietude of body and mind well cures the bhiksu's evil craving for existence.

"By these four good medicines, a person can indeed make away with the four illnesses. These are the holy actions. Such holy actions are seeking to possess little and feeling satisfied.

"Quietude comprises four blisses. What are the four? They are:  1) bliss of fleeing from worldly life,  2) bliss of quietude,  3) bliss of eternal extinction [of defilements],  4) ultimate Bliss. These four are quietude. These call forth four efforts. So we say "effort". It accompanies four thinkings. So, we speak of right thinkings. As it accompanies four dhyanas, we say right meditation. We see four Holy Truths. So, we say right Wisdom. This thoroughly makes away with all bonds of defilement. So, we speak of Emancipation. As it reproaches the wrongs of all defilements, we speak of the praising of Emancipation. O good man! The Bodhisattva-mahasattva peacefully abides in all these ten things., and he can see the Buddha-Nature, but not very clearly.

"Also, next, O good man! The Bodhisattva-mahasattva, having listened well to this sutra, befriends it, practises the Way, and segregates himself from worldly life. This is seeking little to possess. Renouncing the world, he feels no regret. This is feeling satisfied. Feeling satisfied, he seeks lonely places and segregates himself from all noise. This is all-silent quietude. Those who do not feel satisfied do not desire to be in a lonely and quiet place; those who are satisfied seek a lonely and quiet place. In a quiet place, he [i.e. the Bodhisattva] always thinks: "People all say that I have attained the end of a sramana's quest of the Way. But I have not yet reached it. How could I now deceive others?" Thinking thus, he makes effort and learns the end of a sramana's attainment of the Way. This is effort.

"One who befriends and practises the Way of Great Nirvana is one who abides in right thinking. He follows the way of heaven. This is right meditation. He abides in this samadhi and sees things rightly. This is right Wisdom. One who sees things rightly thoroughly cuts off the bond of defilement. This is Emancipation. The Bodhisattva of the ten stages truly praises Nirvana. This is the praising of Emancipation. O good man! The Bodhisattva-mahasattva abides in these ten items and sees the Buddha-Nature, yet not clearly.

"Also, next, O good man! We speak of seeking to possess but little. A bhiksu sits in a lonely and quiet place. He sits rigidly and does not recline. Or he lives under a tree, or amidst graves, or in the open; or he sits on grass. He goes alms-begging, begs for food, and having partaken of it, he is satisfied. Or it may be one meal for a sitting. He only keeps three robes, which are those made from abandoned rags or woolen cloth. This is seeking to possess but little. Living thus, he does not feel regret. This is feeling satisfied. He practises the samadhi of the Void. This is quietude. Perfect in the four fruitions, he has no moment of rest from attaining unsurpassed Bodhi. This is effort.

"His mind set, he meditates on the fact that the Tathagata is the Eternal and that he is Unchanging. This is right thinking. He practises the eight emancipations. This is right dhyana. He gains the four unhinderednesses. This is right Wisdom. He segregates himself from the seven defilements. This is Emancipation. He praises Nirvana and says that Nirvana does not possess the ten aspects of life. This is praising Emancipation. The ten aspects of life are: birth, ageing, illness, death, colour, sound, smell, taste, touch, and impermanence. When one is segregated from these ten, we say that we have attained Nirvana. O good man! This is why we say that when the Bodhisattva-mahasattva abides in and perfects the ten items, he sees the Buddha-Nature, but not clearly.

"Also, next, O good man! Due to much craving, a person associates with kings, ministers, rich men, Kshatriyas, Brahmins, Vaishyas, and Sudras, and says: "I have attained the fruitions of the srotapanna up to arhatship". For profit, he walks, stands, sits, reclines, and answers the call of nature. Seeing a danapati, he shows respect, approaches and talks. One who breaks away from evil cravings is one who has little craving. Although he has not done away with bonds and worries, he indeed goes where the Tathagata goes. This is feeling satisfied.

"O good man! The above two are the nearest causal relations for thinking of meditation. Teachers and students always praise them. I, too, in the sutras, have praised these two items. Any person who can be perfect in these two items draws close to the gates of Nirvana. This extends to the five blisses. This is quietude. One who rigidly upholds sila [morality] is called one who makes effort. One who repents is one of right thinking. One who sees no aspect of mind is one in right meditation. One who does not seek the characteristics and causal relations of all things is one of right Wisdom. As there is no exterior aspect, defilement goes away. This is Emancipation. Thus praising the Sutra of Gret Nirvana is called the praising of Emancipation. O good man! This is what [we mean when] we say that the Bodhisattva-mahasattva peacefully abides in the ten items and sees the Buddha-nature, though not yet quite clearly.

"O good man! You ask: "With what eye does the Bodhisattva of the ten stages see the Buddha-Nature, but see it not quite clearly, and with what eye does the World-Honoured One see the Buddha-Nature clearly?" O good man! With the Eye of Wisdom one sees it not quite clearly; with the Buddha-Eye, one sees it clearly. When one is in Bodhi practice, there is no clearness; with nothing to practise, one sees all clearly. When one has nothing more to practise, one sees clearly. When one abides in the ten stages, one does not see quite clearly. When one does not need to stand or move about, clearness comes about. Because of the causal relations of Wisdom, the Bodhisattva-mahasattva cannot see clearly. The All-Buddha-World-Honoured One is out of the realm of causal relations. It is due to this that he sees clearly. One awakened to all things is the Buddha-Nature. The Bodhisattva of the ten stages cannot be called awakened to all things. Because of this, though he sees, he does not see things clearly.

"O good man! Of seeing, there are two kinds. One is seeing with the eye; the other is hearing and seeing. The All-Buddha-World-Honoured One sees the Buddha-Nature with the eye, in the [same] way in which one sees an amra [mango] that is in one's own hand. The Bodhisattva of the ten stages sees the Buddha-Nature through hearing. Hence, not quite clearly. The Bodhisattva of the ten stages knows well that he will definitely attain unsurpassed Enlightenment. And yet he does not know that all beings have the Buddha-Nature.

"O good man! Further, there is seeing by means of the eye. The All-Buddha-Tathagata and the Bodhisattva of the ten stages see the Buddha-Nature with the eye. Also, there is hearing and seeing. All beings and those of the ninth “bhumi” [stage] hear and see the Buddha-Nature. The Bodhisattva may hear that all beings possess the Buddha-Nature. But if he does not believe in this, this is no hearing and seeing."