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Lankavatara Sutra


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This thread is for discussion of the Lankavatara Sutra. We will attempt to have sort of a "book club" discussion format as we go chapter by chapter through the text...

Regarding the first chapter, I think this question from the sutra frames it pretty well...

Then said Mahamati to the Blessed One: Why is it that the ignorant are given up to discrimination and the wise are not?

Any thoughts on the question and the chapter?

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Then said Mahamati to the Blessed One: Why is it that the ignorant are given up to discrimination and the wise are not?

Any thoughts on the question and the chapter?

12 hrs before....... yesterday night in India, Riju read this above line and his mind refused to assimilate (digest) it.

Riju then decided to go to internet and read the lankavatra sutra (introduction only) and try to understand it from the point of view of

Buddhism or Buddha..............................Mind did not respond

Riju went to bed feeling helpless and small, full of worry and tension at his failure.

And then the EXPERIENCE came in the morning meditation.

EXPERIENCE so ENORMOUS that it is now going to give a new direction to my last 21 years of meditation.

YES my system of meditation inside the body is changed permanently from today morning onwards.

Tomorrow morning I will put my EXPERIENCE in words here, but will the words reach any one. May be? may be not?

Thanks to this site members and to Jeff.

Edited by riju
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Then said Mahamati to the Blessed One: Why is it that the ignorant are given up to discrimination and the wise are not?

Any thoughts on the question and the chapter?

Last night I was frustated and angry at myself.

It is the WISE ones who discriminate between good and bad and then decide.

Ignorant just decide and follow.

And here it is reverse.

It says that the ignorant are given upto discrimination and wise ones are not.

I knew and preached the answer earlier , but it never went into my deep consciousness.

The answer I knew and preached is that... WISDOM DOES NOT USE THE EGO. And ego has main

tools of mind and logic. And discrimination needs mind and logic and hence ego.

So what is this WISDOM, which does not use ego, mind and logic and yet takes decisions?

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Given up to ...discrimination (it means habituated to)

Given up.....to discrimination (it means discarded)

Both meanings are opposite to each other.

After reading the introduction of Lankavatara sutra, I have accepted the

first meaning.

I am not good at english. What is your opinion?

Edited by riju
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Hi Riju,

You raise an excellent point with the focus on the "ego". Here is how the Buddha answered the question...

The Blessed One replied: it is because the ignorant cling to names, signs and ideas; as their minds move along these channels they feed on multiplicities of objects and fall into the notion of and ego-soul and what belongs to it; they make discriminations of good and bad among appearances and cling to the agreeable. As they thus cling there is a reversion to ignorance, and karma born of greed, anger and folly, is accumulated. As the accumulation of karma goes on they become imprisioned in a cocoon of discrimination and are thenceforth unable to free themselves from the round of birth and death.

Because of folly they do not understand that all things are like maya, like the reflection of the moon in water, that there is no self-substance to be imagined as an ego-soul and its belongings, and that all their definite ideas rise from their false discriminations of what exists only as it is seen of the mind itself. They do not realise that things have nothing to do with qualify and qualifying, nor with the course of birth, abiding and destruction, and instead they assert that they are born of a creator, of time, of atoms, of some celestial spirit. It is because the ignorant are given up to discrimination that they move along with the stream of appearances, but it is not so with the wise.


In the text, it may helpful to think of discrimation as something like "judging". What do you (or anyone) think of Buddha's response?

Best,
Jeff

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The answer I knew and preached is that... WISDOM DOES NOT USE THE EGO.

And ego has maintools of mind and logic. And discrimination needs mind and logic and hence ego.

So what is this WISDOM, which does not use ego, mind and logic and yet takes decisions?

This question is the heart of the Lankavatara sutra... Or as phrased at the beginning of Chapter 1...

"In this world whose nature is like a dream, there is place for praise and blame, but in the ultimate Reality of Dharmakaya which is far beyond the senses and the discriminating mind, what is there to praise? O Thou most Wise!"

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Guest Experientialknowing

Dear, Riju remain simple with your use of English it expresses what you wish to say very well. In many ways this makes you a better communicator.

 

The use of the word discrimination like judging and the word judging itself may want to be avoided.

 

Why?

 

Becuase in the USA these days it has become a curse to volly at someone for observing a difference of any kind and so is used to incite argument and seize an imaginary moral high ground, that exists where I know not, least it be within the minds of those believeing themselves disenfranchised.

 

So when these words are read it is known he means direct knowing or understanding rather than reasoned and weighed thought.

 

The ignorant are those who simply do not know, through reason and thought they come to some understanding but until the quantum leap is made remain ignorant yet posessed of many facts and interrelated coorelations.

Edited by Experientialknowing
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The quantum leap by the way can be called the energy of understanding or intuition even. It is known because it is known and this goes beyond the core of ones bones.

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MY EXPERIENCE OF LAST NIGHT

Riju is in sleep.

Suddenly he wakes up, his whole body is filled with tremondous noise.

He sits up, occupies meditation pose, and starts meditating with awareness on this clamour.

40-50 mts. pass away and the noise subsides down. This is meditation of INFLOWS.

All the noise goes back as Inflows in side the various DNA cells of my body.

Now is the time for starting Pragya/Prajana meditation, noise is gone and there is peace and calmness.

and it is time to talk with my INNER VOICE.

Riju ® .... What is the meaning of "Ignorant are given up to discrimination and wise are not"

Inner voice (i).....If you are spending time discriminating then who will be AWARE.

r......If i do not discriminate between good and bad, my whole body can be in a mess with karmas.

i......Leave the job of discrimination to your subordinates.

r.....subordinates! where are subordinates?

i.....DNA cells all over your body.

r..... But DNA cells have no senses like eyes,ears, nose etc.They are almost dead compared to me.

i.....Make them alive by infusing INFLOWS.

r..... Their number is infinite.

i.....select a few..4,8,16,32

r.....even this will take a few births in this 27th plane, when will I get the time to go to higher planes?

i.....Since the INFLOWS started in your body many years back, each day has been better and better for you.

And this system will continue so why worry about time or number of births.

r.....will I have to repeat this process in each of higher planes from 5th to 27th.

i......yes.

r......what will happen with this huge time consuming process in higher planes.

i......You will form three vehicles named dharamkaya, nirmankaya, and sambhogkaya.

4-8-16 or 32 sons will give you time to rule over vast empire in each plane when you rise.

And these three kayas will unltimately make your greater vehicle. And When you are ready

to go to Nirvan this greater vehicle will carry you over.

DISCRIMINATION..... WHICH AS PER JEFF IS HEART OF LANKAVATARA SUTRA .......STRINGTHENED LOTUS SUTRA ALL

OVER AGAIN AND CHANGED MY METHOD OF MEDITATION. I NOW DIRECT INFLOWS TOWARDS DNA

CELLS TILL I AM READY TO SELECT A FEW SONS.

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"Riju ® .... What is the meaning of "Ignorant are given up to discrimination and wise are not"
Inner voice (i).....If you are spending time discriminating then who will be AWARE."

This is excellent advice and is the heart (or summary) of the first chapter of Lankavatara sutra. :)

Also, from the first chapter... Riju - remind you of anything you have written above...

Then said Mahamati the Bodhisattva-Mahasattva: O blessed One, Sugata, Arhat and Fully-Enlightened One, pray tell us about the realisation of Noble Wisdom which is beyond the path and usage of philosophers; which is devoid of all predicates such as being and non-being, oneness and otherness, bothness and non-bothness, existence and non-existence, enternity and non-eternity; which has nothing to do with individuality and generality, nor false-imagination, nor any illusion arising from the mind itself; but which manifests itself as the Truth of Highest Reality. By which, going up continously by the stages of purification, one enters at last upon the stage of Tathagatahood, whereby, by the power of his original vows unattended by any striving, one will radiate its influence to infinite worlds, like a gem reflecting its variegated colors, whereby I and other Bodhisattvas-Mahasattvas will be enabled to bring all beings to the same perfection of virtue.

Anyone else have any comments on the first chapter? Or, shall we move on to the second?

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Ok, then Jonesboy... Your wish is...

This potentially controversial question leads off into the 2nd Chapter...

Then Mahamati the Bodhisattva-Mahasattva spoke to the Blessed One, saying: You speak of the erroneous views of the philosophers, will you please tell us of them, that we may be on our guard against them?

And goes into what percieved "reality" is as compared with other "philosophical" views...

Any thoughts?

(Also, feel free to add comments to chapter 1, if you are so interested.)

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"Then Mahamati the Bodhisattva-Mahasattva spoke to the Blessed One, saying: You speak of the erroneous views of the philosophers, will you please tell us of them, that we may be on our guard against them?"

And goes into what percieved "reality" is as compared with other "philosophical" views...

Any thoughts?

Everyone of us has erroneous views about Gods, universe etc.

When I refered back to this chapter in the sutra, I saw 108 questions on

erroneous views put forward by Mahamati.

We may have 1008 such wrong views. Many have been discussed on this and

various forums.

I think let every one come out with their own wrong/right views and can be discussed here

or

We move ahead

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Fair enough on discussing incorrect views. Unless someone would like to go back, I would leave the chapter with this very useful reminder...

Mahamati, you and all Bodhisattvas should dicipline yourselves in the realisation and patience acceptance of the truths of the emptiness, un-bornness, no self-natureness, and the non-duality of all things. This teaching is found in all the sutras of all the Buddhas and is presented to meet the varied dispositions of beings, but it is not the Truth itself. These teachings are only a finger pointing towards Noble Wisdom. They are like a mirage with its springs of water which the deer take to be real and chase after. So with the teachings in all the sutras: They are intended for the consideration and guidance of the discriminating minds of all people, but they are not the Truth itself, which can only be self-realised within one's deepest consciousness.

Mahamati, you and ask the Bodhisattvas must seek for this inner self-realisation of Noble Wisdom, and not be captivated by word-teachings.

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Moving on to Chapter 3... Right Knowledge or Knowledge of Relations

In the Sutra...

The Blessed One replied: People of this world are dependent in their thinking on one of two things: on the notion of being whereby they take pleasure in realism, or in the notion of non-being whereby they take pleasure in nihilism; in either case they imagine enmancipation where there is no emancipation.

What do you think of this statement? Would you agree with Buddha on the point?

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Guest Experientialknowing

See this is one of those statements that blows everything on both sides of the pond completly out of the water an bespeaks of clarity only, utlra rational abiding ever present reality right her right now right this very instant and each instant.

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I take this statement as first of Buddhism's middle path.

If one goes into nihilism or goes into the philosophy of Emptiness of this universe, he can become an arhat but

in fact he is down in the ditch/extinct.

And if one clings to EXISTENCE again he is down the ditch/ disintegrates.

Keeping in the middle of these two dimensionally opposite philosophies one learns the path of

NO OUTFLOWS, and succeeds

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Riju, bhoddisattvas and Buddhas confirm this process. It is easy to follow.

If one feels pain, sufferings or too much joy in existence, it is time to detach

and sit in AWARENESS, keeping the thought in mind that all this is temporary, empty, nothing

and will pass away. Meditation of AWARENESS makes it easy and if one knows VIPASSANA, it makes

the process easiest. In vipassana one diverts ones attention to sensations in the body. This

brings peace which replaces joy, sadness and pain.

If one feels detached and bliss in meditation or some process of Yoga,and a sort of clinging

to this process developes , IT IS TIME TO RUN AWAY FROM MEDITATION and get involved with friends

family or job.

Initially one cannot observe that something is happening to him in this double process. If one

is acute in his senses , he will feel more at peace and better in relationships. Later on

One can also observe INFLOWS from others and then he learns to control his OUTFLOWS.

One becomes a bhoddisattva onCE he undersatnds this science of INFLOWS AND OUTFLOWS.

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On a different note.

 

To me it really talked about why some are on the path and why others no matter what will never ever even try.

 

Next chapter please!

Budhism in worship/love touches all.

Buddhism in hinayana (vipassana meditation) touches 90% of all.

Buddhism in Mahayana ( I am/ I am not) touches 10% of all.

Buddhism in Lotus sutra touches almost NONE or one in billions

In which category you think you fit?

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Moving on to Chapter 3... Right Knowledge or Knowledge of Relations

In the Sutra...

The Blessed One replied: People of this world are dependent in their thinking on one of two things: on the notion of being whereby they take pleasure in realism, or in the notion of non-being whereby they take pleasure in nihilism; in either case they imagine enmancipation where there is no emancipation.

What do you think of this statement? Would you agree with Buddha on the point?

Personally, I find it helpful to pull out this point a little farther. The section goes on to say...

Those who are dependent upon notions of being, regard the world as rising from a causation that is really existent, and that this actually existing and becoming world does not take its rise from a causation that is non-existent. This is the realistic view as held by some people. Then there are other people who are dependent on the notion of the non-being of all things. These people admit the existence of greed, anger and folly, and at the same time they deny the existence of things that produce greed, anger and folly. This is not rational, for greed, anger and folly are no more to be taken hold as real; they neither have substance nor individual marks.

At a practical level, such causation would be beleiving in such things as the "Big Bang theory" and "past lives".

Also, with non-being, believing that things like "anger" are just natural; flows that exist in the world that are not "me", but just divinely "expressed through" me.

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Moving on to emptiness...

Then Mahamati asked the Blessed One, saying: Tell us, Blessed One, how all things can be empty, un-born, and have no self-nature, so that we may awakened and quickly realise highest enlightment?

The Blessed One replied: What is emptiness, indeed! It is a term whose very self-nature is false-imagination, but because of one's attachment to false-imagination we are obliged to talk of emptiness, no-birth, and no self-nature. There are seven kind of emptiness: emptiness of mutuality which is non-existent; emptiness of individual marks; emptiness of self-nature; emptiness of no-work, emptiness of work; emptiness of all things in the sense that they are unpredictable, and emptiness in its highest sense of Ultimate Reality.


Any thoughts?

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Guest Experientialknowing
At a practical level, such causation would be beleiving in such things as the "Big Bang theory" and "past lives".

Also, with non-being, believing that things like "anger" are just natural; flows that exist in the world that are not "me", but just divinely "expressed through" me.

 

 

Yes and the third state is seperate yet can weave become interwoven with either or both. When it does it is subject to the laws inherint to the constiution of each. Otherwise it remains as is. Uncolored, unmoved, an unstruk sound. Pure potentiality if you will to be everything and nothing and all considerations inbetween.

 

To take human birth for example is to reincarnate by the very moment as the body is constantly undergoing change moment by moment the cosmology of the body is not different than that of the universe just a different scale.

 

There are big bangs, there is cell death yet the incarnate cell lives on having passed it's information to the child it gave birth to in this way thought the outer wrapper perishes the essence continues on.

 

The infant form of mine is quite dead you know, the young boy I was he is also dead, as is the young man, Now the middle aged man is present and he is dying moment by moment and one day when enough of him is gone will not the old man look back and say verily I hath reincarnated so many times yet that which is in essence hath always remain unchanged.

 

All is Lila. 

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The chapter finishes on the point...

 

Ignorant people and worldly philophers cherish a kind of no-birth, but it is not the no-birth which I teach. I teach the un-bornness of the un-born essence of all things which teaching is established in the minds of the wise by their self-realisation of Noble Wisdom. A ladle, clay, a vessel, a wheel, or seeds, or elements – these are external conditions; ignorance, discrimination, attachment, habit, karma, - these are inner conditions. When this entire universe is regarded as concatenation and as nothing else but concetenation, then the mind, but its patient acceptance of the truth that all things are un-born, gains tranquility.

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Seems like it might be time to move on to the 4th Chapter which describes the Knowledge of Reality. To start us off, one should understand...

By becoming attached to what is seen of the mind itself, there is an activity awakened which is perpetuated by habit-energy that becomes manifest in the mind-system, from the activities of the mind-system there rises the notion of an ego-soul and its belongings; the discrimintations, attachments, and notion of an ego-soul, rising simultaneously like the sun and its rays of light.

Then the question was asked...

Then Mahamati asked the Blessed One: Pray tell us, Blessed One, about the five Dharmas, so that we may fully understand perfect knowledge?

What are the five Dharmas? And, do they matter?

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  • 2 weeks later...

On the five Dharmas, it becomes fairly important as...

 

The Blessed One replied: The five Dharmas are: appearance, name, discrimination, right-knowledge, and Reality. By appearence is meant that which reveals itself to the senses and to the discriminating-mind and is perviced as form, sound, odour, taste, and touch. Out of these appearances ideas are formed, such as clay, water, jar, etc., by which one says: this is such and such a thing and no other,- this is name. When appearances are constrasted and names compared, as when we say: this is an elephant, this is horse, a cart, a pedestrian, a man, a woman, or, this is mind and what belongs to it, - the things thus named are said to be discriminated. As these discriminations come to be seen as mutually conditioning, as empty of self-substance, as un-born, and thus come to be seen as they truly are, that is, as manifestations of the mind itself, - this is right-knowledge. By it the wise cease to regard appearances and names as realities.

When appearances and names are put away and all discrimination ceases, that which remains is the true and essential nature of things and, as nothing can be predicated as to the nature of essence, it is called the "Suchness" of Reality. This universal, undifferentiated, inscrutable, "Suchness" is the only Reality but it is variously characterised by Truth, Mind-essence, Transcendental Intelligence, Noble Wisdom, etc. This Dharma of the imagelessness of the Essence-nature of Ultimate Reality is the Dharma which has been proclaimed by all the Buddhas, and when all things are understood in full agreement with it, one is in possesion of Perfect Knowledge, and is on his way to the attainment of the Transcendental Intelligence of the Tathagatas.

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