Thursday, July 08, 2010

Lankavatara Sutra Chapter 3, Section LXXVI

I'm using the usual translation....and as usual, I'm not authorized to say a word by a teacher;  my words and comments  are mine.

There's a lot in this section,  and I've just got enough time to scrape the surface here...

The Tathagata is not a non-entity; nor is he to be conceived as all things are, as neither born nor disappearing; nor is he to look around for causation [in order to appear before others]; nor is he without signification; so the Buddha  refers to him as unborn.

The Buddha  comes...

...within the range of hearing of ignorant people, in this world of patience, under many names, amounting to a hundred thousand times three asamkhyeyas, and they address me by these names not knowing that they are all other names of the Tathagata. Of these, Mahamati, some recognise me as the Tathagata, some as the Self-existent One, some as Leader, as Vinayaka (Remover), as Parinayaka (Guide), as Buddha, as Rishi (Ascetic), as Bull-king, as Brahma, as Vishnu, as Isvara, as Original Source (pradhana), as Kapila, as Bhutanta (End of Reality), as Arishta, as Nemina, as Soma (moon), as the Sun, as Rama, as Vyasa, as Suka, as Indra, as Balin, as Varuna, as is known to some; while others recognise me as One who is never born and never passes away, as Emptiness, as Suchness, as Truth, as Reality, as Limit of Reality, as the Dharmadhatu, as Nirvana, as the Eternal, as Sameness, as Non-duality, as the Undying, as the Formless, as Causation, as the Doctrine of Buddha-cause, as Emancipation, as the Truth of the Path, as the All-Knower, as the Victor, as the Will-made Mind. Mahamati, thus in full possession of one hundred thousand times three asamkhyeyas of appellations, neither more nor less, in this world and in other worlds, I am known to the peoples, like the moon in water which is neither in it nor out of it. 

That part  parallels a part of the Lotus Sutra, about the expediency of Avolokitesvara.

The other big point about this section is the simple dictum "not to become attached to the words of the canonical texts."  Yet this is meant in the same way as non-attachment in general: not to become attached to the repudiation of the canonical texts nor attached to the meaning of the canonical texts.

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