Nirvana Sutra

Appreciation of the "Mahayana Mahaparinirvana Sutra"

"Nirvana Sutra" Continued (Z21)

 

Chapter Forty-Six: On Kaundinya (b)

 

Also, there was a Brahmacarin by the name of "Pure", who said: "O Gautama! What do all beings not know as a result of which they do not see the eternal and non-eternal of the world, and also the eternal-non-eternal, not eternal and not non-eternal, down to not-gone and not not-gone?"

The Buddha said: "O good man! Not knowing material form down to not knowing consciousness [i.e. the five skandhas], a person does not see the eternal, down to the not-gone and not not-gone of the world."

The Brahmacarin said: "O Gautama! What do beings know, so that they do not see the eternal of the world, down to the not-gone and not not-gone?"

The Buddha said: "O good man! They know material form down to consciousness, so that they do not see the eternal, down to the not-gone and the not not-gone."

The Brahmacarin said: "O World-Honoured One! Please condescend to expound to me the eternal and the non-eternal of the world."

The Buddha said: "O good man! If one casts away the old, and does not create new karma, one truly knows the eternal and the non-eternal."

The Brahmacarin said: "O World-Honoured One! I now know."

The Buddha said: "O good man! In what way do you see and know?"

"O World-Honoured One! What is old is ignorance and craving, and the new is cleaving and [phenomenal, samsaric] existence. If one segregates one's self from the eternal and the non-eternal and has no more cleaving and existence, one will know the true nature of the eternal and the non-eternal. I have now acquired the pure eye of Wonderful Dharma, and I take refuge in the Three Treasures. O Tathagata! Admit me into the Order!"

The Buddha said to Kaundinya: "Admit this Brahmacarin into the Order and let him receive sila."

At these words of the Buddha's, Kaundinya took the man and went to the gathering of monks, and through the ritualistic procedure of karman, the man was admitted into the Order. After 15 days, all his defilements having been eternally extirpated, the man attained arhatship.

Also, the Brahmacarin, Vatsiputriya, said: "O Gautama! I now wish to put some questions to you. Will you indeed allow me to do so?"

The Tathagata sat silently. At the second and third time, he said nothing.

Vatisiputriya said again: "O Gautama! I have long been on friendly terms with you. We could not be two [i.e. divergent] in our acceptations [understanding] in any way. I desire to ask. Why are you silent?"

The World-Honoured One thought: "It is thus, O Brahmacarin! Your nature is gentle and graceful, pure, good, and innocent. You always seek to know. This is not to cause worry to others. I shall answer, to accord with your wish."

The Buddha said: "Well said, well said, O Vatsiputriya! I shall answer what you desire to know."

Vatsiputriya said: "O Gautama! Is there in the world what may be termed "good"?

"It is thus, O Vatsiputriya!"  

"Is there "non-good?"

"Yes, that is so."

"O Gautama! Please expound the good and the non-good to me."

The Buddha said: "O good man! I shall speak extensively about it. I shall now analyse and explain [matters] to you in a concise way. Desire is non-good; getting emancipated is that which is good. So are anger and ignorance [non-good]. Killing is what is not good; non-killing is what is good. So does it proceed down to the twisted views of life. O good man! I now, for your sake, expound to you the three kinds of what is good and non-good; also the ten kinds of what is good and non-good. If any of my disciples can see the difference between the three kinds of good and non-good, down to the ten kinds of good and non-good, such will indeed do away with all such defilements as desire, anger, and ignorance, and will cut off what is "is" [i.e. samsarically driven, imperfect, ever-changing, phenomenal existence]."