Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Lankavatara Sutra Chapter 3, Section LXVIII

As usual, I'm using this translation, and of course nobody authorized me to say anything.  Take my words at your own risk.

This section is about, "the characteristics of our deep attachment to existence and of our detachment from it" so as to "behave ourselves with effortlessness like the moon, the sun, the jewel, and the elements" to enter the "stage and abode of Buddhahood" so as to free all beings "from the dualistic notion of being and non-being," birth and destruction, to "establish ourselves where there is a revulsion at the deepest recesses [of our consciousness], which is more than words [can express]."

The Buddha replies that there are numerous attachments

to signs of individuality, to causation, to the notion of being and non-being, to the discrimination of birth and no-birth, to the discrimination of cessation and no-cessation, to the discrimination of vehicle and no-vehicle, of Samskrita and Asamskrita, of the characteristics of the stages and no-stages, and the attachment to discrimination itself, and to that arising from enlightenment, the attachment to the discrimination of being and non-being on which the philosophers are so dependent, and the attachment to the triple vehicle and the one vehicle, which are discriminated.

 And there are those (of us? including us?) that seek to wrap others as well as themselves in attachments like silkworms wrapping a thread which charms them.

Further, Mahamati, there are three attachments deep-seated in the minds of the ignorant and simple-minded. They are greed, anger, and folly; and thus there is desire which is procreative and is accompanied by joy and greed; closely attached to this there takes place a succession of births in the [five] paths. Thus there are the five paths of existence for all beings who are found closely attached [to greed, anger, and folly]. When one is cut off from this attachment,  no signs will be seen indicative of attachment or of non-attachment....

Further, Mahamati, depending upon and attaching to the triple combination which works in unison, there is the continuation of the Vijnanas incessantly functioning; and because of the attachment there is a continued and deep-felt assertion of existence. When the triple combination which causes the functioning of the Vijnanas no more takes place, there is the triple emancipation, and when this is kept in view, there is no rising of any combination. So it is said:
The imagining of things not existent—this is characteristic of attachment [deeply seated in all beings]; when the truth of this is thoroughly understood, the net of attachment is cleared away.

 The "five paths" referred to here may mean existences among the realms of the gods, the Asuras, mankind, the animals, hungry ghosts, and Yama's abode, which can be taken to mean all possible realms of existence, as this layman reads it.

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