Home » Excerpts » How Great Bodhisattvas Complete The Six Perfections

念念离行於施。
念念净行於戒。
念念寂行於忍。
念念续行於进。
念念一行於定。
念念佛行於智。

– 净土圣贤录
(袁宏道, 石头居士篇)

Thought to thought with Renunciation is practice of Generosity.
Thought to thought with Purity is practice of Morality (Precepts).
Thought to thought with Stillness is practice of Patience.
Thought to thought with Continuity is practice of Diligence.
Thought to thought with Oneness is practice of Concentration.
Thought to thought with Buddha is practice of Wisdom.

– Record Of Pure Land’s Noble Sages
(Section On Yuan Hongdao, Layman Stone)

[Perfection Of Generosity:] The god [Lord of Peace and Calm] said, “Mañjuśrī  [Kumārabhuta Bodhisattva], is there a method by which a bodhisattva great being who is miserly can complete the perfection of generosity, yet those who are generous cannot?” Mañjuśrī said, “Yes… And why? Because to never let go of, or cast away, any sentient being, or any of the buddha qualities, on the relative level, is the miserliness of the bodhisattva great beings.”

[Perfection Of Morality:] The god said, “Mañjuśrī, is there a method by which a bodhisattva great being who is ill behaved can complete the perfection of discipline, yet those who are disciplined cannot?” Mañjuśrī said, “There is… when a bodhisattva great being avoids superficial discipline in order to ripen beings, that is the perfection of discipline of a bodhisattva great being on the relative level.”

[Perfection Of Patience:] The god said, “Mañjuśrī, is there a method of patience for a bodhisattva great being who has forsaken patience?” Mañjuśrī said, “… [T]here is. Any bodhisattva great being who ultimately has no patience with any phenomena having substance, actuality, or essence is in fact, in an ineffable manner, in possession of the supreme patience… [I]n a manner free from reference points, that is the supreme patience of a bodhisattva great being.”

[Perfection Of Diligence:] The god said, “Mañjuśrī, is there a method by which a lazy bodhisattva great being can be diligent?” Mañjuśrī said, “… [T]here is. A lazy bodhisattva great being is unlike those diligent hearers, solitary buddhas, and extremists who employ an easy form of diligence that involves focus.”

[Perfection Of Concentration:] The god said, “Mañjuśrī, is there a method by which a bodhisattva great being who is forgetful can rest in equipoise?” Mañjuśrī said, “… [T]here is. A bodhisattva great being, who, even in his sleep, does not give rise to thoughts of substance, essence, or actuality on the ultimate level, is resting in equipoise in a manner devoid of reference points.” 

[Perfection Of Wisdom:] The god said, “Mañjuśrī, is there a method by which a bodhisattva great being who has no knowledge can come to possess great knowledge?” Mañjuśrī said, “… [T]here is. And why? … [U]ltimately all phenomena are discerned by knowledge. However, when one searches for phenomena, they disappear and cannot be observed. Knowledge is also like that; ultimately it also does not exist and cannot be observed. Therefore, relatively, one speaks of ‘possessing knowledge,’ even though that knowledge is ultimately utterly unborn… [A]ccording to that method, a bodhisattva great being who has no knowledge is called one who possesses great knowledge, or one who possesses especially exalted knowledge, or one who possesses sacred knowledge, or one who lays hold of knowledge, or one who possesses knowledge devoid of a focus. Ultimately, things are not as they are described.”

The Noble Mahāyāna Sūtra “Teaching the Relative and Ultimate Truths”
(Ārya­saṃvṛti­paramārtha­satya­nirdeśa­nāma­mahā­yāna­sūtra)
By Dharmachakra Translation Group

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