Essence Of The ‘Sūtra Of Immeasurable Meanings’ 《无量义经》之精华

摘抄: 无量义经: 说法品第二
Excerpt: Sūtra Of Immeasurable Meanings [Prologue Of Lotus Sutra]: Chapter 2: Preaching The Dharma

Translated by ancient India’s Tripiṭaka Master Dharmagatayaśas [from Sanskrit to Chinese in 481 C.E. and translated by Singapore’s Shen Shi’an (沈时安) from Chinese to English in 2015 C.E.]


The Buddha [Śākyamuni] said, ‘Good men, there is one Dharma door [method to Buddhahood], named “Immeasurable Meanings”. Bodhisattvas desiring to attain cultivation and learning of Immeasurable Meanings, should examine that all dharmas [phenomena of mind and matter], from originally till now, to have the nature and characteristics [forms] of emptiness and stillness (tranquillity), without the large and without the small, without arising and without ceasing, not abiding and not moving, not advancing and not retreating, just as empty space is without dualistic dharmas.


Yet, all sentient beings, with false delusions mistakenly conceptualise, that there is this and there is that, that there is gain and there is loss, giving rise to thoughts that are not good, creating much evil karma, to be reborn in the six realms, complete with all kinds of suffering, for immeasurable kotis [tens of millions] of kalpas [world cycles] not able to exit by themselves.


Bodhisattva-Mahāsattvas, thus carefully examining this, giving rise to the heart of empathy, give rise to great loving-kindness and compassion, and will save them, by once again deeply penetrating all dharmas, with the forms of dharmas thus, arising with thus dharmas; with the forms of dharmas thus, abiding in thus dharmas; with the forms of dharmas thus, changing with thus dharmas; with the forms of dharmas thus, ceasing with thus dharmas; with the forms of dharmas thus, able to arise with evil dharmas; with the forms of dharmas thus, able to arise with good dharmas; with the abiding, changing and ceasing, likewise thus.


Bodhisattvas thus examining the four forms [of arising, abiding, changing, ceasing] from the beginning to the end, with all completely known already, once again carefully examining all dharmas, from thought to thought not abiding, and continually renewing with arising and ceasing, again contemplating these as arising, abiding, changing and ceasing.


Thus contemplated already, yet entering all of sentient beings’ roots, natures and desires, with their natures and desires immeasurable thus, preaching the Dharma that is immeasurable. Preaching the Dharma that is immeasurable, its meanings are also immeasurable. Immeasurable meanings, are from one Dharma born, with that one Dharma, that is without form, thus without form, without form and not form, not form and without form, this is named as true form.


For Bodhisattva-Mahāsattvas who peacefully abide in such true form already, their arisen loving-kindness and compassion is with thorough understanding and is not false, for where sentient beings are, truly able to remove their suffering. With suffering removed already, again for them they preach the Dharma, enabling all sentient beings to receive happiness [bliss].


Good men, if Bodhisattvas are able to thus cultivate this one Dharma Door of Immeasurable Meanings, they will definitely quickly accomplish Anuttara-Samyak-Saṁbodhi [Buddhahood].


Good men, thus is this extremely profound and unsurpassable “Mahāyāna Sūtra Of Immeasurable Meanings”, with its text and principles genuine, and honoured with none higher, by all Buddhas of the three periods [past, present, future] together protected, that no assemblies from the demonic hordes’ path are able to enter, not by all evil views of birth and death able to be destroyed.


This is why, good men, Bodhisattva-Mahāsattvas desiring to quickly accomplish unsurpassable Bodhi [Buddhahood], should cultivate and learn this such extremely profound and unsurpassable “Mahāyāna Sūtra of Immeasurable Meanings.”‘

Summary With Notes

The Buddha advises those on the Bodhisattva path to practise the following most profound, honoured, indestructible and unsurpassable teachings, for swiftly guiding oneself and others to Buddhahood. [1] Examine all mind and matter to be equally empty in nature, being constantly changing and thus without substantial self, thus also without any opposing relative characteristics. (This is while unenlightened beings see the world in dualistic terms, thus suffering and trapped in rebirth.) [2] Seeing the suffering of unenlightened beings, compassionately and equanimously comply with changing phenomena, while continuing to examine all phenomena to be empty in nature. [3] Seeing unenlightened beings’ immeasurable characteristics, immeasurable forms of Dharma teachings are skilfully manifested from the one ultimate Dharma beyond form. [4] After eradicating the suffering of unenlightened beings, the one Dharma is shared for guiding them to Buddhahood. 

Thus is the Middle Path of being at ease with being with and manifesting countless forms, while knowing their singular empty nature shown, while also being free from attachment to both form and emptiness. Thus, as Vimalakīrti taught in the Vimalakīrti Sūtra (维摩经), ‘Although knowing that all Buddha Lands and their sentient beings are [of] emptiness, yet constantly cultivate the Pure Land [practice], for teaching and transforming all groups of beings.’ (虽知诸佛国,及与众生空,而常修净土,教化诸群生。)

This is why the sincere Practice of mindfulness of Amituofo (Amitābha Buddha) with right Faith and Aspiration leading to birth in his Pure Land, which is also mindfully protected by all Buddhas (as stated in the Amitābha Sūtra), among all immeasurable means, can be seen as the most skilful expression of the above teachings. This is so as Amituofo has fully realised the Middle Path mentioned, being able to see all phenomena as empty, while being able to manifest any necessary forms at the same time. While we know even his magnificent Pure Land is empty in nature, its most skilfully manifested forms are universally recommended by all Buddhas, for guiding oneself and others with Amituofo’s perfectly enlightened means – for the swiftest learning, practice, realisation and sharing of the Dharma that leads all to Buddhahood.

Related Courses

Free: Understanding Amituofo Via The Amitabha Sutra (15th Run)
Destination Pureland: How To Have The Best Rebirth (2nd Run)

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