on the Perfection of Patience
Part One of Two
Beta Translation by Dharmamitra
The Treatise on the Great Perfection of Wisdom
Section Twenty-four: The Explanation of the Meaning of Chapter One's
Sutra: Because the mind does not move, one should perfect k.saanti
Question: What is meant by "k.saanti"?
Response: (In the language of Ch'in, k.saanti means patience.)(1) Patience
is of two types: patience with respect to beings and patience with respect
When the bodhisattva practices patience with respect to beings he gains an
incalculable measure of merit. When he practices patience with respect to
dharmas he gains an incalculable measure of wisdom. Because he perfects
the two factors of merit and wisdom his achievement accord with his
aspirations. This is analogous to a person who, because he possesses both
eyes and feet, is able to reach wherever his mind intends. If the
bodhisattva encounters harsh speech or cursing or if he is set upon with
knives or clubs, he reflects and realizes that they are the karmic causes
and conditions resulting from offenses and merit, and that all dharmas,
whether subject-related or object-related are ultimately empty, devoid of
self and devoid of anything belonging to a self. Although he may have the
power to respond in kind, because the three dharmic imprints (dharmamudraa)
imprint all dharmas, he does not produce evil thoughts and does not bring
forth the karma of harsh speech.(2) At that time a dharma belonging to the
mind arises which is known as "patience." Because he has gained this
dharma of patience, patience and wisdom become durable and solidly
established. This is analogous to painting. If the pigments are mixed with
a binder, then they adhere solidly.
There are those who say that the mind of goodness is of two types. There
is the coarse and there is the subtle. The coarse is characterized by
patience and the subtle is characterized by dhyana absorption. When one
has not yet gained the mental bliss of dhyana absorption but is still able
to block himself off from committing the manifold evils, this is [goodness
characterized by] patience. When the mind has gained the mental bliss of
dhyana absorption and so does not engage in the manifold evils this is
[goodness characterized by] dhyana absorption.
This patience is a dharma belonging to the mind. It is interactive with
the mind and follows along with the actions of the mind. It is not the
case that it is karma in and of itself and it is not the case that it
occurs as a karmic retribution. It occurs in conjunction with karmic
There are those who say that it is connected with two of the [three]
realms. There are those who say that it is connected only with the desire
realm or that it has no [such] connections. This is because there are no
external evils to be endured in the form realm. It may either be attended
by outflows or characterized by the absence of outflows. This is because
it may be gained by either the common person or the arya. Because one
blocks off unwholesome dharmas originating in both one's own mind and the
minds of others it is referred to as "good." Because it is good it may
involve severance through consideration or perhaps may not involve
severance. There are all sorts of other issues such as these which are
extensively distinguished in the Abhidharma.
Question: What is meant by patience with respect to beings?
Response: There are two kinds of beings which come and approach the
bodhisattva: The first are those who are respectful and who contribute
offerings. The second are those who are hateful, who scold and who bring
injury through blows. At such times the mind of the bodhisattva is able to
be patient. He does not feel affection for the beings who contribute
offerings nor does he hate those beings who heap evil upon him. This
constitutes patience with respect to beings.
Question: How is it that one can speak of "patience" with regard to
respectfulness and the giving of offerings?
Response: There are two kinds of fetters: The first are the fetters which
belong to the sphere of affection. The second are those fetters which
belong to the sphere of hatefulness. Although respectfulness and the
giving of offerings do not generate hatefulness, they cause the mind to
become affectionately attached. These are known as the soft thieves. Hence
one should cause himself to be patient with these things so that he is not
attached or moved by affection. How is one able to be patient? One
contemplates that they are impermanent and that they constitute a point
for the potential arisal of the fetters. As stated by the Buddha, the
wounds which occur through offerings go deep. It is as if they cut through
the skin and reach the flesh, cut through the flesh and reach the bone,
and then break through the bones and reached the marrow. When a person
becomes attached to offerings then he breaks through the skin of upholding
the precepts, cuts into the flesh of dhyana absorption, breaks through the
bones of wisdom, and brings about loss of the marrow of the subtle and
marvelous mind of goodness.
This principle is exemplified by a case which began when the Buddha first
roamed to the state of Kapilavastu. He went together with 1,250 bhikshus,
all of whom had the physical appearance of brahmacaarins. Because they had
previously been involved in making offerings to fire, their form and
appearance were haggard. Because they had previously been engaged in the
ascetic practice of fasting, their skin and flesh were emaciated and
black. King Shuddhodana thought to himself, "Although my son's retinue is
pure in mind and pure in conduct they are utterly lacking as regards their
appearance. I should select from among those families with many sons and
grandsons and have each send one man to be a disciple of the Buddha."
After he had this thought he issued an edict throughout the country so as
to be able to select from among the sons of the Shakyan nobility. Those
who came forth in response to the official declaration were all ordered to
leave the home life.
At this time, Devadatta, the son of King Dro.nadana, left the home life,
studied the Way and memorized the 60,000-section Dharma collection. He was
vigorous in his cultivation for a full twelve years. Afterwards, for the
sake of the benefit of offerings, he came to the place where the Buddha
was and sought to study the superknowledges (abhij "Gautama, if you
contemplate the impermanence of the five aggregates you can succeed in
gaining the Way and will also gain the superknowledges." But he did not
instruct him in the method of obtaining the superknowledges.
Devadatta left and sought this same thing from Shariputra, from
Maudgalyaayana and eventually from five hundred arhats. None of them would
explain it to him, saying instead, "You should contemplate the
impermanence of the five aggregates. You can thereby gain the Way and can
also gain the superknowledges."
He did not get what he was seeking and so wept and felt unhappy. He went
to where Ananda was and sought to study the superknowledges. At this time
Ananda had not yet achieved the knowledge of others thoughts (paracittajnaana).
Out of respect for his elder brother he passed these techniques on to
Devadatta as they had been explained to him by the Buddha. Having gotten
the method for studying the superknowledges, he went into the mountains
and before long gained the five superknowledges.
After he had gained the five superknowledges he thought to himself, "Who
should become my daanapati?(3) There is, for instance, Prince Ajaatashatru.
He possesses the features of a great king." Seeking to become his close
intimate, he went up to the heavens and acquired heavenly food. Returning
by way of Uttaravatii, he obtained some "spontaneous" rice. Finally, he
went to the Jambu forest, got some Jambu fruit, and then presented them to
Prince Ajaatashatru. Sometimes he would transform himself into a precious
elephant or into a precious horse so as to play tricks on the Prince's
mind. At other times he would become an infant and sit on his knee. The
Prince would cradle him in his arms and he would coo and gurgle and drool.
Each time he did this, he would utter his own name thereby causing the
Prince to become aware of it. He manifest all sorts of unusual appearances
in order to move the Prince's mind. The Prince's mind was tricked by this.
In the Ambavana park he built an immense vihaara.(4) He prepared the four
kinds of offerings as well as all sorts of other assorted gifts There was
nothing not present in abundance. He provided them all to Devadatta. Each
day he brought along all of the great officials and personally presented
five hundred dishes of fine foods with rice.
Devadatta received offerings in great measure and yet his following of
disciples was very small in number. He thought to himself, "I possess
thirty of the marks of a great man, only slightly less than the Buddha. It
is only that I have not yet had disciples gathering around me. If I was
surrounded by a great assembly, how would I be any different from the
Buddha?" After having had thoughts like this he developed the idea to
break up the Sangha and so gain five hundred disciples. Shariputra and
Maudgalyaayana spoke Dharma and provided instruction. As a result the
Sangha became harmonious and united again.
Devadatta then had the evil idea to pushing down [a boulder] from the
mountain to crush the Buddha. A vajra-bearing stalwart intervened from a
distance by throwing his vajra cudgel [to deflect it]. A broken piece of
the boulder rolled up and injured the Buddha's toe. Floral Appearance
Bhikshuni(5) rebuked Devadatta who responded by striking the bhikshuni
with his fist. The bhikshuni's eyes popped out [from the force of the
blow] and she immediately died.
He committed three nefarious offenses and drew close to such evil and
fallacy-promoting non-buddhist masters as Puura.na. He severed all roots
of goodness and his mind became devoid of shame or regret. Additionally,
he imbedded a noxious poison under his fingernails, wishing to take the
occasion of bowing to the Buddha to injure the Buddha through poisoning.
He was about to proceed but had not yet arrived when the earth in the city
of the House of Kings spontaneously split open and a fiery carriage came
forth. It took him on board and transported him, still alive, down into
Devadatta's body possessed thirty of the marks of a great man and yet he
was unable to resist and overcome his own mind. For the sake of the
benefits of offerings he created great offenses and entered the hells
while still alive. It is for this reason that it is said that the wounds
inflicted by offerings go deep, breaking through the skin and reaching to
One should cast off and get rid of the mind which feels affection for
those persons who make offerings. This is what is meant by the
bodhisattva's mind of patience not becoming affectionately attached to
those persons who make offerings or demonstrate respect.
Moreover, there are three kinds of offerings: The first are those which
come on account of the causes and conditions associated with past-life
merit. The second are those where one receives respect and offerings from
people on account of the present life merit associated with cultivating
the precepts, dhyana absorption and wisdom. The third are those where one
gains offerings through falseness and pretense by deceiving others at the
time when, although one is inwardly devoid of actual meritorious
qualities, one makes it appear outwardly as if one is utterly pure.
With respect to these three kinds of offerings one should consider to
oneself, "If one now obtains offerings through the causes and conditions
of former lives wherein one diligently cultivated merit, this is just
something which has been created through personal diligence and thus
naturally obtained. What would be the point in becoming haughty over
something like this? This is just like planting in the spring and reaping
in the fall. This is something gained individually through the application
of one's own strength. What in it is sufficient cause for arrogance?"
After one has considered in this manner one is able to endure and overcome
his own mind so that he is able to refrain from being attached or
If on account of efforts in the present life one has merit and so obtains
offerings, one should think to oneself, "This comes to me on account of
wisdom, whether through understanding the reality mark of all dharmas or
whether through being able to cut off the fetters. It is on account of
this merit. When this person makes offerings it has nothing to do with
me." After having considered in this fashion one naturally overcomes his
own thoughts and is not arrogant or condescending. [One also realizes],
"Truly, this is a case of having a fondness for merit. It is not that they
are fond of me."
This is comparable to the case of the Kashmiri tripi.taka master bhikshu
who cultivated the dharma of the ara.nya(6) and who went to one of the
King's temples. The temple had set up a great convocation. The person who
guarded the door observed the coarse and low-quality nature of his robes
and so blocked the door and did not allow him to go on ahead. In this
manner, time and time again, on account of his robes being of low quality,
he was never allowed to go on forward. Then he employed the skillful means
of borrowing a fine robe before coming. The doorman observed this and
permitted him to go forward without restriction. Having arrived at a seat
in the convocation he obtained all manner of fine foods. Before [eating
the food] he first presented it to his robes. Everyone asked him, "Why do
you do that?"
He replied, "I have recently come here repeatedly and each time have been
unable to gain entry. Now, on account of the robes, I have been able to
sit in this seat and obtain all kinds of fine food. It is actually on
account of the robes that I have obtained it. It is for this reason that I
present it to the robes."
When one obtains offerings on account of the merit of cultivation, on
account of upholding the precepts and on account of wisdom, the
practitioner should think to himself, "This is on account of merit. It is
not the case that it is on account of me." When one contemplates in this
fashion and is then able to overcome his own thoughts, this is known as
If one were to gain offerings through falseness and deception, this would
constitute self-destruction and thus it is something one cannot approach.
One should consider to himself, "If I were to employ this falseness and
obtain offerings as a result, it would be no different from an evil thief
committing a robbery to get his food. This would constitute falling into
the offense of deception.
When in this fashion one's mind refrains from becoming affectionately
attached to the three types of offering-bearing persons while also
refraining from arrogance, this constitutes patience with respect to
Question: When a person has not yet gained the Way, clothing and food are
urgent issues. How does one adopt a skillful means whereby one gains that
patience which prevents the mind from becoming attached and which prevents
one from developing affection for benefactors?
Response: One employs the power of wisdom to contemplate the mark of
impermanence, the mark of suffering and the mark of being devoid of a self
so that the mind is in a state of constant renunciation and concern on
this account. This is analogous to the criminal who is drawing close to
the time of undergoing corporeal punishment. Even though he may have fine
flavors set before him, even though his family may have come to offer him
encouragement, and even though the refreshments and meals may be the most
exquisite cuisine, on account of being distressed over the thought of
dying, he is unaware of its distinctive taste. The practitioner is just
like this. He constantly contemplates the mark of impermanence and the
mark of suffering. Although he obtains offerings, still, his mind is not
This is also analogous to the antelope (jang, a.k.a. Moschus chinloo)
which is hotly pursued by the tiger and is not able to lose him
completely. Although he gets fine grasses and the best water, when he is
drinking and eating his mind is devoid of defiling attachments. The
practitioner is also just like this. He is constantly pursued by the tiger
of impermanence and is unable to escape it for even a moment. His
consideration is characterized by renunciation and abhorrence. Although he
may obtain fine flavors, still, he does not develop defiling attachments.
Therefore, in the midst of people who present offerings, the mind of the
practitioner achieves spontaneous patience.
Furthermore, if it happens that women come who are desirous of sensual
pleasures and who seek to seduce the bodhisattva, at such times the
bodhisattva should overcome his own thoughts, have patience and not allow
them to arise. This situation is comparable to that of Shakyamuni Buddha
beneath the bodhi tree. The king of the demons was distressed and so sent
three of his "jade" daughters. The first was named "Blissful to Behold."
The second was named "Pleasurable to Others." The third was named "Lust."
They came, revealed their bodies and assumed various poses, desiring to
destroy the bodhisattva. At this time the mind of the bodhisattva did not
move for even a moment and he did not lay eyes upon them for even a
The three maidens thought to themselves, "The minds of people are not the
same. That which they are fond of is different in each case. Some are fond
of the young, some are fond of the middle-aged. Some are fond of those who
are tall and some are fond of those who are short. Some are fond of those
who are black and some are fond of those who are white. There are many
preferences like these. Everyone has that of which he is fond."
At this time the three maidens each transformed themselves into five
hundred beautiful maidens. Each of the transformationally-produced maidens
assumed an incalculable number of unusual poses as they emerged from the
forest, like flashes of lightning appearing momentarily from the midst of
black clouds. Some displayed their eyebrows and fluttered their eyelids,
or posed alluringly, or offered subtle gazes. They made many sorts of
music and showed all kinds of seductive mannerisms. They drew close to the
bodhisattva, desiring with posed bodies to touch and pressure the
bodhisattva. At that time the secret vajra-bearing stalwarts bellowed and
glowered hatefully at them, "Who do you think this is that you dare to
approach him seductively to touch and bother him?" At that time those
secret stalwarts uttered a verse in which they scolded them:
You are unaware of the fate of the gods.
They lose what is fine and their beards turn yellow.
The waters of the great sea which were clear and beautiful,
Today are entirely bitter and salty.
You are unaware that your days are diminishing.
All the gods of Vasu are bound to fall.
Fire is originally the mouth [which consumes] the heavens.
And so now everything shall be devoured.
You are unaware of these matters.
Thus you dare to slight this aarya.
At this time the crowd of maidens suddenly retreated a little and spoke to
the bodhisattva, saying, "Now these numerous maidens are beautiful and
adorned beyond compare. They could serve to delight your mind. Why do you
just sit there so uprightly?"
The Bodhisattva said, "You all are impure, foul-smelling, filthy and
detestable. Depart from here and cease this deceptive discourse." At this
time the Bodhisattva then spoke forth a verse, saying,
This body is a thicket of filthiness.
It is but a collection of decaying matter.
This truly is a walking toilet.
What in it is sufficient to please the mind?
When the maidens heard this verse, they thought to themselves, "This man
is unaware of our pure heavenly bodies and thus utters this verse." They
then immediately transformed their bodies, returning to their original
forms. They radiated light which shimmered and illuminated the forest and
proceeded to make heavenly music. They then spoke to the Bodhisattva,
saying, "Since our bodies are like this, what is there to criticize?"
The Bodhisattva replied, saying, "When the time comes you will naturally
They asked, "What do you mean by these words?"
He replied with a verse:
In the parks and forests of the heavens,
And in the seven-jewelled lotus blossom pools,
The gods enjoy sensual pleasures with one another,
And lose track of time as you yourselves know.
At this time one undergoes impermanence.
The pleasures of the gods are all suffering.
You should renounce the pleasures of desire.
Have affection for and pleasure in the right, true Way.
When the maidens had heard this verse, they thought to themselves, "This
man is possessed of a great wisdom which is incalculable. He realizes the
ills inherent even in the pure pleasures of the gods. He is not one who
can be obstructed." They then immediately disappeared.
The bodhisattva contemplates in this fashion the pleasures involved in
sexual desire. He is able to control his own mind. His patience is such
that he is not even slightly moved.
Then again, the bodhisattva contemplates all sorts of impurity in desire.
Of all the kinds of ruination, ruination by women is the most severe. One
may still remain briefly close to such phenomena as knives, fire,
lightning storms, enemies and poisonous snakes. But one cannot grow close
to the miserliness, jealousy, hatred, flattery, seductive defilement,
disputation, greed and anger of a woman. Why? Women are petty people.
Their minds are shallow and their wisdom is scant. Their eyes are only
directed towards desire. They have no regard for wealth, nobility, wisdom,
virtue or fame. They focus on carrying through with the evils of desire
and in destroying a persons roots of goodness. Although one may say that
it is difficult to escape fetters, shackles, the cangue, being confined
and tied up or being imprisoned, these are still [comparatively] easy to
break out of. When the lock of womanhood restrains a man, the defilement
is solid and its roots go deep. One who has no wisdom becomes immersed in
it and finds that it is a difficult thing to escape. Of all of the many
kinds of illness, the female illness is the most severe. This is
exemplified by a verse spoken by the Buddha:
One should rather use red-hot iron
And twist it around in the eyes.
Don't take up the scattered mind
And gaze perversely on the form of a woman.
The subtle smile, the making of gestures,
The arrogance, the shamefulness,
The turn of the head, the inviting gaze,
The lovely words, the jealousy and hate,
The walking along with defiling seductiveness,--
These are used to trick a man
Into the net of lustfulness.
People all trap themselves.
Sitting, lying down, walking or standing,
The sidelong glance turned away and the clever flattery,--
In the case of the foolish man with scant wisdom,
His mind is intoxicated by it.
One can grasp a sword and direct it at an enemy,
In this one can still be victorious,
But when the female insurgent inflicts harm on a man,
This is something which one cannot restrain.
Insects and snakes which possess a poison
Still may be grasped with the hands.
The emotions of women delude a man.
These are such as cannot be touched.
For a man who is possessed of wisdom,
They are such as should not be looked upon.
If one wishes to observe them,
It should be as one would one's mother or sister.
If one uses the gaze of reality to contemplate them,
They are a gathering together which is filled with impurities.
If the fire of lust is not gotten rid of,
One will be utterly burned up by it.
Moreover, as for the characteristics of women, if they encounter a
situation where they are treated with veneration then they cause the
husband's mind to be elevated. If the worshipful emotions slip away, then
they cause the husband's mind to be terrorized. In this fashion, women
constantly deliver emotional afflictions, distress and fearfulness to men.
How can one draw close to them? The offense of women lies in their
substitution of contrariness and estrangement for intimacy and good
feeling. The intelligence of women lies in their ability to cleverly
assess the vulnerabilities of men. A great fire which burns people might
still be approachable. A light breeze which has no form might still be
laid hold of. Poisonous insects and snakes might still be touched. But in
the mind of a woman one can find nothing substantial. Why is this? It is
the mark of women that they have no regard for wealth, nobility,
uprightness and correctness, fame, wisdom, virtue, family background,
artistic ability, eloquence, intimacy or deep love. None of these have
priority in their minds. They only look towards that which they desire.
They act like poisonous dragons which do not discriminate between those
who are fine and those who are disgusting, but which seek only to kill
Moreover, women will pay no attention to anyone who is in distress,
suffering or haggard. Their interest lies in being provided with material
support and worshipful admiration. Their vanity and extravagance are
Additionally, if they are in the company of good people, then they adopt
for themselves a lofty mind. If they are in the company of those who are
lacking in intelligence, they look upon them as if they were enemies. If
they are in the company of the wealthy and noble, they pursue them with
admiring affection. If they are in the company of those who are poor or of
humble station, they look upon them as if they were dogs. They constantly
follow the mind of desire and do not pursue meritorious qualities.(7)
In this connection there once was a king who had a daughter named Kumuda.
There was a fisherman named Shu-pwo-chye. He was walking along the road
when he looked from afar and saw the princess's face in the window of a
tall building. In his imagination he developed thoughts of defiled
attachment which he could not relinquish for even a moment. He went
through days and months during which he was unable to drink or eat. His
mother asked him the reason and he revealed his feelings to his mother, "I
saw the daughter of the King. My mind is unable to forget her."
The mother explained to her son, saying, "You are a man of lesser station.
The daughter of the King is an honored member of the nobility. She is
The son said, "My mind prays for this bliss and is unable to forget it for
even a moment. If I cannot have it as I will it then I will be unable to
go on living."
For the sake of her son the mother entered the palace of the King,
constantly providing gifts of fat fish and fine meats which she left for
the daughter of the King without asking any remuneration. The princess
thought this strange and so asked her what wish she was seeking to
fulfill. The mother addressed the princess, "Pray, dismiss the retainers.
I must relate a personal matter." [She then continued], "I have only one
son. He cherishes a respectful admiration for the daughter of the King.
His feelings have taken hold in a way that has caused him to become ill.
He is not likely to survive much longer. I pray that you will condescend
to have pity on him and give him back his life."
The princess said, "On the fifteenth of the month have him go into
such-and-such a god's shrine and stand behind the image of the god."
The mother returned and told her son, "Your wish has already been
fulfilled." She then described what had transpired. He bathed, put on new
clothes and stood behind the image of the god.
When the time came, the princess told her father the King, "I have
something inauspicious which has come up. I must go to the shrine of the
god and seek for auspiciousness and blessings."
The King replied, "That is very good." He then had five hundred carriages
adorned which proceeded to the shrine of the god. Having arrived, she
ordered her retainers to close the doors and wait as she entered the
shrine alone. The heavenly spirit thought, "This should not be this way.
The King is the lord of the land. I cannot allow this petty man to destroy
and dishonor the princess." He then caused the man to become tired and to
fall into a sleep from which he did not awaken. Having entered, the
princess saw him sleeping. She shook him very hard and yet he did not
awaken. She left him a necklace worth a hundred thousand double-ounces of
gold and then went away. After she had left, this man was able to awaken
and see that the necklace was there. Next, he asked a person in the crowd
and knew that the King's daughter had come. Because he was unable to
follow up on his infatuation he became distressed, full of regret and
overcome with the affliction of grief. The fire of lust broke loose within
him. He was burned up by it and then died.
With this as evidence one therefore knows that the mind of a woman is such
that she does not distinguish between the noble and the base but is only
concerned with following her desires.
Again, there once was the daughter of a king who pursued a caîàÀla and
consummated impure acts with him. Also, there once was the daughter of a
rishi who followed after and pursued a lion. All sorts of examples such as
these demonstrate that a woman's mind is unable to be selective in this
regard. On account of all sorts of such reasons one should gets rid of
emotional desires towards women and patiently refrain from affectionate
attachment to them.
How does one succeed in being patient in the midst of people who are
hateful and tormenting? One should consider to oneself, "All beings
possess the causes and conditions of offenses and alternate in attacking
and harming one another. That I now undergo torment is also owing to
causes and conditions from actions in previous lives. Although this is not
something I have committed in this present life, it is the retribution for
evil committed in a previous life. I am now paying for it. I should accept
it agreeably. How could I go against it?" This is analogous to owing a
debt. When the lender asks for it, one ought to repay it happily. One
can't get angry over it.
Moreover, the practitioner constantly implements thoughts of
loving-kindness. Although there may be torment and chaos forced on his
person, he must certainly be able to have patience and undergo it.
This is exemplified by the rishi who practiced k.saanti. He dwelt in a
great forest where he cultivated patience and practiced loving-kindness.
At that time King Kali brought his courtesans along with him as he entered
the forest to wander and sport about. Having finished his refreshments and
meal the King took a short nap.
The courtesans wandered off amongst the flowers and trees and then saw
this rishi. They offered their reverential respects and then stood off to
one side. At that time, for the sake of the courtesans he spoke in praise
of loving-kindness and patience. His words were so fine and marvelous that
the listeners could not get enough. They remained a long time and would
King Kali woke up and failed to see his courtesans and so picked up his
sword and followed along behind so as to catch up with them. He saw them
standing before the rishi. He became filled up with arrogance and
jealousy. With hate-filled glowering he brandished his sword and demanded
of the rishi, "Just what are you doing?!"
The rishi replied, saying, "I'm abiding here in the cultivation of
patience and the practice of loving-kindness."
The King said, "I'm now going to put you to the test. I'm going to take a
sharp sword and slice off your ears and nose. I'm going to chop off your
hands and feet. If you don't get angry then we'll know that you cultivate
The rishi said, "Do what you will."
The King immediately drew forth his sword and sliced off his ears and nose
and chopped off his hands and feet. He then asked, "Has your mind moved or
He replied, "I cultivate loving-kindness and compassion. The mind has not
The King said, "You are just a single person here. You have no power [in
this situation]. Although you claim that you have not moved, who would
At this time the rishi immediately made a vow, "If I truly cultivate
loving-kindness and patience, the blood ought to turn into milk." The
blood immediately transformed into milk.
The King was both greatly frightened and delighted. He then left, leading
away the courtesans with him. At this time the dragons and spirits of the
forest set loose a cataclysmic storm with thunder and lightning bolts on
account of [his actions toward] this rishi. The King was mortally wounded
by it and, sinking away, he did not return to the palace. And so it is
said that even in the midst of torment and chaos one must practice
Additionally, the bodhisattva cultivates the mind of compassion. All
beings are constantly undergoing manifold sufferings. They dwell in the
womb and are forced through a narrow passageway in which they undergo all
manner of suffering and pain. When they are born they are subjected to
such forceful pressure that it is as if their bones and flesh are crushed.
The cold wind which strikes their bodies more severely than a sword or a
halberd. Hence the Buddha said that among all of the types of suffering,
the suffering of being born is the most intense. In this same fashion the
suffering of growing old, becoming sick and dying are fraught with
difficulty and misery. How could a practitioner add yet more to their
sufferings? This would be like plunging a knife wound into the center of
an open sore.
Additionally, the bodhisattva reminds himself, "I should not be like
everyone else who constantly follows along in the flowing current of birth
and death. I should move against the current and seek to reach its very
source by entering the way of nirvana. All common people, when met with
attack are hateful, when met with benefit are delighted, and when in a
frightening place become fearful. In becoming a bodhisattva I cannot be
like them. Although I have not yet cut off the fetters I should still
exert self-restraint in the cultivation of patience. When tormented and
injured I will not be hateful and when encountering respect and offerings,
I will not be delighted. I should not be fearful of the intense
difficulties involved in the manifold forms of suffering. I should let
flourish the mind of great compassion for the sake of beings."
Moreover if the bodhisattva sees a being coming to afflict him with
torment and chaos he should think to himself, "This is my close friend. He
is also my guru. I must enhance my treatment of him with familial
affection and respectful thoughts. Why? Because if he does not afflict me
with manifold forms of torment then I will be unable to perfect the
practice of patience." It is for this reason that he says, "He is my close
friend and he is also my guru."
Moreover the bodhisattva's awareness accords with the statements of the
Buddha. [And so he considers,] "Throughout beginningless time and in a
boundless number of world systems, beings have been going and coming,
circulating an incalculable number of times through the five destinies. I
myself have been the father, mother and elder and younger brother of these
beings. These beings have also all served as my father, my mother and as
my elder and younger brother. It will be the same in the future as well."
Extrapolating like this [he realizes that] he should not nurture an evil
mind which cherishes hatefulness and harm. He additionally considers,
"Among the beings, those who are of the lineage of the buddhas are
extremely many. If I have hateful intentions towards them then this is
just being hateful towards the buddhas. If I am hateful towards the
buddhas then I am done for." This is exemplified by the earlier discussion
about the pigeon. Even it will succeed in achieving buddhahood. Although
it is but a pigeon now, one may not act slightingly towards it.(8)
Additionally, among all of the sorts of affliction, hatefulness is the
most serious. Among all of the retributions for committing bad acts, the
retribution for hatred is the greatest. The other fetters do not have such
severe punishments. This is demonstrated in Shakra Devaanaam Indra's verse
in which he queried the Buddha:
What thing is it that slays one's peace and security?
What thing is it that, if slain, one has no regrets?
What thing is it that is the root of poisonousness?
And which devours and destroys every form of good?
What thing is it that one slays and then is praised?
What thing is it that, once slain, results in no more distress?
The Buddha replied with a verse in which he said:
When one slays hatred the mind will be peaceful and secure.
When one slays hatred the mind will have no regrets.
Hatred is the root of poisonousness.
Hatred destroys every form of good.
When one slays hatred, all buddhas offer praise.
If one slays hatred one has no more distress.
The bodhisattva considers, "I now practice compassion. I wish to cause
beings to gain happiness. Hatred devours and destroys all forms of
goodness. It visits poisonous injury on everyone. How then could I engage
in such a severe offense? If one possesses hatefulness one loses even
one's own happiness and benefit. How could one be able thus to cause other
beings to gain happiness?"
Moreover, all buddhas and bodhisattvas take the great compassion as their
foundation. They come forth from compassion. Hatred is the poison which
destroys compassion. In that connection it is especially inappropriate. If
one destroys the foundation of compassion, how can one be called a
bodhisattva? From what does a bodhisattva emerge? It is for these reasons
that one should cultivate patience.
If beings visit all manner of hatred and torment upon one, then one should
remain mindful of their meritorious qualities, thinking, "Now, although
this being has committed this one offense, still, aside from this he
possesses all sorts of other marvelous meritorious qualities. On account
of his possessing these meritorious qualities one should refrain from
being hateful. Additionally, if this person curses me or strikes me he is
helping to refine me. This is analogous to a goldsmith's refining of gold
where the impurities are gotten rid of with fire so that only true gold
remains. This is just the same. If I encounter punishments then this
derives from the causes and conditions of earlier lifetimes. I should now
go about paying off this debt and so should not be hateful. I should
exercise patience in this matter."
Furthermore, the bodhisattva brings loving-kindness to his mindfulness of
beings just as if they were infants, thinking, "The people of Jambudviipa
have an abundance of every kind of distress and worry and seldom have any
days in which they are pleased. If they experience enjoyment in coming
here and cursing and reviling or adding their praiseful approval to the
doing of evil, this happiness is a rare thing. Carry on with the cursing
as much as you please. Why? Because I originally brought forth the
intention to cause beings to gain happiness."
Also, the beings of the world are constantly tormented by many diseases.
Additionally, they are constantly followed and spied upon by the
insurgents of death which follow along like an enemy which constantly
waits for its opportunity to take advantage of a person. How then could a
good person fail to act out of loving-kindness and pity, wishing instead
to inflict additional suffering on them? Before an instance of suffering
has reached another person, one should first take on the injury one's
self. One should take up considerations of this sort thereby refraining
from be hateful towards others while invoking the cultivation of patience.
Furthermore, one should contemplate that the faults of hatred are
extremely deep. Of the three poisons, nothing is more serious than this.
Of the ninety-eight secondary fetters (sa.myojana), this one is the most
stubborn. Of all of the disorders which afflict the mind this is the one
which the most difficult to cure. People who are affected by hatred have
no awareness of what is good and what is not good. They have no regard for
offenses or blessing. They know nothing of any benefits or injuries. They
are not even mindful of themselves. They are bound to fall into the
wretched destinies. Any good words are lost on them. They do not cherish a
good reputation and have no awareness of the torment undergone by others.
Nor do they make any calculations regarding their own physical and mental
weariness and torment. Hatred covers over their wisdom eye and they focus
exclusively on carrying on with the torment of others. This is like the
rishi with the five superknowledges who, even though he cultivated pure
practices, slaughtered the inhabitants of an entire country like a
Again, a person who is possessed by hatred, like a tiger or a wolf, is
difficult to remain together with. He is also like a purulent sore which
readily discharges or easily deteriorates. The person who is full of
hatred is like a venomous snake. People take no delight in encountering
him. The evil mind of the person who accumulates hatreds becomes gradually
greater so that he ends up doing what one cannot do, killing even his
father, killing even his lord, and even developing evil intentions towards
the Buddha. This is comparable to the bhikâus in the state of KaushaambÆ.
On account of minor reasons their hateful thoughts became so great that
they split into two factions. If they wished to come to a breaking off of
relations, they should have had to wait to the end of the three months.
But they were still unable to put an end to it. The Buddha came and in the
midst of the Assembly raised up his wheel-marked hand to quiet them and
All of you bhikshus,
Don't give rise to disputation.
When evil thoughts continue,
The suffering in retribution is extremely severe.
You are seeking to gain nirvana.
Cast off and relinquish worldly benefits.
Abiding in the Dharma of goodness,
Why are you hateful and full of disputation?
When men of the world are angry and have disputes,
This is something for which one may still have empathy.
But with men who have left the home life,
How can it be that they engage in disputatious fighting?
When in the mind of one who has left the home life,
One cherishes venom, this harms one's self.
It is like from the midst of a cool cloud
Having lightning come forth which burns the body.
The Bhikshus addressed the Buddha, saying, "The Buddha is the king of
Dharma. But pray, may he remain silent for a moment. This group assailed
us. We cannot but respond."
The Buddha thought, "These men cannot be crossed over." From the midst of
the group of those sanghans, he soared aloft and disappeared. He went into
the forest where he remained still in samadhi.
In just this manner the offense of hatred is such that, at its extreme one
does not accept even the words of the Buddha. For this reason one should
get rid of hatred and cultivate patience.
Moreover, when one is able to cultivate patience, it is easy to gain
loving-kindness and compassion. If one has gained loving-kindness and
compassion, one succeeds in reaching the Buddha Way.
Question: The dharma of patience is entirely fine, but there is one
situation where it is unacceptable. This is where a petty person is
slighting and arrogant and holds the opinion that one is afraid. For this
reason, one should not be patient under every circumstance.
Response: If one is the victim of slighting and arrogance on the part of a
petty person who thinks that one is afraid of him and so one desires to
not be patient, that offense of not being patient is an even more serious
situation. Why? A person who is not patient is looked upon lightly and is
seen as base by the worthies, by the aaryas and by good people. The person
who is patient is looked on with arrogance by petty people.
Of the two cases of being looked upon lightly, one ought rather to be the
victim of arrogance on the part of those who have no intelligence and so
not be subjected to being seen as base by the worthies and aaryas. Why?
People who have no intelligence fail to treat lightly those situations
which should be treated lightly. People who are worthies and aaryas treat
as base that which ought to be treated as base. For this reason one should
Moreover, although a person who is patient may not practice giving or
dhyana absorption, still he constantly earns subtle and marvelous merit
whereby he is reborn among gods and men and later gains the Buddha Way.
Why? It is because his mind is pliant.
Then again, the bodhisattva considers, "If people torment me in the
present life, bring ruin and shame upon me, forcefully seize that which
would benefit me, slight me, scold me and put me in bondage, I should
nonetheless still maintain patience. If I fail to be patient I am bound to
fall into the hells and undergo incalculable suffering on the iron-walled
hot ground, enduring roasting and broiling such as one cannot completely
For this reason one knows that although one may be slighted by petty
people devoid of intelligence, one may still be noble. If one is not
patient and so resorts to using his power, although he might gain some
satisfaction, still he is base. Therefore the bodhisattva ought to be
Additionally, the bodhisattva considers, "When I first brought forth the
resolve [to gain bodhi] I vowed to cure the mental diseases of beings. Now
this being has fallen ill with the fetter of hatred. I should cure him.
How could I voluntarily make myself sick on that account? I should be
This is analogous to the master of medicines who cures the manifold
diseases. If he encounters someone who is afflicted by the disease of
being driven crazy by a ghost such that he pulls a knife and curses and
reviles and has no recognition of good or bad, the physician knows that it
is a disease of ghostly possession. He simply proceeds with curing it and
so does not become angry.
If the bodhisattva is hated, tormented, cursed and reviled by beings, he
knows that they have fallen ill with the affliction of hatred and that
these actions are caused by a crazed mind. He employs skillful means to
cure them, and in just the same manner, he finds no cause for blame or
Furthermore, the bodhisattva engages in the raising and nurturing of
everyone, loving them as if they were his own children. If beings are
hateful and tormenting towards the bodhisattva, the bodhisattva has pity
on them , does not hate them and does not condemn them.
This is analogous to a father who acts out of loving-kindness and so
raises to maturity his sons and grandsons. Because his sons and grandson
are young and immature, they don't yet understand anything. There may be
times when they curse and strike out, being both disrespectful and
careless of consequences. The child's father feels sympathy for his
stupidity and immaturity and so loves him and brings forth a remedy.
Although there is a transgression, he does not hate him and does not
become angry. The bodhisattva's patience is just like this.
Then again, the bodhisattva considers, "If beings heap hatred and torment
upon me I should be patient. If I fail to be patient then my thoughts will
be full of regret in this life and in the future I will enter the hells
where I will experience suffering which is incalculable. If I come to
abide among animals I will become a venomous dragon or an evil snake or a
lion or a tiger or a wolf. If I become a hungry ghost then I will have
fire which comes forth from my mouth. This is similar to the situation
when a person is burned by fire. At the time when one is burned the pain
is mild. It is only afterwards that the pain becomes severe.
Additionally, the bodhisattva considers, "I am a bodhisattva. I desire to
be of benefit to beings. If I am unable to be patient then I am not a
bodhisattva. I am an evil person."
Further, the bodhisattva considers, "There are two kinds of phenomena inn
the world. The first are those which are beings. The second are those
which are not beings. When I first brought forth the resolve, I made vows
for the sake of beings. If I am assailed and harmed by things which are
not beings such as mountain rocks, forest trees, wind, cold, heat, floods
or rain, I simply seek a way to control the situation and from the very
beginning do not become angry. Now these beings are those on whose behalf
I act. When they heap evil upon me I should endure it. How could I take it
as a reason to become hateful?"
Moreover, the bodhisattva knows that from long ago on up to the present,
it has always been the case that causes and conditions come together and
are falsely referred to as a "person" when in fact there is no actual
dharma of a person. Who then is it that could be hated? There exists
herein only bones and blood and skin and flesh. This is analogous to
something laid up with bricks or a wooden puppet with mechanical movements
that has comings and goings. When one understands that the situation is of
just this sort, one should not cherish any hatred. If I become hateful
then this is just stupidity and constitutes a voluntary acceptance of the
suffering of the consequential punishments. For this reason one should
Additionally, the bodhisattva considers, "Throughout the past, during
their original practice of the bodhisattva way, an incalculable number of
Ganges sands' of buddhas all first practiced patience with respect to
beings and then later cultivated patience with respect to dharmas. I am
now seeking to study the way of the Buddhas. I should accord with the
Dharma of the Buddhas. I should not give rise to hatefulness in the manner
of the dharma of the demon realms. For this reason I should be patient."
For all sorts of incalculably numerous reasons such as these one is able
to be patient. This is what is meant by patience with respect to beings.
End of Fascicle Number Fourteen
Part Two of Two
Beta Translation by
The Treatise on the Great Perfection of Wisdom
The Explanation of "The Patience With Respect to Dharmas" contained in the
First Chapter's K.saanti Paaramitaa
Fascicle Number Fifteen
What is meant by "patience with respect to dharmas"? Patience with respect
to beings refers to having patience with respect to all beings who display
reverence or who make offerings and refers as well to having patience with
respect to all persons who are under the influence of hatred or sexual
desire. Patience with respect to dharmas refers to having patience with
respect to their dharmas of making reverence or presenting offerings as
well as having patience with respect to their dharmas of hatred and sexual
Then again, patience with respect to dharmas involves being unattached
internally with respect to the subject-related six faculties while
externally one does not take on the six sense objects. One is able to
refrain from making any distinctions with respect to these two categories.
How is this? Internal characteristics are like those which are external.
External characteristics are like those which are internal. This is
because neither of the two categories of characteristics can be gotten at,
because they possess a singular characteristic, because they are merely
the conjunction of causes and conditions, because in reality they are
empty, because all dharmas are characterized by being eternally pure,
because they are characterized by being identical with the Dharma nature
of ultimate reality, and because they are subsumed within the non-dual.
Although they are not two, they are not one either. When one contemplates
all dharmas in this manner and yet one's thoughts of faith remain
undeflected, this is what is referred to as patience with respect to
This is as set forth in the Vimalakiirti Sutra where Dharma Dwelling
Bodhisattva said, "Production and extinction are dual whereas that which
is neither produced nor destroyed constitutes the non-dual entryway for
entering the Dharma."
And so it continued until Manjushri said, "Being without hearing, being
without seeing, having all thought extinguished, being without discourse,
being without words, -- this is the non-dual entryway for entering the
Then Vimalakirti remained silent and said nothing. All of the bodhisattvas
exclaimed in praise, "Good Indeed! Good Indeed! This is the true non-dual
entryway for entering the Dharma."
Then again, "all dharmas" consists of two categories: The first is beings.
The second is dharmas. The bodhisattva maintains patience in the midst of
beings as explained above. Now we shall explain patience in the midst of
Dharmas are of two types: mental dharmas and non-mental dharmas. Among the
non-mental dharmas there are those which are internal and those which are
external. Externally, there are cold, heat, wind, rain and so forth.
Internally, there are hunger, thirst, aging, sickness, death and so forth.
All sorts of other [examples] such as these are referred to as non-mental
Mental dharmas are of two types: The first includes hatred, worry, doubt,
and so forth. The second includes sexual desire, arrogance, and so forth.
These two constitute mental dharmas. When in relation to these two [types
of] dharmas the bodhisattva is able to maintain patience and remain
unmoved this constitutes having patience with respect to dharmas.
Question: If among beings one is hateful and tormenting and inflicts
injury on their lives, one commits an offense and if one acts out of
sympathy for them, one gains blessings. But in relation to cold, heat,
wind and rain there is neither karmic increase or decrease. Why is it then
that one should be patient with respect to them?
Response: Although there is neither a [karmic] increase or decrease,
still, if one brings forth disruptive afflictions and distressful
bitterness one does injury to [one's practice of] the bodhisattva way. For
this reason one should maintain patience. Additionally, it is not the case
that one commits offenses solely through the killing and tormenting of
beings. Wherever one creates causes and conditions in reliance upon evil
thoughts one has offenses as a consequence. Why is this? Although one may
kill beings, if it was done with a neutral mind, this then is devoid of
any offense.(9) If one maintains a mindfulness of beings characterized by
loving-kindness, although there may be nothing which one is giving to
them, one gains a great measure of blessings. For this reason, although
there is neither [karmic] increase nor decrease occurring in relation to
cold, heat, wind or rain, still, because one is able to bring forth evil
thoughts [in reaction to them], one does commit offenses. For this reason
one should maintain patience in relation to them.
Moreover, the bodhisattva naturally knows, "It is on account of the causes
and conditions associated with offenses in previous lives that one is
reborn in this place fraught with suffering. This is something I created
myself. I ought to undergo it myself." Because one contemplates in this
fashion one is able to maintain patience.
Additionally, the bodhisattva considers and realizes that there are two
kinds of countries: There are those which are pure and there are those
which are impure. If the bodhisattva is born into an impure country and
experiences these bitter sufferings, hunger, cold and the manifold
torments, he makes a pure vow to himself: "When I achieve buddhahood, the
country will have none of these manifold sufferings. Although this place
is impure, it will work to my benefit."
Furthermore, the bodhisattva considers, "Not even the worthies and aaryas
are able to avoid the eight worldly dharmas.(10) How much the less would
this be the case for me." For this reason, one should maintain patience.
Moreover, the bodhisattva considers and realizes that this human body is
devoid of durability or strength. It is pursued by aging, sickness and
death. Although the bodies of the gods are pure and show no aging and have
no illness, they become indulgently attached to the pleasures of the
heavens. They are comparable to people who have become intoxicated. They
are unable to cultivate blessings associated with the Way and are unable
to leave the home life and transcend desire. For this reason one
constrains oneself in this human body to maintain patience, cultivate
blessings and benefit beings.
Then again, the bodhisattva considers, "I have taken on this body composed
of the four great elements and the five aggregates. It ought to be the
case that it has all manner of suffering aspects. There is no one who
takes on a body and yet does not suffer."
Whether one is rich and of noble birth, poor and of humble status, whether
one has left the home life or whether one is a householder, whether one is
foolish or wise, or whether one is intelligent or dull, there is no one
who is able to avoid it. How is this? Those persons who are rich and of
noble birth are constantly subject to fearfulness and the compulsion to
protect their material wealth. They are analogous to the fat sheep which
is taken early to the butcher's chopping block. They are like the crow
which holds a piece of meat in its beak and is pursued by a flock of other
Those persons who are poor and of humble status are subject to the
sufferings of hunger and cold. Although persons who have left the home
life are subject to sufferings in the present existence, in future lives
they receive blessings and gain the Way. Although householders may
experience pleasures in the present life, they undergo sufferings in
future lives. Foolish people take as primary the seeking after pleasures
in the present life. When death (lit. "impermanence") arrives before them
they are bound to undergo subsequent suffering. The wise person considers
the sufferings inherent in impermanence and so subsequently experiences
bliss and gains the Way. In ways such as these [one sees that] there is no
one who takes on a body who is not subject to suffering. Therefore the
bodhisattva should practice patience.
Furthermore, the bodhisattva considers, "The entire world is subject to
suffering. How could I abide within it and still seek to enjoy happiness?"
Again, the bodhisattva considers, "I have constantly endured manifold
sufferings throughout an incalculable number of kalpas and have derived no
benefit from it. It has never been for the sake of the Dharma. Today, for
the sake of beings, I seek the Buddha Way. Although I undergo this
suffering, in the future I will gain great benefit. Therefore, whether it
is external or internal, I should patiently undergo all forms of
Additionally, the bodhisattva makes vows with the great mind, "I will
patiently undergo even the sufferings of the aviici niraya (hells). How
much the less might it be that I would have no patience with minor
sufferings? If I am not patient with that which is minor, how will I be
able to be patient with that which is major?"
When one is patient with respect to all sorts of external dharmas such as
these this is referred to as patience with respect to dharmas.
Question: How is one able to be patient with respect to the dharmas in
Response: The bodhisattva considers, "Although I have not yet gained the
Way and have not yet cut off the fetters, if I do not maintain patience
then I am no different from a common person and it is not the case that I
am a bodhisattva." He additionally considers to himself, "If I gain the
Way and cut off all of the fetters then there will be no dharmas remaining
with which one must be able to be patient. Additionally, hunger, thirst,
cold and heat are the outer demon armies. The afflictions of the fetters
are the internal demon insurgents. I should break these two armies and
thereby perfect the Buddha Way. If it is not done in this way, then the
Buddha Way will not be perfected."
This is as told of the Buddha when he was cultivating ascetic practices
for a period of six years. The demon king came and said, "Noble man of
kâatriyan lineage. Of a thousand parts of your life, you have only a
single part left to live. Hurry, get up and return to your country,
perform acts of giving and cultivate blessings. You will be able to gain
the way of bliss among men and in the heavens in the present life and in
later lives. It is unacceptable that you uselessly subject yourself to
intense suffering. If you don't yield to these gentle words, but instead
continue this confusion and fail to get up I will lead forth a great mass
of troops which will come and strike and break you."
The Bodhisattva said, "I am now going to break [even] your extremely
powerful internal army, how much the more so your external army."
The demon said, "What is it that makes up my internal army?"
Desire is the first among your armies,
Worry is the second.
Hunger and thirst are the third army.
Craving is the fourth.
Drowsiness is the fifth of the armies.
Fearfulness is number six.
Doubt and regret are the seventh army.
Hatred and anger are the eighth.
Beneficial support and an empty reputation are the ninth.
Elevating oneself and belittling others is the tenth.
Such a company of armies as these
Vanquish those people who have left the home life.
I employ the power of dhyaana and wisdom
To break these armies of yours and,
After perfecting the Buddha Way,
Deliver everyone to liberation.
Although the bodhisattva is not yet able to break all of these armies, he
dons the armor of patience, takes up the sword of wisdom, holds onto the
shield of dhyaana absorption and deflects the arrows of the afflictions.
This is what is meant by internal patience.
Then again the bodhisattva ought to cultivate patience with respect to the
afflictions but ought not to cut off the fetters. Why? If he cuts off the
fetters, that which he loses is much indeed. He falls into the way of the
arhat which is no different from ruining his roots [in the bodhisattva
path]. Therefore he deflects them but does not cut them off. Because he
cultivates patience he does not follow along with the fetters.
Question: How is it that when the fetters are not yet cut off one is able
to refrain from following along with them?
Response: It is on account of right thought that, although one possesses
afflictions, one is still able to refrain from following along with them.
Additionally, because one considers and contemplates the marks of
emptiness and impermanence, although one may possess marvelous and fine
objects of the five desires, one still does not give rise to the fetters
[in response to them].
This is similar to the case of the king who had a great official who had
hidden an offense which he had committed so that others would not know of
it. The King told him, "Bring me a plump sheep which has no fat. If you
are unable to find one you will be subjected to punishment." That great
official was possessed of wisdom. He tied up a big sheep and fed it well
with grass and grain. Three times each day he frightened it with a wolf.
Although the sheep was able to grow plump, still it had no fat. He led the
sheep before the King. The King ordered someone to kill it and found that
it was plump but had no fat. The King asked, "How were you able to bring
this about?" He replied by describing the above matter. The bodhisattva is
just like this. He sees the wolf of impermanence, suffering and emptiness.
This causes the fat of the fetters to melt away while the flesh of merit
Then again because the bodhisattva's merit and blessings received as
[karmic] reward are incalculable, his mind is pliant, the fetters are
scant and it is easy for him to cultivate patience.
This situation [of allowing the fetters to remain] is also analogous to
the Lion King who roars in the forest. When a person encounters it, if he
bows down before it and prays for mercy then it may let him go. But the
tiger, leopard, and lesser beasts would be unable to act in such a
fashion. Why? Because the Lion King is a noble animal which possesses
intelligence and discrimination. The tiger and leopard are base beasts
which do not know to make such distinctions.
This situation is also like that of a defeated army which, if it succeeds
in encountering a great general is then allowed to live. If it encounters
lesser soldiers, then it is bound to die.
Moreover, the bodhisattva employs his power of wisdom to contemplate and
realize that hatred is possessed of all sorts of evils. He contemplates
patience as possessing all sorts of meritorious qualities. Therefore he is
able to maintain patience with the fetters.
Furthermore, the mind of the bodhisattva is possessed of the power of
wisdom whereby he is able to cut off the fetters. For the sake of beings
he abides for a long time in the world, knowing that the fetters are
thieves. Therefore he maintains patience in regard to them and does not
follow along with them. The bodhisattva ties up the thieves of the fetters
and so does not allow them to run rampant, but rather employs them in the
cultivation of merit. This is analogous to situations wherein there are
thieves which, for a particular reason, one does not put to death. One
confines them securely in a single place and then has them carry out work
Then again, because the bodhisattva possesses an actual awareness of the
marks of all dharmas, he does not take the fetters to be inherently evil
and does not take meritorious qualities to be inherently marvelous.
Therefore he nurtures no hatred for the fetters nor does he cherish any
affection for meritorious qualities. On account of the power of this
wisdom he is able to cultivate patience. This is as described in a verse:
The bodhisattva cuts off and gets rid of all which is not good.
Even down to the most extremely subtle, he destroys it, leaving no
The blessings from his greatly meritorious qualities are incalculable.
In the work that he carries out there is nothing not brought to
On account of the power of the bodhisattva's great wisdom,
[Even] amidst the fetters he is unable to be tormented.
Therefore he is able to be aware of the mark of all dharmas
Birth, death and nirvana are a unity in which there is no duality.
For all sorts of reasons such as these, although one has not yet gained
the Way, one is still able to maintain patience in the midst of the
dharmas of afflictions. This is known as patience with respect to dharmas.
Additionally, with respect to all dharmas, the bodhisattva knows them to
be characterized by singularity and knows them to be non-dual. Because all
dharmas are characterized by being able to be the object of consciousness
they are said to be singular. Where the eye consciousness is conscious of
forms and so forth until we come to the mind consciousness is conscious of
dharmas, these are dharmas which are characterized by being able to be the
object of consciousness. Therefore they are said to be singular.
Then again, because all dharmas are characterized by being able to be
known they are said to be singular.
The dharma knowledge of suffering (du.hkhe
know the truth of suffering. The dharma knowledge of accumulation (samudaye
know the truth of accumulation. The dharma knowledge of extinction (nirodhe
know the truth of extinction. The dharma knowledge of the Way (maarge
know the truth of the Way.(11)
And so too worldly knowledge characterized by goodness may know suffering,
accumulation, extinction, the way, space, and extinction not due to
knowledge. On account of this characteristic of knowability dharmas are
said to be singular.
Furthermore, on account of the fact that all dharmas are subject to
conditioning they are said to be singular. Eye consciousness as well as
dharmas interactive with eye consciousness condition form. Ear
consciousness, nose consciousness, tongue consciousness and body
consciousness are the same in this respect. The mind consciousness as well
as dharmas interactive with the mind consciousness also condition the eye
and also condition forms and also condition eye consciousness, and so
forth until we come to their also conditioning the mind, also conditioning
dharmas and also conditioning mind consciousness. Because of the
characteristic of being subject to conditioning all dharmas are said to be
Then again there are those who say that all dharmas are each singular. And
that when there is another singular entity in addition to this instance of
singularity this constitutes a duality. Three singularities constitute a
trinity, and so forth like this until we come to a thousand myriads all
being but singular entities artificially referred to as a thousand
Then again, because there exists a characteristic in all dharmas one
speaks of them as singular. It is because they are characterized by being
singular that they are referred to as singular. All phenomena constitute
dharmas. Because dharmas possess a particular characteristic they
constitute a singularity. In this same fashion there are an incalculable
number of entry points to singularity. When one refutes the characteristic
of difference but still does not become attached to singularity, this
constitutes patience with respect to dharmas.
Moreover, the bodhisattva contemplates everything as being dual. In what
way are they dual? Duality refers to the characteristic of having a
subject and an object. Because it is characterized by the presence of a
subject and object, it is not the case that the subject is characterized
by being the object and it is not the case that the object is
characterized by being the subject.
Then again, because all dharmas are characterized by existence and
non-existence, they are dual. [Other examples are]: empty and non-empty,
eternal and non-eternal, self and non-self, form and non-form, perceivable
and non-perceivable, opposable and non-opposable, outflow and non-outflow,
composite and non-composite, mind dharma and non-mind dharma, dharmas
belonging to the mind and dharmas not belonging to the mind, as well as
dharmas interactive with the mind and dharmas not interactive with the
mind. There are an incalculable number of access points to duality. When
one refutes singularity [but still] does not become attached to duality
this constitutes patience with respect to dharmas.
Then again, the bodhisattva may contemplate all dharmas as being
tripartite. In what way are they tripartite? [Examples include]: inferior,
middling and superior; good, not good and neutral; existent, nonexistent
and neither existent nor nonexistent; severance through perceiving the
truths, severance through consideration and non-severance; having more to
study, being beyond study and being neither subject to more study nor
beyond study; and retributional, non-retributional and neither
retributional [nor non-retributional]. In this same fashion there are an
incalculable number of access points to triplicity. When one refutes
singularity [but still] does not become attached to differences this
constitutes patience with respect to dharmas.
Furthermore, although the bodhisattva has not yet achieved the way of no
outflows and has not yet cut off the fetters, he is [still] able to
believe in the non-outflow Dharma of the aaryas as well as the three-fold
imprint of dharmas. The first is that all dharmas which are the product of
conditioning are equally imprinted by [the characteristic of] being
impermanent. The second is that all dharmas are imprinted by [the
characteristic of] being non-self. The third is the dharma imprint of
nirvanic reality. The worthies and aaryas who have gained the Way realize
it themselves and know it themselves. Although the bodhisattva has not yet
gained the Way, he is able to believe and is able to accept. This
constitutes patience with respect to dharmas.
Furthermore, with respect to the unanswered dharmas associated with the
fourteen difficult questions such as permanence, impermanence, and so
forth, he finds no obstacle to investigating them but still does not lose
the Middle Way. When one is able to have patience with these dharmas this
constitutes patience with respect to dharmas.
A related case is that of the bhikshu who contemplated and investigated
into these fourteen difficult questions, found that he was so unable to
break through them that his mind was unable to endure it. He took up his
robe and bowl and went to where the Buddha was and addressed the Buddha,
saying, "If the Buddha is able to explain these fourteen difficult
questions for me so that my mind is caused to completely understand them,
then I will continue to be a disciple. If he is unable to explain them
then I will seek after another path."
The Buddha told him, "You foolish man. Are you not basically presenting me
with an ultimatum whereby only if I reply to the fourteen difficult
questions will you continue to be my disciple?"
The bhikshu replied, "No."
The Buddha said, "You foolish man. Why then now do you say, 'If you don't
answer these for me I will not remain a disciple? I explain dharma for the
rescue and deliverance of persons who are subject to aging, sickness and
death. These fourteen difficult questions are dharmas of disputation. They
possess no benefit for the Dharma. They are only frivolous dialectics.
What is the point of inquiring into them? If I were to offer an answer for
your sake, your mind would not completely comprehend it. You would go to
your dying day without being able to understand and would be unable to
gain liberation from birth, aging, sickness and death.
"This is analogous to a man who has been shot by a poison arrow. His
relatives call a physician who is about to extract the arrow for him and
then apply medications. But he then says, "You can't take the arrow out
yet. I must first know your first and last name, the village from whence
you come as well as the ages of your father and mother. Next, I wish to
know from which mountain this arrow came, from which tree it is made, from
what sort of feathers it is fletched, who the arrowhead maker is and from
which sort of metal it is cast. I wish also to know from which wood and on
what mountain the bow was manufactured as well as what animal's horns were
used. Additionally, I wish to know where the poison was produced and what
type it is. After I have completely understood all sorts of other such
matters I shall give my permission for you to extract the arrow and apply
medications." The Buddha asked the bhikshu, "Would it be possible for this
man to come to know all these many matters and only later extract the
arrow or not?"
The bhikshu said, "He would not be able to succeed in knowing them. If he
waited to completely understand this then he would already have died."
The Buddha said, "You are just like this. You have been shot by the arrow
of erroneous views smeared with the poison of love and it has already
entered your heart. It was out of a desire to extricate this arrow that
you became my disciple, and yet now, you do not wish to pull out the
arrow, but intead next wish to find out in its entirety whether the world
is eternal or non-eternal, bounded or unbounded, and so forth. Before you
have succeeded in finding these things out you will have lost your wisdom
life and will have died in a fashion identical with the beasts. You hereby
cast yourself into darkness."
The bhikshu felt ashamed, deeply understood the words of the Buddha and
then immediately gained the way of arhatship.
Furthermore, the bodhisattva desires to become a person possessed of
omniscience. He should pursue investigations into all dharmas and
understand their reality mark. He should not be bogged down in or
obstructed by the fourteen difficult questions and so should know that
they are a severe illness of the mind. When he is able to transcend them
and is able to endure them this constitutes patience with respect to
Moreover, the Dharma of the Buddha is extremely profound, pure, subtle and
marvelous. He is able to broadly expound all sorts of accesses to Dharma
of incalculable scope. He is able to single-mindedly believe in and accept
them without doubts or regrets. This constitutes patience with respect to
As stated by the Buddha, although all dharmas are empty, they are still
not cut of and are not destroyed. [Although] all dharmas are produced of a
continuity of causes and conditions, still they are not eternal. Although
all dharmas are devoid of any spiritual soul, still, there is no
diminishment of retribution for either offenses or blessings.
In [each] single thought moment, all personal dharmas, and all of one's
faculties and manifestations of intelligence are all brought to
destruction. This goes on without cease such that they are not carried
forward even to the next thought-[moment]. They are continually being
newly produced and destroyed again and yet there is no loss of the karmic
causes and conditions of an incalculable number of lifetimes. Among all of
the aggregates, sense realms and sense entrances, everything is empty and
devoid of a spiritual soul and yet beings do circulate about through the
five destinies undergoing birth and death. Even though one may not yet
gained the Buddha Way, one is still able to believe and is still able to
accept without doubts and without regrets all sorts of other such
extremely profound, subtle and marvelous dharmas. This constitutes
patience with respect to dharmas.
Then again, the arhats and pratyekabuddhas fear and abhor birth and death
and so seek an early entry into nirvana. The bodhisattva has not yet
perfected buddhahood and so he desires to seek after all-knowledge,
desires to act out of pity for beings and desires to utterly understand,
distinguish and realize the reality mark of all dharmas. When in the midst
of all this one is able to maintain patience this constitutes patience
with respect to dharmas.
Question: How does one contemplate the reality mark of all dharmas?
Response: One contemplates and knows dharmas as devoid of any defect or
flaw, as irrefutable and as indestructible. This constitutes the reality
Question: All discourse can be responded to, can be refuted, and can be
destroyed. How can you claim that whatsoever cannot be refuted or
destroyed is the reality mark of all dharmas?
Response: This is because all dharmas are irrefutable. In the Dharma of
the Buddha, one goes beyond the path of all discourse. The place of the
mind's activities is itself destroyed. [Dharmas] are eternally neither
produced nor destroyed and are characterized by being like nirvana. How is
this so? If the marks of dharmas actually existed then they should not
become nonexistent. If any dharma was formerly existent but now is
nonexistent, then this amounts to an extinction through severance (i.e.
annihilationism). What's more it should not be the case that any dharma is
eternal. Why? If it were eternal then there would be no karmic punishments
or blessings and there would be nothing which could be injured or killed.
Neither could one bestow life. There would be no benefit from cultivation
nor would there be either bondage or liberation. If this were the case
then the world would be nirvana. On account of reasons such as these it
should not be the case that any dharmas whatsoever are eternal.
[On the other hand] if any dharmas were non-eternal then this would be a
an extinction through severance whereby there would be no offenses, no
blessings and neither increase nor decrease. The causes and conditions of
meritorious karma and resultant rewards would also be lost. On account of
reasons such as these, it should not be the case that any dharmas are
Question: You claim that within the Dharma of the Buddha permanence is not
actual and impermanence is not actual either. This is not the case. Why?
Within the Dharma of the buddha, permanence is actual and impermanence is
actual as well. As for that which is permanent, it includes extinction due
to wisdom (pratisa.mkhyaanirodha), extinction not due to wisdom (apratisa.mkhyaanirodha),(12)
and also space. Because they are not produced, do not abide and are not
destroyed they are characterized by permanence.
As for impermanence, the five aggregates are characterized by impermanence
because they are produced, do abide and are destroyed. Why then do you
claim that both permanence and impermanence are not actual?
Response: The Aaryas engage in two types of speech: The first is discourse
characterized by skillful means. The second is direct discourse. As for
the skillful means, they are set forth for the sake of individual persons
and on account of particular causes and conditions. As for that which is
set forth for the sake of individual persons, it is explained for the sake
of beings that this is permanent, that is impermanent. This is as
explained in the counteractive siddhaanta (praatipaak.sika siddhaanta)(13)
If one speaks of impermanence, it is out of a desire to extricate beings
from their attachment to the pleasures of the Three Realms. The Buddha
deliberated, "What might be employed to influence beings to leave behind
desire?" Therefore he set forth the dharma of impermanence. This is as
explained in a verse:
If one contemplates unproduced dharmas,
One succeeds in transcending dharmas which are produced.
If one contemplates unconditioned dharmas,
One succeeds in transcending that which is conditioned.
Why is it that rebirth is referred to as the coming together of causes and
conditions? It is impermanent. It involves no inherent existence. It
belongs to the sphere of causes and conditions. It is characterized by
being subject to aging, sickness and death, is characterized by being
deceptive and is characterized by being subject to destruction. This is
[the character] of rebirth. It is therefore a conditioned dharma. This is
as explained in the counteractive siddhaanta.
Being both permanent and impermanent is also not an actual characteristic.
This is because both fallacies are inherent therein. If [one claims that]
dharmas are neither permanent nor impermanent this is just the dialectics
of foolishness. How is this so? If [one claims that something is] not
existent then this is [only] a refutational nonexistence. If [one claims
that something is] not nonexistent then this is [only] a refutational
existence. If one has refuted both of these matters, then what dharmas
remain to be discussed?
Question: In the Buddha Dharma's [tenet of everything] being characterized
by constantly being empty there is this "neither existent nor nonexistent"
[concept]. That emptiness is employed as an emptiness which gets rid of
[attachment to] existence. That emptiness [also] blocks off [attachment
to] nonexistence. This constitutes [a claim that phenomena are] "neither
existent nor nonexistent." Why then do you say that this is just the
dialectics of foolishness?
Response: The reality mark of the Buddha's Dharma involves nonacceptance
and nonattachment. Because your "neither existence nor nonexistence" is
[characterized by] acceptance and attachment, this is [just] the
dialectics of foolishness. If one makes a claim [in favor of] neither
existence nor nonexistence, this [posits a view of something] which can be
described and can be refuted. It is a point for the generation of thoughts
and a point for [the carrying on of] disputation. The Dharma of the Buddha
is not of this sort. Although it is the case that, on account of [certain]
causes and conditions one sets forth "neither existence nor nonexistence,"
one does not become attached [thereto]. If one does not become attached
[to it] then it is not subject to destruction and is not subject to
refutation. [No matter] whether [one speaks of the world and the self] as
being bounded or as being boundless, or as being both bounded and
boundless, or as being neither bounded nor boundless, [no matter] whether
[one speaks of there being a ] continuing on after death, as there not
being a continuing on after death, as there both being and not being a
continuing on after death, or as there being neither a continuing on nor a
not continuing on after death, and [no matter] whether [one speaks of] the
body as identical with a spiritual soul or as different from a "spiritual"
soul, they are all just like this. None of them correspond to reality.
When one contemplates the dharmas of the sixty-two views [and recognizes
that] none of them correspond to reality and so does away with all of them
in this manner while still having faith in the Buddha Dharma's
characteristics of being pure and indestructible such that one's mind is
not regretful and is not turned away, this constitutes patience with
respect to dharmas.
Then again, as for the two extremes of existence and nonexistence, if
one's contemplations are focused on the time when dharmas arise and the
time when they dwell, these constitute the characteristics of a view which
holds to existence. If one's contemplations are focused on the time when
dharmas grow old or the time when they undergo destruction, then these
constitute the characteristics of a view which holds to nonexistence. The
beings of the Three Realms mostly cling to the characteristics of these
two views. These two kinds of dharmas are false and deceptive and do not
correspond to reality. If in reality a characteristic existed then it
should not be the case that it becomes nonexistent. Why? If something is
now nonexistent that previously was existent, this falls into the
annihilationist [view]. If [one posits] annihilationism, this is not the
Moreover, it is on account of the coming together of names that one is of
the opinion that all dharmas exist. It is on account of this that dharmas
which are a product of the coming together of names cannot finally be
Question: Although dharmas which are the product of names cannot be gotten
at, still, one does have this coming together of names.
Response: If there is no dharma, who is it that brings these names
together? In such a case names themselves are nonexistent as well.
Again, if dharmas actually existed, it should not be the case that one
knows of their existence [solely] through the mind's consciousness. If it
is on account of the mind's consciousness that one knows that they exist,
this is not a case of [actual] existence. Take for example the earth's
characteristic of solidity. It is on account of the body's faculty [of
touch] and the knowing on the part of the body's [tactile] consciousness
that it exists. If there were no bodily faculty [of touch] and no knowing
on the part of the body's [tactile] consciousness, then there would be no
characteristic of solidity.
Question: Whether or not there is a knowing or there is not a knowing on
the part of the body's faculty [of touch] and the body's [tactile]
consciousness, still, earth is constantly characterized by solidity.
Response: Is it because you are already aware of it that you believe it
possesses the characteristic of solidity or is it that, having heard it
from someone else, you know that it possesses the characteristic of
solidity? If one did not previously know or had not previously heard, then
there would be no characteristic of solidity.
Moreover, if it were the case that earth was eternally characterized by
solidity, it should not be the case that it could relinquish its
characteristic. Take for example congealed curds, wax, honey or the pitch
from trees. When they melt they lose their characteristic of solidity and
so fall within the characteristic of liquidity. Gold, silver, copper,
iron, and so forth are also like this. As another example, take water
which is characterized by liquidity. If it becomes cold it then transforms
so that it then becomes characterized by solidity. There are all sorts of
other examples such as these wherein in every case the characteristic
features are relinquished.
Additionally, dialecticians are able to cause that which exists to become
nonexistent and are able to cause that which is nonexistent to become
existent. The Worthies, the Aaryas and those who sit in dhyana meditation
are able to cause earth to become water and water to become earth. All
other sorts of dharmas such as these can be transformed. This is as
discussed in the Ten Universal Bases (k.rtsnaayatana).
Furthermore, this view which holds to existence is produced on account of
greed, hatred, stupidity, the fetters and disputation. If there is a
position which generates this greed, hatred and so forth, this is not the
Dharma of the Buddha. Why is this this the case? This is because the
characteristics of the Dharma of the Buddha are goodness and purity. For
these reasons [such a position] does not correspond to reality.
Also, all dharmas are subsumed within two categories: form dharmas and
formless dharmas. Form dharmas may be analyzed down to the most subtle
particles and so may be so destroyed through dispersion that nothing
remains. This is just as was explained in the section on Daana Paaramitaa
wherein we discussed the refutation of [the existence of] an object which
As for formless dharmas [they are nonexistent] because they are not known
by the [first] five [sense] faculties. [Also], because they are the object
of contemplation on the part of the intellectual faculty during its arisal,
dwelling and destruction, one knows that the thoughts have a part in them.
Because [thoughts] have a part in them they are impermanent. Because they
are impermanent they are empty. Because they are empty they are
During the moment of a finger snap there are sixty instants. In each one
of those instants thought undergoes a production and an extinction. It is
on account of [an apparent] continuity in production that one realizes
whether it is a greed-related thought, it is a hate-related thought, it is
a delusion-related thought, it is a faithful thought, or it is a thought
[characterized by] purity, wisdom or dhyaana absorption. The practitioner
contemplates the production and extinction of thought as being like
flowing water or the flame of a lamp. This constitutes entry into the gate
of the wisdom of emptiness. Why is this? If it were the case that any
[dharma] were produced at one moment and then destroyed during another
moment, this thought ought to be permanent. Why? Because during this
extremely brief moment there was no destruction. If it were the case that
in a single moment there was no destruction, it should be the case that
there should never be any destruction.
Then again, the Buddha said that conditioned dharmas possess three
characteristics. If during the most extremely brief moment there was
production but no destruction, this would be an unconditioned dharma. If
it were the case that during the most extremely brief moment a thought was
produced, dwelt and was then extinguished, why would there only be first
production and [only] later, extinction and not first extinction and later
Furthermore, if it were the case that first there was the thought and
afterwards there was the production, then the thought would not depend
upon its production. Why? Because there would previously already be the
existence of the thought. If the production already existed previously,
then production would have nothing which it [subsequently] produced.
Additionally, the natures of production and extinction are mutually
opposed. When there is production, then there ought not to be extinction.
When there is extinction, then there ought not to be production. For these
reasons, simultaneousness [in this] cannot be shown to be the case. Nor
can a difference [in time] be shown to be the case.
This then just amounts to the non-existence of production. If there is no
production then there is no dwelling or extinction. If there is no
production, dwelling or extinction then there are no dharmas belonging to
the mind. If there are no dharmas belonging to the mind, then there are no
formative factor [dharmas] which are non-interactive with the mind.
Because form and formless dharmas are [both] nonexistent then
unconditioned dharmas are also non-existent. Why? It is on account of the
conditioned that one has the unconditioned. If there are no conditioned [dharmas],
then there are no unconditioned [dharmas] either.
Additionally, it is because one observes that created dharmas are
impermanent that one knows that dharmas which are not created are
permanent. If this is the case, one now knows that created dharmas are
existent dharmas. It should be the case then that dharmas which are not
created are nonexistent dharmas. For this reason permanent dharmas cannot
Furthermore, in their discussions of "permanent" dharmas, non-buddhists
and disciples of the Buddha have those which they hold in common and those
over which they differ. Those which they hold in common are space and
nirvana. The non-buddhists have "spirit" (aatman), time, direction,
extremely minute particles, and "the primordial source." These are
categories over which they differ.
Additionally, there are disciples of the Buddha who claim that extinction
not achieved through gnosis (apratisa.mkhyaanirodha) is eternal and who
further claim that the dharmas which serve as causes and conditions to
extinction are permanent whereas dharmas which are the product of causes
and conditions are impermanent. As for the dharmas which are considered
permanent in the sphere of the Mahayana, the nature of dharmas, suchness (tathataa),
ultimate reality (bhuutako.ti), and all sorts of other [synonymous]
concepts are held to be permanent dharmas. As for empty space and nirvana,
they are as discussed previously in the section in praise of the
bodhisattvas. "Spirit," as well as time, direction and the most minute
particles are also as discussed previously. For these reasons, one should
not say that dharmas exist.
If dharmas are not existent, then [this nonexistence must be one of] two
sorts: The first is being eternally non-existent. The second is being
non-existent on account of a "cutting off" [of existence]. In a case where
something previously existent is now nonexistent or in a case where
something now existent later becomes nonexistent, this is extinction
through "cutting off". If this were the case then there would be a
nonexistence of causes and conditions. If there was a nonexistence of
causes and conditions, then it ought to be that all things ought to be
able to come forth from any single thing and it should also be the case
that nothing should come forth from anything. This would also be the case
for future existences. If there were a cutting off of the causes and
conditions associated with offenses and blessings, then there should not
be the differences involved in poverty and wealth or nobility and
inferiority, nor would there be any falling into the realm of animals
within the wretched destinies.
If one claims that there is an eternal nonexistence, then there would be
no suffering, accumulation, extinction or Way. If there were no Four
Truths then there would be no Dharma Jewel. If there were no Dharma Jewel,
then there would be no Way of the Eight Worthies and Aaryas. If there were
no Dharma jewel and no Sangha Jewel then there would be no Buddha Jewel.
If this were the case then one refutes the Three Jewels.
Furthermore if all dharmas were actually empty then there would be no
offenses or blessings, nor would there be one's father and mother, nor
would there be any of the worldly dharmas of reverence, nor would there be
any good or any evil. In that case then good and bad would possess the
same entryway and right and wrong would be of the same strand. All things
would be nonexistent like that which is seen in a dream. If one claims
that [all dharmas] are actually nonexistent, [such a claim] is possessed
of these faults. Who would believe this statement?
If one states that it is on account of inverted views that one sees things
as existing, then when one sees a single person, why does one not see two
or three since in reality they do not exist and are only seen on account
of inverted views?
If one does not fall into these views of existence or nonexistence one
finds the reality mark of the Middle Way. How does one know what is real?
It is as known and proclaimed by all of the Ganges' sands number of
buddhas and bodhisattvas of the past, as known and proclaimed by all of
the Ganges' sands number of buddhas and bodhisattvas of the future, and as
known and proclaimed by the Ganges' sands number of buddhas and
bodhisattvas of the present. Because one's mind of faith is great, one
does not have doubts and one does not have regrets. Because the power of
one's faith is great one is able to uphold [this Dharma] and is able to
accept it. This is what is known as "patience with respect to dharmas."
Additionally, because the power of dhyana absorption is great one's mind
is pliant and pure such that when one hears of the reality mark of dharmas,
it corresponds to one's mind and one unites with it. One grasps it through
faith, deeply enters into it, and has no doubts and no regrets. Why?
Doubts and regrets are dharmas bound to the desire realm. Because they are
coarse and unwholesome they do not enter into a pliant mind. This is what
is meant by "patience with respect to dharmas."
Moreover, on account of the power of wisdom, one subjects all dharmas to
the scrutiny of all sorts of contemplations and finds that there is not a
single dharma which can be gotten at. One is able to have patience with
this dharma and is able to accept it without having doubts or regrets.
This is what is known as "patience with respect to dharmas."
Additionally, the bodhisattva considers, "It is on account of the poison
of ignorance that common people transform the characteristics of all
dharmas, thinking the impermanent to be permanent, thinking that which is
suffering to be blissful, thinking of that which is devoid of self as
possessing a self, holding the opinion that [dharmas] which are empty
possess a reality, taking that which is non-existent as existent, and
taking that which is existent as being non-existent. In a manner such as
this they transform the characteristics of all sorts of dharmas." [And so]
he gains the actual wisdom of the Aaryas and destroys the poison of
ignorance. He realizes the reality mark of all dharmas. He gains the
wisdom of impermanence, emptiness and not self. He gets rid of them,
relinquishes them, and is not attached. He is able to be patient with
respect to this dharma. This is what is known as "patience with respect to
Furthermore, he contemplates all dharmas as having been eternally empty
from their origin on up to the present and as being empty in the present
era as well. He is able to have faith with respect to this dharma and is
able to accept it. This constitutes "patience with respect to dharmas."
Question: If [one were to hold that] they were eternally empty from their
origin on up to the present and are empty in the present era as well, this
would be a pernicious error. How can you speak of it as "patience with
respect to dharmas?"
Response: If in contemplating all dharmas as being ultimately empty one
seizes upon this characteristic and one's mind becomes attached this does
constitute a pernicious error. If in contemplating emptiness one does not
become attached and does not bring forth erroneous views this does
constitute patience with respect to dharmas. This is as explained in a
The nature of dharmas is that they are eternally empty,
And yet the mind still does not become attached to emptiness.
If one is able to have patience with respect to dharmas such as this,
This is the sign of the beginning of the Buddha Way.
Through all sorts of other [concepts] such as these one enters the gateway
to wisdom. When one is able to contemplate the reality mark of dharmas
while one's mind does not retreat, does not regret, does not follow off on
any of the contemplations and still does not have anything about which it
is distressed, and if one is also able to succeed in benefitting oneself
and benefitting others, this is what is referred to as patience with
respect to dharmas.
This patience with respect to dharmas has three ways in which its practice
is pure: One does not perceive any dharma of patience. One does not
perceive one's own person. One does not perceive a person who is scolding
and subjecting one to insult. One does not involve oneself as an actor in
any of the dharmas. At this time this constitutes purity in the patience
with respect to dharmas. It is because of this factor that it is said that
the bodhisattva who abides in the Praaj~naa-paaramitaa is able to
completely perfect k.saanti-paaramitaa. This is because he does not move
and does not retreat.
What is meant by "does not move and does not retreat"? Hatefulness does
not arise nor does one utter any evil words. One's body does not inflict
any harm and one's mind is devoid of regrets. The bodhisattva realizes the
reality mark of the Praj if a person comes and curses or [even] if he
attacks him with extremely toxic poison and so kills or injures, he is
able to have patience with it all. It is for this reason that it is said
that one abides in the Prajnaa-paaramitaa and is able to completely
Part One End Notes
1. This note is part of the Taisho text.
2. The "three dharmic imprints" refers to emptiness, signlessness and
wishlessness (rendered in Kumarajiva's translations as "endeavorlessness"
in the sense of "having no endeavor whatsoever towards which one is
inclined). They are discussed later in this work.
3. A daanapati is a layperson who provides support to the monastic
4. A vihaara is a monastic dwelling.
5. "Floral Appearance" (Utpalavar.naa) was a bhikshuni who had gained
6. An ara.nya is a secluded hermitage.
7. This text was written by a monk primarily to reinforce the cultivation
of other monks and was written at a time when only men could read, hence
passages such as this would originally never have been inflicted upon a
female audience. This is definitely not Nagarjuna's ultimate pronouncement
on womanhood. Rather it is a "counteractive" teaching directed
specifically at countering the cultivation-defeating attachment which men
often cherish towards women. Given the aim of the teaching, it takes as
didactic examples only the least edifying behaviors of the least virtuous
women and makes generalizations based on them. In the case of a female
monastic audience, Nagarjuna would have marshaled an equally powerful
antidotal list of the least edifying male behaviors of the least virtuous
of men and would have made generalizations based on them.
For women who wish to subject themselves to a reading of this section, it
is suggested that they mentally envision and contemplate a corresponding
male-focused iteration so as to derive the same attachment-defeating
benefit. It should be noted that neither formulation represents
Nagarjuna's understanding of ultimate truth. Other sections of this text
show clearly that Nagarjuna does not even admit the ultimate reality of
gender, let alone either positive or negative attributes of either gender.
8. This refers to a Jaataka tale related earlier in which the Buddha
predicts the far, far distant future buddhahood of a pigeon.
Part Two End Notes
9. This should not be misinterpreted as meaning that it's alright to kill
as long as you can do it with a neutral mind. NÀgÀrjuna is pointing to the
fact that karmic offense correlates directly with intentionality.
10. The eight worldly dharmas also known as the eight winds (which move
the mind) are: benefit and decrease [shwai], blame and praise, ill repute
and good repute, suffering and happiness.
11. Ku-fa-jr: dfb-1566b, 1134a4 / ba-jr: dfb-141a, 2197c / lei-jr (bi-jr?):
12. Pruden, 58-61.
13. See the extensive related discussion in Fascicle 1.
Copyright © 2000. Bhikshu Dharmamitra. All rights reserved.