The Chapter Teaching the Purification of Boundless Gateways
Degé Kangyur, vol. 39 (dkon brtsegs, ka), folios 45.b–99.b.
Translated by the Dharmachakra Translation Committee
under the patronage and supervision of 84000: Translating the Words of the Buddha
The Chapter Teaching the Purification of Boundless Gateways consists of an extended discourse presented by the Buddha to his bodhisattva disciple Anantavyūha. The instruction consists of a so-called dhāraṇī gateway, a teaching that involves a series of dhāraṇī spells, which are interspersed throughout. The teaching is generally concerned with well-known Mahāyāna Buddhist themes, ranging from the lack of inherent identity to the qualities of complete awakening, but these topics are here presented within a larger exegesis on the meaning of the dhāraṇī gateway.
Translated by the Dharmachakra Translation Committee under the supervision of Chokyi Nyima Rinpoche. The translation was produced by Zachary Beer. Benjamin Collet-Cassart, Ryan Damron, and Andreas Doctor checked the translation against the Tibetan and edited the text.
The translation was completed under the patronage and supervision of 84000: Translating the Words of the Buddha.
The generous sponsorship of Qiang Li (李强) and Ya Wen (文雅), which helped make the work on this translation possible, is most gratefully acknowledged.
The Chapter Teaching the Purification of Boundless Gateways is the second scripture among the forty-nine sūtras included in the Heap of Jewels (Ratnakūṭa) collection in the Degé Kangyur.
The sūtra takes the form of a conversation between the Buddha and the bodhisattva Anantavyūha. The teaching itself commences when Anantavyūha requests from the Buddha a dhāraṇī gateway. This is an important concept common to many Great Vehicle sūtras. As a magical formula, a dhāraṇī constitutes a gateway to the infinite qualities of awakening, the awakened state itself, and the various forms of buddha activity. Just as those qualities are innumerable, so are the dhāraṇī gateways. The Mahāprajñāpāramitāśāstra explains the term by comparing a dhāraṇī gateway to a samādhi gateway.1 Just as a samādhi gateway allows access to any desired quality or magical power, so too can a dhāraṇī gateway. The difference is that while the samādhi comes and goes, the dhāraṇī never leaves those who have “obtained” it, following them like a shadow from life to life. This is because, when realizing or “obtaining” a dhāraṇī, one becomes “sealed” by it. Hence a dhāraṇī is often also called a dhāraṇī seal.
The word dhāraṇī derives from the Sanskrit verbal root √dhṛ (“to hold,” “support,” “contain,” “retain,” or “remember”). The sense of containing could be applied to both the formula, which magically “contains” certain qualities, and the person who has obtained this dhāraṇī formula or seal. Once it has been obtained, that person becomes “sealed” or “stamped” with whatever quality the dhāraṇī contains and subsequently has the power to activate this quality or invoke the corresponding buddha activity. Though not explicit in the literal meaning of the term, a dhāraṇī is always a vehicle for the blessing of the buddhas and the magical power sealed therein. The sūtras and commentaries often describe the dhāraṇī power of retaining things in memory, but dhāraṇīs can also function as the gateway to innumerable other qualities, such as loving kindness, compassion, and so forth, and invoke any kind of awakened activity. As for the dhāraṇī formula itself, being a supplication or a command with a message, a dhāraṇī tends to be longer than the average mantra. It may also, and often does, include words devoid of lexical meaning. Perhaps the dhāraṇīs, with their tendency to include vernacular forms and seemingly alliterative derivations, were intended to resonate with the native speakers of the language, directly impacting their minds and feelings. Thus, the alliterative forms in the dhāraṇīs that seem unintelligible to us might have been intelligible to the native speakers of the period, or at least conjured up the meanings and feelings evoked by similar-sounding words known to them.
A dhāraṇī cannot be reduced to a simple spell, however. Anantavyūha remarks, “this dhāraṇī gateway is as wide as the sky; it is a peerless great gateway. For that reason, it is described with words such as immeasurable and limitless.” This is not to say that the conversation does not focus on the unique efficacy of the actual dhāraṇī syllables. The Buddha explains that “dhāraṇīs are the condensation, the inclusion, the main essence, and the heart of every explanation, praise, utterance, declaration, and illustration.” Accordingly, dhāraṇīs are first and foremost potent, condensed speech. To penetrate them necessitates that one engages deeply with language and internalizes an understanding of the Sanskrit alphabet in particular. According to the sūtra, dhāraṇīs are not fanciful magic, for part of their efficacy hinges on the inseparable connection that exists between language and the phenomenal world.
Like most Great Vehicle sūtras, this text reinforces the need for its own preservation via a discussion of why it is vital that all bodhisattvas take up the practice of this dhāraṇī. This spurs in turn a discussion of the benefits of having excelled in the dhāraṇī: nothing less than the achievement of the ten powers of a buddha, the factors of awakening, and the four types of fearlessness. Each of these traditional Buddhist lists is given its own unique treatment. Several dhāraṇīs are presented, including a series of spells that enable the practitioner to subdue Māra and to invoke and summon a variety of different gods of different locales, including Śakra, Brahmā, and the four great kings along with their retinues. Each of the latter will in turn bestow on the practitioner a variety of powers. The audience is finally urged to uphold and practice the sūtra’s instructions in a series of exhortations that encapsulate many of the sūtra’s central themes in an extended set of verses.
Only a few of the texts contained in the Heap of Jewels are extant in Sanskrit, and this scripture is not one of them. The Tibetan translation, which we have rendered into English here, was completed in the early translation period and is listed in the early-ninth-century Denkarma catalogue.2 According to the colophon to the Tibetan translation, the sūtra was translated into Tibetan by the translator Kawa Paltsek (under the name Paltsek Rakṣita) and the Indian preceptor Surendrabodhi, who both participated in numerous translation projects in Tibet during the early translation period. The Chinese canon also contains a translation of this sūtra (T. 310–2), which was produced during the early eighth century by Bodhiruci (d. 727), a renowned translator who originally hailed from South India. This Bodhiruci is responsible for translating much of the Heap of Jewels collection, among other texts, into Chinese. This English translation was based primarily on the Tibetan Degé edition, with consultation of the Comparative Edition (dpe bsdur ma).
Homage to all buddhas and bodhisattvas.
Thus did I hear at one time. The Blessed One was staying at Kalandakanivāpa, in the Bamboo Grove near Rājagṛha, along with a great saṅgha of monks and innumerable bodhisattva great beings with only one birth remaining who had gathered from various buddhafields. At that time, the Blessed One was teaching the Dharma while surrounded by an audience numbering many hundreds of thousands. At one point, a bodhisattva named Anantavyūha, who was present among the assembly, stood up, draped his shawl over one shoulder, and knelt on his right knee. Bowing with palms joined toward the Blessed One, he said, “If the Thus-Gone One will grant me the opportunity, I would like to ask the blessed, thus-gone, worthy, perfect Buddha some questions, that I may receive a reply to my inquiries.”
The bodhisattva Anantavyūha then said to the Blessed One, [F.46.a] “Blessed One, I would like to ask several questions on behalf of bodhisattva great beings who cultivate boundless, immeasurable wisdom and don the great armor.
“Blessed One, I ask this of the Thus-Gone One on behalf of bodhisattva great beings who dwell at the level of great skill in means, who are skilled in methods for knowing limitless topics, who cultivate definitive great wisdom, and who have set out on the bodhisattva path.
“Blessed One, I ask this of the Thus-Gone One on behalf of bodhisattva great beings who benefit all beings, whose minds are incomparable, whose intention is to know that all phenomena are pure, who analyze with great skillful understanding, who have developed skill in means for ascertaining innumerable topics, who pursue the great lion throne, who sit on the lion throne of omniscience, who cultivate intense subjugation, who are experts in irrefutable analysis, and who have fully donned the great armor that consists in applying great diligence in analysis.
“Blessed One, I ask this of the Thus-Gone One on behalf of those beings who aim to serve as the foremost among beings and to reach perfection as lords ruling over everyone. Blessed One, [F.46.b] I ask this on behalf of those who aim to achieve unhindered and fearless knowledge, who maintain fearlessness and teach the Dharma to beings through methods and conditions that are beyond increase and decrease, who skillfully and extensively teach beings about the meaning of all phenomena, and who show how to penetrate the essential nature of things. Blessed One, I ask this on behalf of those whose minds are incomparable, unexcelled, superior, and foremost, and who seek to attain mastery of the mind.
“Blessed One, I ask this of the Thus-Gone One on behalf of those who, for the welfare and happiness of the entire world, crack the eggshell of ignorance and aim for the treasury of self-manifest wisdom to become supreme, foremost, preeminent, superior, and exalted in the whole world with its gods, without relying on a teacher.
“Blessed One, I ask this of the Thus-Gone One on behalf of those who live for the welfare and happiness of the entire world, who aim to achieve the wisdom of great fearlessness, who, maintaining the strength of self-manifest wisdom, aim to discern how to be skillful in teaching about this boundless wisdom, and who aim to teach the infinite, limitless, definitive Dharma. Blessed One, I ask this on behalf of those who aim to illuminate the entire world with its gods.
“Blessed One, I ask this of the Thus-Gone One on behalf of those who aim to genuinely and skillfully teach beings about vast, unsurpassed, unobstructed wisdom [F.47.a] and aim to discern how to be skillful in teaching about this utterly pure wisdom.
“Blessed One, I ask this of the Thus-Gone One on behalf of bodhisattvas who dwell on the levels and swiftly bring the level of buddhahood to culmination, who actualize the inconceivable perfection in skillful means, who develop with little hardship the inconceivable skill in means to bring beings to maturity, and who practice in order to manifest wisdom that will eradicate beings’ nonvirtuous qualities and foster their virtuous qualities, serve the family line of the Omniscient One, and lead countless thousands of beings to the level where one is destined for unsurpassed and perfect buddhahood. Blessed One, I ask this on behalf of those who teach the path of awakening to sentient beings and bodhisattvas and who delight in the qualities of buddhahood.
“Blessed One, it is now the time and the occasion for revealing these Dharma gateways. Thus-Gone One, please teach these Dharma gateways to the large audience that has gathered here and carry out a Dharma teaching! These bodhisattvas have perfected their inconceivable aspirations and [F.47.b] have only one birth remaining, and their roots of virtue are ripe. Therefore, Blessed One, will the Thus-Gone One please make these bodhisattvas skillful in the dhāraṇī gateways, so that they may achieve the foundation of expertise in discerning the boundless ways of the Dharma; so that they may realize and teach the meaning of every definition; so that, if they strive, they may fully awaken to buddhahood; so that, if they strive, they may develop the infinite strength of miraculous power with which to bring countless beings to maturity; and so that they may become skilled in possessing the qualities and wisdom of buddhahood. Blessed One, if in this way the Thus-Gone One were to genuinely reveal such Dharma gateways, innumerable beings would become skilled and matured on the path to awakening. Blessed One, the Thus-Gone One has aspired for a long time to lead countless beings to awakened knowledge and self-manifest wisdom; now the time has come! Blessed One, please reveal and teach this dhāraṇī gateway so that these bodhisattvas’ individual roots of virtue may ripen, so that they may become more and more skilled in making inconceivable aspirations, and so that, through the Thus-Gone One’s powers, they may develop infinite, inconceivable skill in means. Blessed One, the thus-gone, worthy, perfect Buddha has gained mastery of infinite skill in means and reached the level of great fearlessness. Since he has focused his intention on genuine accomplishment for countless millions of eons, he is skilled in fulfilling all beings’ wishes. [F.48.a] Blessed One, everyone present here in this retinue gazes upon the Thus-Gone One’s face; these bodhisattvas are never sated in looking at the Thus-Gone One. They are insatiable in their pursuit of omniscient wisdom, in their pursuit of the Dharma, and they never tire of listening to the treasury of the Dharma of definitive meaning.
“Blessed One, the Thus-Gone One is skilled in fulfilling the wishes of those present in this audience. The Thus-Gone One also understands the skill involved in all these bodhisattvas’ aspirations, the skill involved in application, and the skill involved in bringing them to maturity. Therefore, Blessed One, will the Thus-Gone One please reveal and explain the words of the Dharma gateways and dhāraṇī gateways, by which they may penetrate the unsurpassed sphere of the buddhas, the thus-gone ones, and come to perfect the skill in ascertaining all phenomena?
“Blessed One, how do bodhisattvas who are not yet matured come to be matured? How do those who are matured achieve efficient superknowledge and the omniscient mind with liberated wisdom vision? Blessed One, I ask the Thus-Gone One for true certainty so that these beings who are still in uncertain states may be matured to the sphere of omniscience upon hearing such a Dharma teaching. Blessed One, please remain with us to explain the Dharma and thereby nurture beings with your great love!
“Blessed One, there will come a time in the future when hatred is rampant, [F.48.b] when desire, anger, ignorance, and other afflictions proliferate, when beings, overcome with ignorance, will argue, quarrel, bicker, and fight about the Dharma. I ask the Blessed One, the Thus-Gone One, to settle these matters so that at such a time bodhisattvas will be able, with great love in their hearts, to remain patient and neutral during such fights and, instead of arguing, adopt this Dharma way; so that, seized by great compassion, they may act harmoniously and not argue; and so that they may increase the power of their roots of virtue.
“Blessed One, if the Thus-Gone One will reveal this unobstructed Dharma way for the bodhisattvas, then, Blessed One, what are the gateways of Dharma teaching and Dharma illumination that lead to expertise in summarizing all the teachings? The Thus-Gone One, who is skilled in summarizing all the teachings, has said that this Dharma way is undeceiving and brings peace. Please reveal the unfathomable Dharma treasures! Please unlock the Dharma treasuries!
“The Thus-Gone One is unsurpassable and incorruptible. Endowed with perfect, unceasing realization, you subdue and annihilate all opposition in a way that is aligned with the Dharma. You conquer all demons and generate roots of virtue in beings through your awakened qualities. You accomplish and display to beings your extraordinary, infinite skill in aspiration. You excel in omniscient wisdom and keep in mind the limitless compendia of the teachings. In possession of perfect and infinite eloquence, [F.49.a] you have mastered infinite skill in the way of dhāraṇī through illuminating, incomparable syllables and unceasing and refined discriminating knowledge. You are expert in the way of ascertaining all phenomena. You hasten the fulfillment of beings’ wishes and demonstrate to them the connection between past and future. You teach beings about the phenomena of the past, present, and future, you explain to them what is based on causes, and you teach the Dharma without any attachment. You make perfect meaningful statements to blessed buddhas in the realms of the ten directions, and in every realm in the ten directions you eradicate beings’ views about the Dharma through your miraculous power and fearlessness. Teaching beings this incredible, definitive Dharma, you are skilled in bringing awakened wisdom to maturity. Please offer such bountiful spiritual advice!
“Furthermore, Blessed One, will the Thus-Gone One please present teachings by which bodhisattvas may become skilled in aspirations, skilled in maturing, and perfectly skilled in means: such Dharma teachings that, when bodhisattvas hear them, they each may be illuminated by the great light of the Dharma, [F.49.b] become matured for the path of awakening, and mature their skill in extraordinary aspiration?”
The Blessed One then replied to the bodhisattva Anantavyūha, “Anantavyūha, it is excellent that you have asked this of the Thus-Gone One with such a disciplined mind. Anantavyūha, you have asked the Thus-Gone One to resolve these matters for all bodhisattvas and out of compassion for all beings, to bring about the perfection of the bodhisattvas’ skill in means and the purification of their aspirations. The qualities that you possess are not easily achieved! Thus, Anantavyūha, listen carefully and pay attention. I shall now explain how bodhisattvas may rise up to the sphere of omniscient wisdom through those and other boundless qualities.”
The bodhisattva Anantavyūha agreed and gave his full attention to the Blessed One, who proceeded, “Anantavyūha, bodhisattvas who seek infinite skill in aspiration should employ the secret words conceived of by the Thus-Gone One; they should remember them, analyze them, and properly resolve them in their minds. How should they correctly resolve them? Anantavyūha, since this teaching of the Thus-Gone One emerges from the wisdom of the buddhas who are skilled in summarizing, [F.50.a] it does not arise from impurity. Anantavyūha, bodhisattvas should correctly train in this way: they should rely on the Dharma taught by the blessed buddhas, maintain great compassion, and extend great love to beings. In that way they will develop similar definitive qualities.
“Certain beings who are dedicated to what is inferior will reach the state of a śrāvaka. Other beings who are dedicated to what is inferior will reach the state of a pratyekabuddha. Beings who have made perfect great aspirations and are dedicated to what is vast will reach complete omniscient wisdom. We who have discarded lower, inferior teachings maintain this kind of dedication to the vast Dharma and come to understand the scope of the secret words that reveal the realization of the thus-gone ones. We properly adopt the entire Dharma through the vast, sublime, and incomparable syllables of the thus-gone ones’ Dharma teachings, so that beings may be brought to maturity in accordance with their faculties and inclinations.
“All those Dharma teachings are equal, without anything added or left out. They are not formless but of equal form,3 they are beyond waning and fullness, and they are infinite, deathless, and inherently pure. Although the blessed buddhas perceive and realize precisely the essential nature of the Dharma that is taught, there is no Dharma whatsoever that they comprehend or realize. Why is that? Because all Dharma teachings [F.50.b] have been explained and taught contextually, and whatever is presented contextually transcends the superficial labels of Dharma and non-Dharma. All imputed phenomena are ultimately beyond imputation. The Thus-Gone One has taught how to endeavor correctly in the true reality of phenomena. Dharma and non-Dharma are not established through conceptualization or through the absence of conceptualization. Since all phenomena are conceptually equal, they are beyond conceptualization. Since all phenomena are comprehended distinctly, they are beyond distinction. Since all phenomena are beyond origination, they are unborn. Since all phenomena are identified and brought into being through inaccurate conceptualization, they are unreal. Since all phenomena must come into being, they are beyond arising. Because phenomena do not come into contact, they do not interact. Since all phenomena are the perfection of sameness, they are beyond dependence. Since there is no acceptance or rejection of any phenomena, they are beyond engagement; this is the unique fulfillment of the activity of aspiration. All phenomena lack identity, and because they transcend identity there is no concept of mine. Since all these phenomena are beyond elaboration, they are equal, without distinction. Even if qualities are accomplished just as one has aspired, there is no aspiration whatsoever. Since all these phenomena tend towards dependence, they are nothing whatsoever. For those reasons, the Thus-Gone One has taught the nature of all these phenomena to be like a dream or an illusion; with respect to the nature of different phenomena, there are not the slightest distinctions of better, middling, and worse. In order to benefit beings I, with pure aspirations, [F.51.a] have led them to form vast aspirations and give up fixation on any phenomena.
“Anantavyūha, this is the shining of the rays of the solar lineage; it is a Dharma illumination by which bodhisattvas’ unique and perfect aspirations flourish and excel. Therefore, the children of noble family who are devoted to this mode of Dharma teaching cultivate this light of the Dharma. Anantavyūha, bodhisattvas who reflect properly on an inward level while not letting their attention be distracted outwardly, who are stable in the abandonment of obscurations, who recollect the illumination of the bodhisattvas’ meditative absorption, and who are devoted to the profound Dharma should investigate this teaching. This teaching has been given by the Thus-Gone One to elicit expertise in what is conditioned. He has explained that those phenomena whose identity is to be conditioned are hollow, fake, void, essenceless, false, and deceptive by nature. The causes and conditions that make beings afflicted are also hollow, fake, void, essenceless, false, and deceptive. Even if you were to search throughout the worlds of the ten directions, you could never perceive or observe causes and conditions that lead beings to purity. These cannot be observed because they are beyond grasper and grasped and are nonexistent. If the Thus-Gone One has determined that phenomena are to be abandoned, what need is there to mention the abandonment of non-phenomena? What is abandoned is beyond being adopted; it is spontaneously present and intrinsically pure and thus does not know even the slightest existence. When all phenomena are comprehended precisely as they inherently are, there is no thinking or conceptualizing. Since all phenomena are not otherwise, [F.51.b] their basis cannot be identified. Therefore all these phenomena are groundless and baseless. They are verbal labels, and verbal labels are void. They persist without inherent identity, yet they do not persist. They are baseless, and because they have no basis they do not remain. The Thus-Gone One has taught using synonyms such as ending, transformation, and cessation. The Thus-Gone One’s intentional synonyms apply here as well.
“You should not fixate on either virtuous or nonvirtuous things. By fixating on nonvirtuous things one becomes fixated on nonvirtuous things. By fixating on nonvirtuous things, suffering and mental unease emerge. These are referred to as the noble truth of suffering and thus have been taught by the Thus-Gone One in the Dharma discourse on nonvirtue. In the Dharma discourse on virtue, the Thus-Gone One has taught the absence of fixation on both virtue and nonvirtue, as well as the cessation of craving, so that one may abandon the origin and realize the second noble truth. In order that one may reach cessation and be free from concepts, in the discourse on the third noble truth the Thus-Gone One has taught extinction, investigation into the state of freedom from attachment, and the absence of grasping, delight, perception, and sensation, as well as freedom from concepts, so that one may realize the noble truth of the cessation of suffering. In order that one may realize the noble truth of the path leading to the cessation of suffering, in the discourse of the fourth noble truth the Thus-Gone One has taught those paths concerned with the pursuit of the level of realization of phenomena just as they are, and he taught the state that utterly transcends concepts, deceit, and all conceptual elaboration. He also taught the presentation of the eightfold path from cultivation of the right view up to right concentration. [F.52.a] The blessed buddhas have categorized the suffering to be understood, its origin to be abandoned, the cessation to be actualized, and the path to be cultivated as suffering, its origin, the cessation of suffering, and the path leading to the cessation of suffering. This suffering is a mere convention that does not really exist.
“There are the two bases for understanding ignorance and so forth. What are they? There is no basis whatsoever for the absence of knowledge; since it is beyond realization, experience, knowledge, and inclusion, what could its basis be? It is nonexistent, fake, false, and deceptive. It has no basis other than being a label. There is no basis for fixating on it as being something eternal4 or finite. This is how one should analyze the basis of suffering, without fixation on concepts. In that way, one should understand that without a basis there can also be no understanding. Since suffering arises in connection with ignorance, it has the nature of unknowing. Ignorance is neither associated nor unassociated with anything and thus is nonexistent; it is beyond association. For these reasons, ignorance is not referred to as a creator or considered to be one, and thus it does not think or conceptualize; it does not act or perform any function.
“Anantavyūha, this is the gateway to the comprehension of the identity of ignorance, which is aligned with the bodhisattvas’ knowledge and through which the darkness of ignorance is dispelled and the Dharma gateway that accords with knowledge is made manifest. [F.52.b] One purifies and accomplishes these gateways in order to realize expertise in the bodhisattvas’ noble truths. While focusing on suffering, one brings its origin to an end, to exhaustion, to cessation, by training in and cultivating the path of sameness. By practicing this path of sameness, one comes to know and understand all such phenomena. By knowing, one should abandon. By knowing, one should actualize. By knowing, one should cultivate. Thus what is known is understood, what is understood is abandoned, the abandonment is what is actualized, and what is actualized is taught to be cultivation. Understanding the Dharma of the noble ones in this way, one accomplishes the truth nonconceptually while remaining diligent; one remains free from acceptance and rejection.
“Anantavyūha, noble beings understand that everything is imagined, created, and cherished, yet they do not become involved with concepts or conceptual elaboration, but maintain correct perception without clinging or reification. Thus they do not generate concepts or conceptual elaboration about the path, what is to be abandoned, or what is virtuous, not to mention concepts about what is nonvirtuous! If they are not caught up in the abandonment of these, why mention the abandonment of non-Dharma in a nonconceptual way? Those who are skilled in abandoning fetters neither bind themselves to what is spiritual nor to what is non-spiritual. They know that all phenomena are false, deceptive, void, hollow, and fake, and thus they have realized their true nature. Because they have perfected equanimity, abandoned fetters, and follow the path, [F.53.a] and because beings are bound to die, they spurn attachment and anger, and they realize that the essence of reality is neither to be accepted nor rejected.
“In any case, Anantavyūha, since it is the inherent identity of phenomena to be intrinsically empty, all phenomena lack inherent identity, and therefore no creator of phenomena can be apprehended. Since the fetters are not present in any phenomena, one can neither associate with them nor disassociate from them. Thus one should not fixate even on the unreal or form ideas and concepts about abandoning the real and unreal. Through understanding of the purity of conditions, one knows that because any phenomena produced by conditions are empty of the conditions through which they arise, and vice versa, and because beings lack inherent identity, they are utterly pure and disengaged. Therefore, conditions are not associated with causes, and causes are not associated with conditions. No phenomena impel or become involved with each other, and so, Anantavyūha, focusing on inactive phenomena, one should penetrate this Dharma gateway of groundlessness.
“This pure gateway that forms the basis for the light of the Dharma will not decline but will grow, and those who uphold it will be pure. It will produce light that is free of conceptual elaboration, and because of this light one will be free from conceit5 and become engaged. It utterly transcends scripture and, since it is free of attachment, leads to freedom.
“Anantavyūha, all phenomena are conventionally described using names and characteristics. Characteristics refers to the labeling of the four elements as form, while names refers to the labeling of the remaining four aggregates as other than form.6 Names are false imputations, and due to the inaccurate distortion of characteristics, the self is considered a type of form, [F.53.b] while the body is held to belong to the self. Names are given due to the conceptualization of characteristics. Name and form are entirely unreal: they are fake, false, deceptive, illusory, and similar to forms in a dream. Forms are explained to be just like the physical bodies experienced in a dream. One should understand that forms, which lack essence, and the remaining four aggregates grouped under name, are all mere conventions. If one can understand that, one will not be affected by suffering, nor will one grasp at truth. Nothing whatsoever will be held in one’s mind; nothing will be apprehended, not even the slightest sense of having passed beyond suffering. Since perception is utterly transcended in this way, sensation will cease.
“Anantavyūha, beings in the three realms are born out of the mental activity of perception. Since the mental activity of perception is nonexistent, those born in the three realms are also taught to be nonexistent. Whenever there is comprehension, there is fixation on form. Any mental activity is explained to be associated with sensation, perception, formation, and consciousness. Since it is the nature of phenomena to be neither associated nor disassociated, the mental activity of perception is nonexistent. Since the mental activity of perception is inherently nonexistent, it is labeled with words while being nonexistent; it is categorized as inherently peaceful.
“Anantavyūha, the categories of Dharma explanations come from the nature of phenomena. Bodhisattvas should understand the truth that is established by the sameness of explanations and utterances. Anantavyūha, the Dharma explanations of the thus-gone ones come about in order to eliminate all fetters—they are not fruitless. You should form an immense resolve, [F.54.a] engage with the Dharma teachings, and engender great love and compassion for beings while free of fixation, concepts, conceptual elaboration of phenomena, or any sense that there are beings. This is how you should enter, traverse, and resolve these Dharma gateways. Which Dharma gateways? One realizes that all conditioned things arise out of unknowing and that all unconditioned things arise from wisdom vision. With wisdom free of conceptual elaboration, one should then correctly engage with and purify both the conditioned and the unconditioned. As one proceeds to apply the uncountable Dharma teachings, the enumerations have no enumeration; enumerations have no basis in enumerations. Since the gateway to the unconditioned is a Dharma gateway, it is utterly pure and leads to the apprehending of all the aspects of the Dharma illumination. Without letting what has been grasped and apprehended go to waste, one describes and teaches it with a mind that has achieved skill in means.
“Anantavyūha, this is the entrance to the bodhisattvas’ dhāraṇī gateway, through which the discernment of the mind becomes vastly superior and all the etymological meanings of wisdom are revealed. Anantavyūha, what is the Dharma section of the dhāraṇī gateway through which bodhisattvas become skilled in apprehending all phenomena? Anantavyūha, a bodhisattva with expertise in pure wisdom maintains the wisdom of eloquence and looks into the intrinsic identity of phenomena with a mind that accords with the meaning. The bodhisattva then teaches, using the words of guidance, to describe the inexpressible: that all phenomena are essentially groundless, nameless, signless, unequaled, and beyond concordance, and yet they are not formless. [F.54.b] The nature of phenomena is undefinable, beyond coming and going, and beyond letters; it is the purity of letters, spontaneously present. Why is that? Because the nature of phenomena is similar and comparable to space. All things are therefore false and lack establishment; like space, they cannot be characterized by analysis and expression; they are utterly pure.
“All these phenomena constitute a gateless gate; their gateway is completely pure, as they are unafflicted and undisturbed. How so? The nature of all things is utterly unborn and unformed because the identity of phenomena is beyond birth and formation. For this reason, all these phenomena are described and defined as having the intrinsic identity of being unreal; their nature is to have the intrinsic identity of being unreal. In that way, if one does not fixate on them, then the bodhisattvas’ Dharma gateway that is beyond fixation, the dhāraṇī gateway, and the gateway of Dharma sections become completely pure. When discussing the features of any phenomenon, we speak conventionally about ‘such-and-such features.’ Yet whatever is a feature is devoid of features, thus features are beyond actions, deeds, attachment, and anger. For this reason the gateway of purity is explained to be a non-gateway. Because that pure gateway is an immaculate gateway that engages with the absence of features, a feature is thus explained to be not truly existent. In the same way it is explained, for the purpose of recognizing ignorance, as being unformed and devoid of features. Anantavyūha, this gateway is the purification of dhāraṇī. Anantavyūha, [F.55.a] gateway is the realization that all phenomena are like a gate of space and, like a gate of space, are beyond appearances. Within that realization, one understands the sameness of everything that arises and disintegrates. All those phenomena should therefore be apprehended in a way that transcends realization, disappearance, and apprehending.
“This entrance to the gateway of features, consisting in the absence of apprehending, abandonment, sameness, lack of sameness, and observation of even the smallest atoms, is the purity of the absence of features. Anantavyūha, absence of features refers to that which is devoid of both a body and something labeled as a body. The absence of features refers to that which is devoid of both an assemblage of names and something labeled by an assemblage of words. The absence of features implies that one should meditate in a space-like manner and understand the truth to be like space. Space is devoid of space, and space is therefore a label formed by an assemblage of words. This is the Dharma section of the gateway to the production of the power of wisdom knowledge, which concords with ignorance and by which a bodhisattva comes to realize expertise in the way of dhāraṇī. Since it is to be upheld, and since it is indisputable and free of delusion, one should penetrate the meaning of the secret dhāraṇī words, which are uninterrupted like the rains and rivers unleashed by the nāga king Anavatapta.
The bodhisattva Anantavyūha replied to the Blessed One, “Blessed One, dhāraṇī is a term that refers to knowledge of the connections between phenomena. Blessed One, dhāraṇī means to maintain the act of recollection. They are called dhāraṇī because they teach the bases of secret words that maintain the power of the treasure of insight. [F.55.b]. In this way, I will uphold the infinite power of awakening with a mind that utilizes expertise in wisdom. Blessed One, in order to help all beings, I will generate the stream of the Dharma as well as an uninterrupted power of expertise in revealing infinite wisdom. Blessed One, this dhāraṇī gateway is as wide as the sky; it is an unequaled great gateway. For that reason, it is defined as immeasurable and limitless. Statements such as equality of expression, facilitation, and instruction refer to its categorization in terms of expertise in teaching and its uniqueness. Since distinctions among letters are mastered, the comprehensive knowledge of language will be mastered. Since the meaning is analyzed and there is skill in teaching, comprehensive knowledge of the meaning will be mastered. Since there is skill in ascertaining phenomena, the comprehensive knowledge of phenomena will be mastered. Since there is purity of eloquence in the gateways of the Dharma, comprehensive knowledge of eloquence will be mastered. One fosters and maintains great love and great compassion in order to help beings, and yet one displays equanimity free of conceptual elaboration, without any sense of knowing or teaching others. Blessed One, these Dharma sections—expertise in limitless topics and expertise in the dhāraṇī gateway—came from the mouth of the Thus-Gone One.”
The Thus-Gone One then said to the bodhisattva Anantavyūha, “Anantavyūha, gateway is a synonym for the Thus-Gone One’s omniscient wisdom. [F.56.a] Anantavyūha, these Dharma teachings are taught and articulated from the gateway of the Thus-Gone One’s utterly pure wisdom vision. They are based in the infinite pure gateways, are baseless, and manifest baselessly in the apprehending of numerous phenomena. Anantavyūha, I have stated that ‘all phenomena are the Buddha’s Dharma,’ which means that when there is realization of all phenomena, it is called the Buddha’s Dharma. In other words, these phenomena are the Buddha’s Dharma because the nature of all phenomena has been realized to be equal through awakened wisdom. The expression comprehension of all phenomena is used because all phenomena must be realized, and the realization of all phenomena is the realization of the dhāraṇī gateway because it subsumes all phenomena. Anantavyūha, these dhāraṇīs are the condensation, the inclusion, the main essence, and the heart of every explanation, praise,7 utterance, declaration, and illustration. All praises, explanations, and illustrations are articulated, described, and illuminated through the knowledge of letters.
“Anantavyūha, in terms of the knowledge of letters, a comes first. In terms of their expression, ha is the last. Anantavyūha, as an analogy, a mother must be present before a baby can be formed and carried, a father must be present first for the deposit of the seed, and birth must precede the maturation of the aggregates. After that, all the different appendages, the various sense sources, the various faculties, and the various shapes of the fully-matured faculties [F.56.b] can form in their entirety. Similarly, everything that is distinguishable is preceded by syllables. Here, the syllable a is positioned in proximity to the consonants at the beginning while ha is the last. These subsume the other letters, which follow after and join with them. This is an explanation and description of how to enter the dhāraṇī gateway.
“Moreover, one should investigate the destruction of all that belongs to the category of conditioned things. For instance, the combination of kha and yang shows that everything subsumed within the category of karmic formations—which pertains to the link of existence—is shown to be exhausted insofar as it perishes in the same way that one stops studying the alphabet once it has been mastered.8 For example, just as possession implies both cessation and dependence, so does everything related to both having what is associated with the fetters of existence and having what is subsumed within existence. Thus one should analyze all phenomena associated with the real and unreal, until in the end one has purified the gateway of the unformed. This is the entrance to the Dharma gateway that shows birth and destruction, and it is the explanation of the section of the dhāraṇī gateway that perfects the bodhisattvas’ skill in means. In this way, one should pronounce the first letter of the alphabet, progressing through ḍha and on until one masters the pronunciation of ha, thereby penetrating the meaning of secret mantra by means of explanation and correct articulation. Moreover, one should unobstructedly contemplate the proclamations that penetrate what is in accord with the Dharma.
“For instance, Anantavyūha, to analyze the alphabet one would first pronounce the letter a and then examine and bring to mind the other letters until [F.57.a] one has uttered and familiarized oneself with ḍha and ha by following the appropriate stages. One would then see that there is no letter that can be designated apart from these. The accomplishment of nondual attention with regard to everything in the category of the aggregate of formation is similar to this. Anantavyūha, for someone free of dualistic concepts, there is ultimately nothing at all that can be designated as a letter, nor are there any concepts from the perspective of fundamental reality. For someone without concepts, there is nothing at all that can be labeled as formation. Anantavyūha, to understand all phenomena is to maintain the knowledge of letters; because letters are uncreated they are beyond features. Why is this? Because there is no a that is truly brought about, and one should regard everything that is conditioned as lacking features. Since they are uncompounded, one should also abandon all aggregates.
“Anantavyūha, this is the gateway to expertise in immaculate dhāraṇī, the gateway of retention, the gateway of Dharma sections. If they train in it, bodhisattvas will come to excel in being utterly free from delusion. They will free beings from spiritual poverty, and they will not generate or entertain conceptual notions. Abandoning mental involvement with conceptual notions, they will take birth out of love for sentient beings. In order to become skilled in resolving their understanding of the unexcelled Dharma, they will mentally disperse the light of the Dharma and recollect the Thus-Gone One’s treasury of teachings. In order to comprehend the Dharma, they will achieve expertise in the infinite ways of mental understanding. Anantavyūha, in order to be free from clinging, bodhisattvas should know that all phenomena are mere names and, with that knowledge, comprehend a variety of words, discussions, and utterances; [F.57.b] this is how they should pursue knowledge in the way of dhāraṇī.
“How should one pursue knowledge in the way of dhāraṇī? Expressions and explanations are the same in not being located in any place or direction, not being part of anything, and not being included anywhere. Realizing them to be nothing more than mere names, one should accurately comprehend the authentic terms for phenomena. Anantavyūha, the entirety of the thus-gone ones’ Dharma is beyond features and expressions. It is a state of power and fearlessness. All phenomena should be explained in terms of this gateway. While the Thus-Gone One may indeed teach phenomena to have numerous features, phenomena are beyond sameness or difference; they are all unborn and nonexistent. Thus all phenomena are taught to be emptiness; whatever is empty is signless, and whatever is signless is wishless and beyond comprehension. Those phenomena that are empty, signless, unaffected by wishes, beyond comprehension, and beyond differentiation cannot be said to be either existent or nonexistent—not even the conventional designation nonexistent applies to them.
“Those phenomena cannot be fixated upon with the thought ‘They do not exist.’ Why is this? Because the Thus-Gone One has taught that all phenomena are ultimately beyond fixation. In this way, what is fixated upon, the one fixating, and the act of fixating upon something all have the nature of being void, hollow, and illusive; such deceptions and presumptions are conceptual elaborations. Anantavyūha, these Dharma teachings depend on the Teacher; he has not taught in any specific way [F.58.a] or taught in a way that was immaculate, and yet one must say that he is the Teacher. Anantavyūha, this is how the Dharma teachings of the Thus-Gone One emerge. Anantavyūha, those who are omniscient in this way are rare, and these days there are many individuals like you present before me who are interested in this teaching and follow the training to bring about omniscience. Anantavyūha, at a later time in the future, those who fully understand teachings such as this will be few, other than those now present before me who don the armor of resolve, thinking, ‘In the future, we will uphold the way of the Thus-Gone One’s Dharma in order to bring benefit and happiness to numerous beings!’ Anantavyūha, those who will uphold this teaching will be bodhisattvas who have served the victors of the past, who are devoted to the profound, who are knowledgeable in the profound teachings, and who are zealous and strive to hear them.
“Anantavyūha, the Thus-Gone One served the victors of the past, revered numerous buddhas, and was grounded in the profound way. He was faithful, sought out virtue, was full of zeal, dwelled in vastness, exerted himself in pursuit of the Great Vehicle, and showed no interest in either the vehicle of the śrāvakas or anything worldly. In order to bring benefit and happiness to all beings he repeatedly taught practitioners of the profound Dharma this unprecedented, profound, and expansive way of Dharma that is immeasurable, difficult to encounter and comprehend, does not contain anything that is heard among the foolish, and is hard to fathom by those who are fixated. It is not for those who do not seek it.
“Anantavyūha, the Thus-Gone One teaches the Dharma to mundane individuals like you, including the gods, whose conduct and personal associations are excellent, [F.58.b] who are afraid to commit even the slightest unwholesome act, who wish to be free from all fears, and who do not succumb to laziness. In order to do this the Thus-Gone One, when engaged in the practices of a bodhisattva, trained in this profound Dharma for many millions of eons until he became free.
“Anantavyūha, the Thus-Gone One teaches this Dharma way and lends his blessing so that by all means every being may come to turn the unexcelled Dharma wheel and experience the unexcelled great wisdom, and to ensure that the lineage of omniscient wisdom remains unbroken. Moreover, he speaks and teaches so that by all means beings may become free through the Buddha’s Dharma, spread the words of dhāraṇī that make up this teaching, and rejoice in this Dharma way.
“Anantavyūha, so that the Dharma is revealed and taught to faithful beings, individuals like you who are followers of the Thus-Gone One should cultivate stability in the Dharma in the same way that bodhisattvas have extensively revealed and taught the Dharma just as they heard it.
“They will arrive at the wisdom of the Buddha and swiftly acquire the dhāraṇī. Through the attainment of the dhāraṇī they will uphold the immaculate, luminous, and pure gateways of the Dharma with little hardship.
“Anantavyūha, all phenomena are intrinsically pure; their intrinsic nature is neither to be connected nor separate, nor to exist in a relationship of either possession or absence. Anantavyūha, there are no existent phenomena among phenomena, [F.59.a] nor is there anything that such an absence can be truly applied to apart from both the demonstrations of causality and the designations regarding the exhaustion of causes, freedom from desire, and cessation, both of which are meant to elicit understanding in beings. Anantavyūha, the nature of phenomena is beyond causes, free of the exhaustion of causes, beyond the freedom from desire, and devoid of cessation; recognize that this is how the Thus-Gone One’s pure exposition of the Dharma manifests. [B2]
“Anantavyūha, even those who recognize the Thus-Gone One as the true nature of phenomena do not have a pure vision of the Thus-Gone One. Why? Because the Thus-Gone One is neither a phenomenon nor a non-phenomenon. Since the Thus-Gone One is not related to any phenomenon, it goes without saying that he is not related to any non-phenomenon. In this way, he is nonexistent. Because the Thus-Gone One transcends what can be labeled as a phenomenon, he cannot be described in any way. The Thus-Gone One is the purity of description, and thus he is profound, vast, and immeasurable.
“Anantavyūha, if there is no cognition of visual form nor any cognition of sensation, perception, formation, or consciousness regarding the Thus-Gone One, then what is it that designates him as the Thus-Gone One? What is known to designate him? The Thus-Gone One is endowed with the freedom entailed by the exhaustion of form, and likewise with the freedom entailed by the exhaustion of sensation, perception, formation, and consciousness. The Thus-Gone One is not related to or associated with form, sensation, perception, formation, or consciousness. He [F.59.b] does not make claims or generate conceptual elaborations about being conditioned or unconditioned, nor does he possess the two types of grasping.9 The Thus-Gone One is not related to or associated with the perpetuating causes of form, sensation, perception, formation, or consciousness. He has severed the roots; all things being rootless, he is beyond conceptual elaboration, immovable and unshakeable; he has crossed to the other shore and is unexcelled. He is present exclusively within the sphere of the buddhas, thus one should not say he is not present. The Thus-Gone One does not comprehend, adopt, or conceptualize anything. He appears to teach things authentically, but he doesn’t correspond to anything and teaches the Dharma for the sake of freedom. The true nature of the Thus-Gone One is exactly how all things truly are; he teaches definitively and precisely the mode of the suchness of all things. Therefore the Thus-Gone One and the entirety of phenomena are referred to as suchness. Just as suchness is both the true nature of the Thus-Gone One and the true nature of all phenomena, so too is everything; it is nondual and cannot be made two, and it is neither a singularity nor a multiplicity.
“Anantavyūha, the Thus-Gone One does not think or conceptualize, and yet he teaches the Dharma in order not to transcend all phenomena. Why is this? Because the Thus-Gone One does not apprehend any truly transcendent phenomenon whatsoever.
“Anantavyūha, when the Thus-Gone One fully awakens to unexcelled and perfect buddhahood, there is nothing that he comprehends, knows, or realizes. [F.60.a] He does not recognize any phenomenon to be the true way of things, nor does he form the thought, ‘I don’t recognize any phenomenon that corresponds to something unobservable.’ At that time, the Thus-Gone One does not engage or involve himself with the notions of Dharma or non-Dharma; such discursive ideas do not occur in his mind. The Thus-Gone One then rests naturally within the purity of the true nature of phenomena. While indeed he correctly knows and discerns the fact that all phenomena are unstable, there is no one who knows or discerns this.
“Anantavyūha, these words pointing out the ultimate truth are the words of the Thus-Gone One; they are nonexistent, immaculate words. They are a way for bodhisattvas to understand the immaculate words. Someone who has realized the way of infinite gateways and the dhāraṇī gateway neither realizes the Dharma in the slightest way nor fails to realize it.
“Anantavyūha, a word is not something called a word; one should understand all words by accessing the absence of words. All words are devoid of attachment, and in this way such words are erroneous. All erroneous words are devoid of attachment, and all such words are deceptive. All deceptive words are the words of suchness, and all words of suchness are ultimate words. All ultimate words are words of exhaustion, of the absence of attachment, and of cessation. All words of exhaustion, of the absence of attachment, and of cessation are words of nirvāṇa; they are words beyond words, beyond fetters, and beyond designation.
“Anantavyūha, there is one type of phrase that signifies that no phenomena are included in virtue and nonvirtue. What is that one type of phrase? [F.60.b] It is words devoid of attachment; in the absence of attachment there are no words whatsoever. Just as all words are free of attachment so too are they pure. Thus all words are devoid of words. The purity of words is the purity of nirvāṇa, and the purity of nirvāṇa is the purity of words. In this way all words are inexpressible. A voice that utters words is not found anywhere in the ten directions. Whether it is the one speaking, the audience, that which is spoken, or the reason why or the manner in which something is spoken, it is nonexistent. One should not make claims or form complex concepts about that which has no existence as being nonexistent. All words are words beyond claims and complex concepts. Therefore, if practitioners seek out and comprehend such words, they will reach freedom from attachment, cessation, and nirvāṇa, which is no different from those words.
“Yet even these words are inexpressible, and so words are one thing and speech another. The speech by which words are articulated is powerless, hollow, delusive, and deceptive. In order to become knowledgeable in the articulation of immaculate words, one makes words perceptible without designating anything. What is beyond designation is thus designated. Different words are designated, different words that are nonconceptual. That which is nonconceptual refers to the abandonment of concepts and what is subsumed within the true nature of phenomena. In order to go beyond discrimination, one does not involve oneself with, commit to, engage in, participate in, or carry out any conventional behavior. Maintaining these principles has been described by the Thus-Gone One as The Vehicle of the Thus-Gone One. [F.61.a] To not engage in anything whatsoever is to train in the level of bodhisattvas. Those who have reached this level have become skilled in purifying infinite dhāraṇīs.
“Anantavyūha, I will now reveal the words of the dhāraṇī gateway by which bodhisattvas accomplish individual dhāraṇīs and then come to reveal infinite Dharma treasures, annihilate all opposition, and dwell within the level beyond dispute. Those words of the dhāraṇī gateway lead one to propagate the Dharma that brings peace. What are these words?10
Syādyathedan jaye vijaye uke ukavati āloke ālokavati prabhe prabhavati nirdarśane nirdarśanavati arthe arthavati śodhani śodhanavati pariśodhane kriye vikriyavati uttaraṇi saraṇi mahāvijaye mahāvijayavati anusandhi apratisandhi yugapatinaddha siddhi siddhārathavati mati mateprabhe uttare uttaravati vicare vicara anusandhi sare sarvati sara anugate samesamārabhavigate gate anigate apratinivarte viśeṣe viśeṣavati avahini nivahini pravahini uha uttaraṇe mālavanaye aśeṣe anupaśeṣe anugame apratigame agate anagate gativiśodhani pariśodhani kaṃkṣacchedani atematipratite mativiśodhani samanta anugate samantaparivāre samantaviśodhani anupragṛhi anupragṛhite hinārthe arthaviśuddhi parame hetunidvisanne pratīte pratītavati viniścaye viniścaya anugate anantārathe anantavigrahi madaviśiddhi anugrahe agrahaviśodhani adhyādamavigate [F.61.b] bahavaviśodhani vidyā anugati vidyā anusandhi pariśodhani.
“Anantavyūha, the presentation of these words of secret mantra will bring comprehension of dhāraṇī. Through them, bodhisattvas will recall an infinite quantity of the Thus-Gone One’s Dharma treasures, teach beings, dwell within the state free of delusion, understand every mode of terminology and meaning, comprehend the vast and countless divisions of the Buddha’s teachings, and experience the fulfillment of their wishes.
“Anantavyūha, I will now explain how bodhisattvas reach special realization in their skill in the way of dhāraṇī and how, with that realization, they become skilled in orienting themselves in the proper way and become experts in the understanding of the divisions of the way of dhāraṇī. How does one gain such understanding? Anantavyūha, the eye apprehends form, the ear apprehends sound, the nose apprehends smell, the mouth apprehends taste, the body apprehends texture, and the mind apprehends mental phenomena. Anantavyūha, how is it that the six inner entities apprehend the six outer entities? Anantavyūha, when bodhisattvas see a form with their eyes, they recognize it to be impermanent and understand it to be characterized by birth and disintegration. They recognize it as exhaustion, the absence of attachment, and cessation. With no attachment to the power of insight, with skill in mindfulness, and with no deceptiveness, their inner eye elements apprehend without conceptualizing in terms of self or non-self. They maintain knowledge of the purity of the visual sense source. In order to facilitate the apprehending of form, [F.62.a] they should purify the dhāraṇī gateway and, without fettering themselves to something other than these outer and inner phenomena, look with disengagement, look without attachment, and look within a state of cessation. They should not engage in any conceptual elaboration at all. Skilled in apprehending without elaboration, they remain in a state free of concepts. They let the visual consciousness and the phenomena cognized by the visual consciousness remain equal, without generating concepts. They remember that, just as their vision is pure, so too are phenomena like illusions. Through such extraordinary vision they maintain expertise in the purity of cognition and what is cognized, and they come to possess vast accumulations of merit and wisdom.
“This applies likewise to the way the ear, nose, tongue, body, and mind apprehend phenomena. When bodhisattvas cognize mental phenomena with their minds, they recognize them to be impermanent and regard them as being characterized by birth and disintegration. They recognize them as exhaustion, the absence of attachment, and cessation. With no attachment to the power of insight, with skill in mindfulness, and with no deceptiveness, their inner mental sense sources apprehend without conceptualizing in terms of self or non-self. Being skilled in recognizing multiplicity, they discern the ground of the mental consciousness and subsequently sustain knowledge of the purity of the mental sense source. In order to foster the apprehending of mental phenomena, they purify the dhāraṇī gateway. They should purify the dhāraṇī gateway and, without fettering themselves to something other than these outer and inner phenomena, look with disengagement, look without attachment, and look within a state of cessation. They should not engage in denigration or conceptual elaboration at all. [F.62.b] Skilled in apprehending without elaboration, they remain in a state free of concepts. They let the mental consciousness and the phenomena cognized by the mental consciousness remain equal, without generating thoughts or concepts. They remember that phenomena are just as pure as their vision is pure. They maintain expertise in the purity of cognition and what is cognized and, with extraordinary vision, come to possess vast accumulations of merit and wisdom.
“In this way they apprehend all outer and inner phenomena—whether of the past, present, or future—with their skill in the means of mentally accessing the true meaning via the power of insight. Thereby they do not regard anything as being causeless, nor do they regard anything as arising out of causes and conditions. Understanding instead that no phenomena are conjoined with any other, they pursue the nature of things as they are. All these phenomena are inherently luminous; they exist in the sense of being supports for each other, considering how they maintain and qualify each other rather than being present in the ordinary sense of being counted among all phenomena.
“Phenomena that do not arise or recede cannot be described. Phenomena that serve a function and yet are not of the same type as each other are neither related nor unrelated. There is no creator of phenomena and no instigation of creation. Phenomena are devoid of life force, sentience, and individual beings. All phenomena are established as words; when they are apprehended as they are, they are identical with nirvāṇa. All phenomena are beyond attachment, lack attachment, and are free of attachment. Anantavyūha, this instruction on the skill in discerning dhāraṇī [F.63.a] entails that bodhisattvas investigate all things from the perspective of the bodhisattvas’ outer and inner phenomena. Explained in this way, bodhisattvas are to give up the internal and not adopt the external. Instead they think, ‘Alas, the inhabitants of the world are living within the wheel of cyclic existence that is without beginning or end. Controlled by ignorance, they have entered the eggshell of ignorance where they roam, rove, and wander. They develop and evolve within this wheel of cyclic existence that is beyond apprehending and actuality, yet what results from the transformations of the wheel of cyclic existence is not genuine either. While this is how it is to inhabit the world, the world is beyond apprehending and actuality. Not understanding this, beings move, circulate, rush, hurry, and hasten through it. Alas, these beings do not understand this, have been misled by what is false, and become attached to the notion of a being where there is no being. They are bound by the fetter of their notion of a being. Alas, lacking understanding, these beings fall into fear, dread, and distress. While facing unreal hostile forces, waging wars, and falling into darkness, they do not go anywhere or come from anywhere. Alas, these beings cling to their attachments and are bound by the fetters of their attachments. Since they do not know about liberation, I will of course teach them this Dharma way in order to help and care for them!’
“Anantavyūha, if bodhisattvas analyze things in this way, [F.63.b] they will soon achieve great illumination regarding phenomena, accomplish the immaculate gateway, and acquire correct knowledge. They will become diligent in manifesting great acceptance, possess great love and great compassion, and become skilled in revealing the intent of the teachings. They will know all turns of phrase and innumerable words, and they will remember their past existences. Revealing what is beneficial, they will not go against any of the teachings but draw beings toward the undisputed activities. They will annihilate all opponents in a way that is in accord with the Dharma, and they will teach the Dharma in order to liberate beings from darkness. The thus-gone ones will utter meaningful statements throughout the ten directions. They will emit the great light of the Dharma, become benefactors of the inconceivable Dharma, enjoy the Dharma treasures of the thus-gone ones, and not be deluded. They will possess extraordinary aspirations that will be fulfilled precisely as they wish. They will realize incredible skill in methods and will be encouraged to fulfill the wishes of beings. They will demonstrate the causes related to the past and future and knowledge of the past and the future.
“Anantavyūha, bodhisattvas should strive to accomplish the gateway of meditative absorption. Bodhisattvas who are skilled in achieving the gateway of meditative absorption will achieve the dhāraṇī gateway and become realized. Bodhisattvas who have actualized the knowledge to achieve the dhāraṇī gateway will become skilled in teaching the mode of intentions, [F.64.a] take up the mode of wisdom, become realized in the way of the profound Dharma, understand how to present the teachings, have no uncertainty about anything, maintain an acceptance that doesn’t depend on anything else, and become skilled in engendering great diligence.
“Anantavyūha, for bodhisattvas who, out of their love for beings, endeavor to gain skill in amassing knowledge about all phenomena, there is no vehicle that they will not genuinely comprehend. It will be easy for them to achieve the Buddha’s wisdom, and they will fully refine omniscient wisdom, the great wisdom that entails a level of understanding more exalted than all the worlds.
“Anantavyūha, bodhisattvas are gathered by the Dharma found in this instruction, which is taken from the section of the Dharma concerned with knowledge in the way of dhāraṇī. Indeed, bodhisattvas will uphold vast activities and comprehend every secret mantra, every intention, every word spoken, and every true expression. I will now explain all the qualities that bring comprehension through the knowledge that understands the classifications of the mind. What are these qualities?
“Anantavyūha, bodhisattvas increase their cultivation of the pure expertise in the foundation of discipline, expertise in the force of truth, and expertise in abandonment. They exert themselves in the pursuit of the Dharma free of clinging to mine and the notion of possession and train in the foundation of methods. In doing so, they will realize the foundation for knowledge in the ways of all phenomena and will never show signs of decline. They will remain at the level of nonregression, swiftly excel through their perfect eloquence, and develop through their ocean-like insight. [F.64.b]
“Anantavyūha, in the future, no one will adopt these teachings except for those bodhisattvas who take interest when the way of the profound Dharma is taught, who desire and long to open the Thus-Gone One’s Dharma treasury, and who have perfect intention, a virtuous mindset, and goodwill. Those who exert themselves in this way of the Dharma and engage in its training will come to realize this style of teaching and the essential nature of phenomena.
“Anantavyūha, even though the Thus-Gone One teaches the Dharma in different ways, the Thus-Gone One does not contradict the nature of phenomena; he speaks in a way that does not contradict this nature. He describes all things as uncreated, and yet he does not provide descriptions or statements about phenomena.
“Anantavyūha, the Thus-Gone One has realized the perfection of skill in teaching and yet there is nothing that the Thus-Gone One has realized, comprehended, or recognized. It is not that the Thus-Gone One teaches the Dharma so that something is discarded, or so that some particular thing is abandoned. It is also not the case that he teaches the Dharma so that something is produced, achieved, or not achieved. The Thus-Gone One maintains no specific focus and yet neither maintains nor does not maintain anything. How is this? The Thus-Gone One is not to be defined in any way. When the Thus-Gone One uses phrases like ‘The Thus-Gone One remains in this way’ or ‘He remains in that way,’ this does not entail either singularity or multiplicity. The Thus-Gone One is not to be labeled as either going or coming; he is beyond conceptual elaboration. [F.65.a] He utterly transcends conceptual elaboration and yet there is nothing that he transcends. For the Thus-Gone One there is no transcendence, and he knows that he is beyond transcendence. The Thus-Gone One does not think of being a Thus-Gone One, nor does he think of the Thus-Gone One as unmistaken suchness or as suchness that is unique. As the Thus-Gone One does not teach anything whatsoever, he teaches the true nature of the Thus-Gone One while not revealing or teaching anything. The Thus-Gone One is consistent with the nature of all phenomena, and yet the nature of all phenomena cannot be labeled.
“Phenomena have no inherent nature; the Thus-Gone One has said, ‘All phenomena are uncreated, immutable, utterly unborn, unceasing, and not separate. All phenomena are totally pure, they cannot be gained or accomplished, and are beyond apprehending.’ All phenomena are beyond comprehension and in this way there is nothing to be gained. Phenomena are not to be gained in the slightest; any phenomenon that can be realized is not a phenomenon. There is also no one who realizes, gains, or accomplishes anything. In light of this, since all phenomena are unborn, they cannot be realized. In order that the teachings of the thus-gone ones are cultivated and accomplished, they came to be referred to as noble Dharma, and yet that noble Dharma cannot be achieved at all. For noble beings, there is no Dharma or non-Dharma whatsoever, and the Dharma is neither noble nor ignoble. [F.65.b] The teachings of the thus-gone ones do not follow the conventions of being understood as teaching the application or lack of application of any kind of Dharma. The Thus-Gone One has defined the Dharma but has not defined the basic condition of the Dharma. The Thus-Gone One has taught about non-Dharma but has not defined the basic condition of non-Dharma. The Thus-Gone One has defined virtue and nonvirtue but has not defined the basic condition of virtue and nonvirtue. The Thus-Gone One has defined all phenomena but has not defined the basic condition of all phenomena. The Thus-Gone One has taught that all phenomena are beyond designation but has not defined the basic condition of this absence of designation. Anantavyūha, this presentation of the Thus-Gone One’s Dharma is extremely profound; one who has not trained in the profound Dharma cannot fully understand it.
“Anantavyūha, bodhisattvas who seek complete and perfect awakening and long to be free from cyclic existence should accomplish, explain, and realize the thus-gone ones’ teachings. Anantavyūha, when bodhisattvas discern these teachings without doubt or hesitation, there is nothing that they adopt or reject, nothing they produce or stop, and nothing about which they fabricate elaborate concepts. They connect to the accomplishment of the truth while not fixating on the presentation of the accomplishment of the truth. In that way they come to fully understand the immaculate Dharma gateway, and by accomplishing the gateway of meditative absorption they become completely purified. [F.66.a]
“Anantavyūha, take as an analogy Mount Meru, the king of mountains: it provides a home for those who have accumulated merit, created roots of virtue, and now live in its palaces. Those who take birth there will experience great delight. Similarly, the jewel of the all-inclusive teaching is a teacher for bodhisattvas who have created roots of virtue. Through such a jewel as this, bodhisattvas achieve the jewel of omniscient wisdom and become adherents of the jewel of knowledge of the unsurpassed Dharma.
“Anantavyūha, this discourse that condenses all Dharma teachings emerged from the thus-gone ones in order to perfectly reveal the dhāraṇī of the Dharma treasury. While this extensive Dharma dhāraṇī has appeared, it is not actually present. All the teachings of the thus-gone ones emerge from the dhāraṇī of boundless gateways. The Thus-Gone One has taught this way of upholding Dharma teachings in order to purify gateways and condense all the discourses. This dhāraṇī that perfectly condenses all discourses is beyond action, immutable, without edge, without center, and inexhaustible; this dhāraṇī is an immeasurable undertaking. This dhāraṇī gateway is practiced in every universe in the ten directions through the Thus-Gone One’s blessings.
“Anantavyūha, those bodhisattvas who have realized this way of Dharma that condenses all Dharma teachings, who wish to enter an unbroken stream of Dharma and adhere to the seal of groundless phenomena, whose comprehension of secret mantra and intent is unimpaired, [F.66.b] who are steady in their cultivation of great diligence, who perfectly understand this teaching, and who have realized the defining mark of the essential nature of phenomena should not use expressions or instructions to create conventional labels. Instead, they should make use of all secret mantras and their intentions and attain true realization. In order to bring benefit and happiness to beings, they should develop their knowledge of statements on letter combination, deeply understand the classification system, and, drawing from that knowledge of the way phenomena are classified, summarize the latent meaning through the skillful use of analogy.
“Bodhisattvas should lecture on the Dharma, engage with Dharma teachers, maintain a loving and helpful attitude, long for the Buddha’s wisdom, have no attachment toward anything, remain within a dispassionate state, be content,11 access nondual wisdom, be free of deceit, and not teach outer and inner knowledge dualistically. Thus they should not teach beings in an approximate manner but should exert themselves with perseverance free of laziness in gaining increasing skill in pursuing the teachings. They should harmonize their entire language so that it is free from contradictions. They should focus on the benefit of self and other and gain skill in dismantling the notions of self and other. Adhering to the purity of all phenomena, they should discover the absence of identity in phenomena and yearn for the complete purification of the self. Whether someone requests it or not, they should teach the way of the Dharma without keeping it for themselves.
“They should give rise to an immeasurable attitude, thinking, ‘I will supply beings with the precious treasury of the unsurpassed Dharma, the most supreme and sacred form of generosity. I will connect them with the inexpressible precious Dharma. [F.67.a] Whether it benefits them or not, I will avoid being miserly with the Dharma with anyone; I will act without such miserliness. I will be generous and carry out the activities of the Omniscient One, the Thus-Gone One, who is the foremost of all benefactors—the benefactor of the Dharma. I will unload the great burden of beings, prepare the Dharma ferry so that they may ford the great river, and lead them to the accomplishment of every type of happiness!’
“In this way, with a mindset born of love, bodhisattvas will swiftly realize the extraordinary Dharma. They will be matured for this discourse that teaches the classifications and achievement of dhāraṇī. They will overcome rebirth, and no opponents will be able to affect them. Defeating all demons, they will eradicate all opposition in a way that is in harmony with the Dharma and achieve the complete pacification of dispute.
“Anantavyūha, the Thus-Gone One upholds this dhāraṇī and bears it in mind. Anantavyūha, consider the example of bodhisattvas in their last existences. They dwell in the Joyous Realm, which lies at the center of the Heaven of the Thirty-Three, the Heaven Free from Strife, the Heaven of Delighting in Emanations, and the Heaven of Making Use of Others’ Emanations. It is the highest destination for the gods and where all beings experience sheer delight. It is the complete ripening of their roots of virtue that are suffused with great merit. They possess the accumulation of merit, the accumulation of discipline, the perfect and immaculate generosity that surpasses everything, [F.67.b] and the accumulation of insight of those who have a single existence remaining. Their roots of virtue are not outshone by any being among all those in this great trichiliocosm, they are worshiped and praised by everyone, and they are on the verge of attaining omniscient wisdom. When they then pass on from the Joyous Realm and take birth in the central land of Jambudvīpa, they are born at the geographical midpoint, in the hub of the fearless world, the nucleus of the earth, the sacred and supreme locale, the great, extraordinary central city where all beings reside. This is how bodhisattvas appear among beings, and they are to be regarded, bowed to, worshiped, and revered by all.
“Similarly, while this dhāraṇī gateway discourse is included and contained within phenomena, it outshines everything and is immaterial. Those bodhisattvas who have entered it will be matured and developed; they will achieve supremacy and become the masters of all phenomena. In this way, bodhisattvas in their last existences who are born among humans utilize phenomena, watching over beings through the meditative absorption of their invisible crown protrusion. They comprehend every world in the great trichiliocosm, and with a vast mindset empowered by the blessings of great insight they come to attain the quintessence of the Dharma dhāraṇī. They take no pleasure in any type of sensual enjoyment, and they do not pursue the types of things that lead to attachment and desire. They possess minds that regard all phenomena through the meditative absorption of emptiness, and they achieve expertise in the absence of characteristics. [F.68.a] They have no attachment toward any spiritual state, and they do not savor the experience of any of the three realms. They have realized the scope of the defects, as well as renunciation, tranquility, and enthusiasm, and yet they do not fixate on them; they cultivate an unfixed state of mind. So that they might comprehend phenomena and eradicate their origin, they engender great love and compassion for beings and give birth to an attitude of renunciation in those with mature faculties.
“With their expertise in the way of the intellect aligned with supreme insight, they bring to mind their mastery of expertise in the way of all beings and achieve expertise in the uncorrupted way of dhāraṇī with respect to phenomena. Perfectly regarding all phenomena with their expertise in understanding classifications, they resolve the inconceivable way of the Dharma. In their youth, they play with pleasurable things until their detached minds turn toward weariness and they forsake all their wealth, grains, and friends and renounce their home for homelessness. Leaving home, they amass deeds that are appropriate and excellent with minds skilled in the inconceivable way, and so they reach the seat of awakening where they achieve unsurpassed skill in the way of dhāraṇī according to their aspirations. With their immaculate expertise in dhāraṇī perfected, they come to comprehend all phenomena through self-manifest wisdom and achieve unimpaired expertise in upholding omniscient wisdom. Attaining the dhāraṇī of omniscient wisdom, they achieve a refined, definitive omniscient wisdom. They remain within the sphere of unsurpassed omniscient wisdom and turn the unsurpassed Dharma wheel in accord with the teachings. Knowing all phenomena and offering instruction, [F.68.b] they appear utterly resplendent as they melodiously bring understanding to the world with its gods.
“Anantavyūha, bodhisattvas who remain within the seal of the dhāraṇī of omniscient wisdom will fully awaken to unsurpassed and perfect buddhahood. Bodhisattvas with only one birth remaining use the roots of virtue to genuinely practice the inexpressible dhāraṇī gateway for many millions of eons; no one else could understand. Such bodhisattvas reside at the seat of awakening. They have long since attained acceptance of the profound teachings for the sake of awakening, and they have long since maintained chastity. In this way, I manifest the dhāraṇī gateway discerningly, only for those who have long cultivated an attitude born of great love and compassion for all beings.
“Anantavyūha, through this dhāraṇī gateway bodhisattvas first stay at the seat of awakening and then awaken there to unsurpassed and perfect buddhahood. Anantavyūha, the knowledge of such a dhāraṇī gateway is not something I can impart to you now; it is only at that time that bodhisattvas can come to know it on their own. At that time the dhāraṇī gateway of the bodhisattvas is a boundless gateway, a causal gateway, an immeasurable gateway, an incomparable gateway. This gateway is indescribable; it is more exalted than all the world. This gateway is not common to the world of beings including the gods, demons, ascetics, and brahmins. This gateway is supreme among the teachings and leads to immaculate omniscient wisdom.
“Bodhisattvas refine their self-manifest wisdom through this gateway. Having gained this self-manifest wisdom, they turn the Dharma wheel, and [F.69.a] in order that countless beings may refine the Dharma gateway and purify the gateway of nirvāṇa they gradually lead them to seize the gateway of omniscient wisdom. They teach expertise in acquiring the numerous causes of the Dharma way, lead beings to gain skill in acquiring the knowledge of the aggregates, and describe how to be skilled in acquiring the knowledge of the aggregates’ purity. They teach the knowledge of the elements, sense sources, and dependent origination. They lead beings to the gateway of the accomplishment of the noble truths and produce in them expertise in apprehending the immaculate noble truths. They maintain expertise in the thirty-seven factors of awakening, produce discernment of them, and correctly explain the immaculate knowledge of them. They describe the expertise of upholding the knowledge of tranquility and special insight and demonstrate the immaculate knowledge of tranquility and special insight. They induce the acquisition of expertise in meditative absorption and equipoise and describe the expertise of acquiring immaculate concentration, meditative absorption, and equipoise. They demonstrate expertise in maintaining freedom from confusion and the absence of confusion and demonstrate expertise in maintaining the immaculate knowledge of freedom from confusion and the absence of confusion. They teach the expertise of maintaining the knowledge of exhaustion, of the absence of desire, and of the unborn, and they teach the immaculate knowledge of exhaustion, of the absence of desire, and of the unborn. They teach expertise in maintaining the knowledge of awareness and liberation and teach expertise in maintaining the immaculate knowledge of awareness and liberation. They describe the immaculate gateway of nirvāṇa and teach expertise in maintaining freedom from all immaculate words. They describe, through various categories, [F.69.b] the immaculate gateways of what is conditioned, unconditioned, defiled, undefiled, mundane, and supramundane. They perfectly teach the causes for acquiring expertise in the ascertainment of the unsurpassed Dharma and the pure knowledge of beings.
“Anantavyūha, in order to produce the power of expertise in the dhāraṇī of omniscient wisdom, the Thus-Gone One, in accordance with the aspirations of beings, teaches the conduct while engaging in the expertise of precisely discerning different mental modes. He displays unexcelled power in the dhāraṇī of the Dharma treasure, sets forth a stream of Dharma, causes Dharma rain to fall, and satisfies all beings through the gift of Dharma.
“Anantavyūha, you should emulate the Thus-Gone One and live in harmony with this definitive profound teaching, not in disharmony with it. Immediately acquire this dhāraṇī of the seal of omniscient wisdom and, maintaining this dhāraṇī, bring about the welfare of beings just as I am doing. Teach this discourse on the dhāraṇī gateway and describe and explain the ascertainment of phenomena using numerous approaches.
“Anantavyūha, without forsaking the development of the awakened attitude, you should aim to engender the power of determination. How should you aim to engender the power of determination? You should not separate yourself from the accumulation of the branches of awakening. How should bodhisattvas dedicate themselves to becoming knowledgeable in the mode of all phenomena? Phenomena are beyond birth, death, arising, transference, fluctuation, coming, and going. All phenomena are empty of their defining characteristics. Thus one should not fixate on emptiness, [F.70.a] let alone fixate on features such as form. That would show a lack of tolerance for the conception of features. No marks are present within emptiness; features have no function within emptiness.
“The Thus-Gone One has also stated that the entire category of formations is empty of identity, the concept mine, life force, sentience, humanity, humankind, and personhood. Emptiness is devoid of attachment but not distinct from attachment. Emptiness is devoid of aversion but not distinct from aversion. Emptiness is devoid of delusion but is also not distinct from delusion. Emptiness is devoid of passion but is also not distinct from passion. Emptiness does not dwell, abide, or reside within emptiness. Emptiness is free of desire; it is cessation and peace. Within it there is no thought, no concept, no ideation, and no imputation; it does not begin and is beyond affliction. Its essential nature is free of grasping and immaculate. The nature of everything—whether virtuous or nonvirtuous, conditioned or unconditioned, mundane or supramundane—is emptiness. One who dedicates themselves to this will be led to liberation. With liberation, one will come to realize liberated wisdom. Remaining in stainless, immaculate liberation, one will perfectly achieve the accumulation of the branches of awakening.
“What is the set of branches of awakening? It is immaculate discipline, immaculate insight, immaculate meditative absorption, immaculate liberation, immaculate vision of liberated wisdom, [F.70.b] immaculate perfection of generosity, immaculate perfection of discipline, immaculate perfection of patience, immaculate perfection of diligence, immaculate perfection of concentration, and immaculate perfection of insight. What is immaculate is utterly pure, and utter purity is the stainless gateway itself.
“The mind is inherently lucid and permanently unafflicted. The subsidiary afflictions are of a threefold nature: they are adventitious, unreal, and insignificant and thus are nonexistent. The mind is not mixed with affliction nor associated with purification. How is this? The mind is nondual and indivisible; its nature is immaculate. Those who understand this will not be disturbed by afflictions. Afflictions do not occur inside or outside the mind or anywhere in between those two. Except for the mind that arises from the combination of referents, causes, and conditions, the mind cannot be observed. In this sense, while it arises it does not really appear; nowhere in the ten directions does the mind cognize or behold the mind. The mind is likewise not associated with an observed object, nor is an observed object associated with the mind. The mind does not merge with causes and conditions, nor do causes and conditions merge with the mind. Everything is just mind; it is equivalent to mind. Those phenomena that are equivalent to the mind cannot know or see each other, let alone those that are not equivalent to mind. Ultimately the mind is neither equivalent nor nonequivalent with anything. [F.71.a] How is this? Nothing is associated or unassociated with anything else; all phenomena are essentially peaceful. They neither have nor lack an essence. The essence of phenomena is their inherent nature, and their inherent nature is that they are essenceless.
“Although the teachings conventionally refer to ‘the essence and nature of all phenomena,’ phenomena are actually devoid of an inherent essence or a nature. The inherent nature of things is that they are empty and lack an essence. All that is empty and devoid of an essence has a single characteristic: since phenomena are devoid of characteristics, their characteristic is complete purity, and thus by definition there is nothing to label as empty or essenceless. Since by definition there is nothing to label as empty or essenceless, no phenomena can, by definition, be labeled. Within the lack of essence and emptiness, there is no affliction or purification. This is what the inherent nature of phenomena is like. The inherent nature of phenomena does not abide, dwell, or reside either in affliction or in purification.
“Anantavyūha, phenomena do not abide, dwell, or reside, so how do beings become deluded? If delusion does not exist, consider how pitiful it is that the inhabitants of the world are confused due to false delusion. Alas, the inhabitants of the world have ended up in this unreal wheel of confusion, and yet there is nowhere they have ended up. They have not ended up anywhere, yet they are bound by fetters of space. Alas, these beings have ended up in a wheel of space, and yet space cannot be labeled as a wheel. [F.71.b] They have become confused due to their immense delusion, and yet they are devoid of ignorance or delusion.
“Anantavyūha, look at how, due to the cataract of their ignorance, beings do not understand or comprehend these phenomena and are preoccupied with argument. Anantavyūha, those who are preoccupied with argument are free of preoccupation, but due to their delusion they simply do not know or see this. Those who are preoccupied do not become pure, as they are not preoccupied with the immaculate roots of virtue. Thus they are preoccupied. Anantavyūha, except for those who like you have cultivated virtuous qualities in solitude for a long time, no one will be able to understand this expression of the Thus-Gone One’s intent.
“When the Thus-Gone One says, ‘Those who are preoccupied do not become pure,’ you may wonder what they are preoccupied with. They are preoccupied with nonvirtue. That in which nonvirtue is found does not exist, and the categories of being preoccupied and unpreoccupied do not apply to that which is nonexistent. Those who are preoccupied with virtue belong to a category. Those who belong to a category may comprehend this teaching free of unwholesomeness, and yet they will not become purified. It is impossible. [B3]
“Ordinary, naive, dull-witted sentient beings, preoccupied with intense affliction, cannot comprehend through their insight even a fraction of a Dharma teaching that is in accord with this, let alone a teaching that is in accord with this and teaches numerous categories. When it is stated, ‘Those who are preoccupied possess the quality of purity,’ you may wonder what they are preoccupied with. They are preoccupied with virtue and the factors of renunciation, [F.72.a] yet in renunciation there are no elements or the designation of elements. Even though those who are preoccupied with the element of nirvāṇa are described as a category, there is not the slightest such thing as nirvāṇa or anyone preoccupied with nirvāṇa.
“Some people say, ‘If the Thus-Gone One no longer exists upon attaining nirvāṇa after passing away, no one would attain nirvāṇa, and it would be impossible that beings like me who do not engage in the practices of the profound Dharma become deluded.’ Yet one should not teach using categories such as ‘The Thus-Gone One exists after passing away’ or ‘The Thus-Gone One does not exist after passing away.’ Whether the Thus-Gone One had a physical form or not, after death he would not exist—in each case he would neither be existent nor nonexistent. Everything that is not born and does not cease cannot be said to either exist or not exist after perishing. The Thus-Gone One is beyond birth and cessation, and thus following death he is neither existent nor nonexistent. The Thus-Gone One has said that all phenomena are beyond the extremes of existence and nonexistence. Where there are no edges there is no center, and that which lacks a center is neither existent nor nonexistent.
“If both existence and nonexistence were real, there would be no contradiction with dependent origination. And yet, dependent origination is unceasing, thus it is impossible for it not to contradict existence and nonexistence. That which originates in dependence [F.72.b] is devoid of the slightest trace of center and edge. Anantavyūha, while the phrase all phenomena is conventionally imputed upon that which is neither existent nor nonexistent, those things that are neither existent nor nonexistent do not become conventional imputations.
“Anantavyūha, the Thus-Gone One has great skill in methods. In order to crack the eggshell of beings’ ignorance, he declares and instructs—in a way that does not contradict the nature of things—that ‘all phenomena arise in dependence.’ That which is included in dependent origination cannot be labeled by the terms center or edge, and that which cannot be labeled cannot be attained at all.
“Anantavyūha, notice how, with skill in methods and skill in perceiving phenomena, one may designate the middle way as free of the extremes of phenomena, yet you will not find anything that causes perception, or even the idea of finding it. You should know and understand this in the same way as the absence of coming and going. This is not to say that some sort of essential misfortune has beset these phenomena. There is no misfortune that may beset phenomena; their fortune is not damaged or ruined. There is no disparity between the fortunes of any phenomena. They are neither identical nor different but are of the highest perfection, even though there are no phenomena that are the perfection of any other. Because they are all nirvāṇa, they are not to be described, except when teaching on a relative level to present the middle way. The middle way is the path leading to nirvāṇa, but nirvāṇa does not involve going anywhere. Since there is no going or coming at all, [F.73.a] it is stated that all things are equal to nirvāṇa: this is the expression of the sameness of phenomena.
“Anantavyūha, the middle way is neither to be accomplished nor not to be accomplished. Since it cannot be appropriated, it is free from extremes—where will you find a middle where there are no extremes? Although extremes are groundless, ordinary naive beings fail to recognize the groundlessness of extremes. Thus they become attached to what is groundless and unreal and remain unfree.
“Anantavyūha, notice how the mind that is settled in great skillful means is used to present the middle way as baseless and groundless. Anantavyūha, the thus-gone ones hold no doubts or confusion about those who teach the Dharma. The blessed buddhas are always settled in composure. With their mastery of meditative absorption, they are always all-seeing and perfectly settled in composure, and thus they are free from concepts and maintain their experience of boundless wisdom. The blessed buddhas do not endure, and they teach the immaculate Dharma in a way that does not endure. The blessed buddhas teach the immaculate Dharma and the Dharma of pacification. When teaching the Dharma, the blessed buddhas leave nothing out.
“Anantavyūha, say there was a jewel called variegated gem in the great ocean that dried up the immense amount of water such that the body of water could not be replenished, and the great ocean became empty. All the rivers would evaporate, and everything would become like a great mass of fire. Similarly, after awakening to unsurpassed and perfect buddhahood, [F.73.b] the Thus-Gone One burns and dries up beings’ afflictions with the boundless light of his insight. Anantavyūha, all the words the Thus-Gone One pronounces day and night gradually and definitively burn their afflictions away; thus the awakened activity of his speech is meaningful. To say, ‘I pay homage to the buddhas!’ also constitutes a great lamp, as it will definitely burn the afflictions away. Hearing the thus-gone ones’ names is also a great cause to reach nirvāṇa.
“Anantavyūha, in this way the Thus-Gone One causes a rain of Dharma to fall in order to pacify the afflictions of his followers. Anantavyūha, those who utter the thus-gone ones’ names and those who hear the thus-gone ones’ names will become free from darkness. While the Dharma taught by the Thus-Gone One is indeed unmistaken reality as it is and nothing else, in reality there is no teaching or instruction whatsoever. There is not the slightest reality or lack of reality to be found in phenomena. Anantavyūha, the Thus-Gone One speaks genuinely; keeping to what is real, he teaches this Dharma discourse that reveals the sections of the dhāraṇī gateway. Anantavyūha, who will not understand this? Aside from bodhisattvas who have recognized the truth, whose view is perfect, and who are trained in the profound Dharma, no one will understand this.
“Anantavyūha, you should comprehend this system. Use your powers of recollection to focus directly on this teaching without placing your faith in anything else. [F.74.a] Bodhisattvas should aim for insight that does not depend upon others. They should engender acceptance in accord with this teaching to bring benefit and happiness to all beings. Those who succeed in engendering such acceptance will never live in disharmony.
“Anantavyūha, naive, ordinary, uneducated beings who live incompatible lifestyles will not understand this Dharma and Vinaya. Moreover, there is no chance that this way of Dharma will even fall on the ears of those who are under the sway of non-Buddhist views,12 have non-Buddhist lifestyles, engage in non-Buddhist paths, follow perverted paths, do not cultivate virtue, or adhere to non-Buddhist belief systems. Anantavyūha, notice how, when this Dharma treasure, this unobscured Dharma light, is revealed, those who are naive, uneducated, ill-mannered, ill-tempered, and unrestrained throw it completely away. If all those ordinary naive beings who have not trained physically and who have become far removed from this Dharma and Vinaya have not even developed the acceptance aligned with a teaching such as this, what need is there to mention developing the skillful mode of acceptance of what is free from defilement?
“Anantavyūha, those within this assembly who follow this teaching are not attached to anything; they are free from decline and have purpose. Why is this? Because all of them dwell at the level that is free of obscuration. Anantavyūha, the Thus-Gone One teaches this discourse on the dhāraṇī gateway out of his love for all beings and in order to refine the skill in teaching the unobscured Dharma; he does so due to their roots of virtue and his blessings. Anantavyūha, you should understand that those individuals who follow this sacred teaching are correctly engaged. They dwell on the bodhisattva levels and before long will attain acceptance without grasping; [F.74.b] before long they will receive prophecy. Anantavyūha, devote yourself to the discipline of this profound Dharma.
“Anantavyūha, this is the level of those who do not apprehend views; thus it is the level of nonapprehending. It is the level of those who have reached acceptance free of apprehending. This is the sphere of those who have served the victors of the past, who have long trained their minds, controlled their bodies, guarded their speech, and disciplined their minds, who recall the sameness of consciousness, and who do not apprehend the mind. In order to take up a teaching like this they would engage with this discourse even if it meant giving up life and limb. Since in the future it will be rare for beings to exert themselves in order to hear a teaching like this, what need is there to mention copying it down, reading it, carrying it, reciting it, or teaching it in detail to others? Those who spread this Dharma discourse and teach it to others will before long perfect this dhāraṇī gateway teaching, swiftly attain immaculate wisdom, and adhere to the path of omniscient wisdom.
“Anantavyūha, the Thus-Gone One expounds this Dharma treasure in order that beings might achieve omniscient wisdom. There is nothing whatsoever that is not explained here. He teaches the Dharma, engages in purification, and expounds on this immaculate Dharma gateway in order to eradicate the afflictions.
“When it is stated, ‘All things are like space,’ in what way are they like space? Being equal to space here means that space is neither equal nor unequal to anything else. [F.75.a] Just as space is neither equal nor unequal, all phenomena are also neither equal nor unequal. Just as space is not contained in anything else, so phenomena are not contained in anything else. There are no extremes to be apprehended in phenomena; this nonapprehending of extremes means that they are beyond extremes. Where there are no extremes, nothing can be labeled as an extreme. Those who uphold this way uphold the way of the Thus-Gone One; they are beyond words. Those who are beyond words comprehend the sameness of imputations. Therefore, they avoid involvement and do not adhere to extremes. Those who do not follow extremes will meet the middle way and abandon all categories of edge and center. Here, ‘to abandon’ is not to be imputed as a departure. In this way they achieve immaculate wisdom. Those who do not engage in Dharma practice will not rely on it.
“Phenomena do not come into being, nor do they perish. Why is this? All phenomena are devoid of an essential nature, an identity, therefore no identity can be apprehended. Anantavyūha, just as the Thus-Gone One explains that all conditioned things are impermanent, so too does he teach the meaning of change. Just as the Thus-Gone One explains the meaning of suffering, so too does he teach the meaning of reversal and the meaning of the freedom from desire. Just as the Thus-Gone One explains that nirvāṇa is peace, so too does he teach the meaning of definitively abandoning the aggregates. He expounds on the immaculate Dharma gateway by means of impermanence, suffering, the absence of identity, and nirvāṇa. [F.75.b]
“Anantavyūha, to actualize the teachings of the thus-gone ones is to express the essential nature of phenomena. The Thus-Gone One has expounded these instructions through a variety of categories, gateways, and teaching formulations. Although he expresses them conventionally, the Thus-Gone One does not label phenomena as either different or identical. All things are beyond duality, neither identical nor different; they are subsumed within the indefinable. Because phenomena both have and do not have characteristics, they have the same essential nature as space.
“Anantavyūha, this dhāraṇī gateway, whose nature is fundamentally pure, tames bodhisattvas. What does it tame? It tames their desire, their anger, and their ignorance. The desire, anger, and ignorance to be tamed do not exist and cannot be apprehended at all. That which is not desire, anger, and ignorance cannot be apprehended; if you thoroughly search for them, you will not find them. Since desire, anger, and ignorance do not exist, they are hollow, delusive, beguiling to the naive, and deceptive. There is no basis from which desire, anger, and ignorance arise; it cannot be found and is thus absent. You should regard them as lacking such basis. How should you regard them? Regard them as unborn. Since desire, anger, and ignorance are fallacies that originate from error, any notion of something from which they arise or something that produces them is void and delusive.
“Desire, anger, and ignorance are inherently nonexistent [F.76.a] insofar as they are based on the unknowing and misperception inherent to the darkness of ignorance. For those who recognize this, the inconceivable immaculate gateway will arise and the dhāraṇī will be accomplished. This understanding of the equality of consciousness is the function of insight; it is the function of achieving dhāraṇī, and it purifies the branches of awakening. It is a state of aspiration, diligence, and conscientiousness, a state in which carelessness is tamed. It entails unimpaired discipline, view, and ritual action and the immaculate activities of body, speech, and mind. It ensues from the wisdom of selflessness, the absence of characteristics, and it is associated with the abandonment of perception. It is accomplished through infinite skill in means. Those who comprehend and train correctly in an instruction such as this will master it and attain release.
“Anantavyūha, the inherent characteristics of phenomena may be expressed and these Dharma discourses may be taught and explained, and while it may be pointed out that all phenomena are like space, you should still recognize that there is no one to be labeled as a teacher and that the teachings are intangible. Anantavyūha, bodhisattvas who train in these words of introduction to the gateway of the teachings will progress far using the oceanic force of their minds. They will be unaffected by any opposition and will achieve the different aspects of wisdom. They will realize expertise in displaying wisdom that is not dependent upon anything else. They will realize expertise in inconceivable, perfect sameness, and with that expertise they will expound on the teachings beyond words and signs while not teaching anything. [F.76.b] They will be teachers known as buddhas, omniscient ones, and self-manifest ones, achieving purity of words and signs. They will swiftly attain many types of melodies that are delightful, beautiful, harmonious, pure, and perfect. Their words will be noble. They will become the ones worthy to approach and ask questions. They will know how to accomplish expertise in ascertaining beings’ insight. They will become speakers of assertions, speakers of logic, and helpful speakers. The words they utter will be beneficial and excellent and will resolve the truth. They will know how to resolve numerous topics by explaining a single one.
“Anantavyūha, regard bodhisattvas who practice this instruction as possessing the same multitude of qualities as a fully awakened buddha. Their adherence to the abandonment of attachment and anger will not be taken away by the lustful and the angry, just as they will not be swayed by anything that leads to attachment, anger, or delusion. They will become thoroughly purified, skilled in both means and insight, and experts in the discernment of words. They will have perfect, well-trained acceptance toward everything, immeasurable qualities, and perfect motivation. They will maintain perfect acceptance, their engagement will be excellent, and their speech will be perfectly honest. [F.77.a]
“Anantavyūha, those bodhisattvas who do not exert themselves in, do not know about, or do not apply themselves to this instruction will not gain the slightest bit of these qualities. Anantavyūha, few—very few indeed—are those beings who exert themselves in this instruction. Rare—very rare indeed—are those beings who strive for complete perfection and completely master what they aspire to, what they do, and what they are intent on. Those who understand the practice of acceptance and develop renunciation based on this instruction will attain inexhaustible superknowledge and great wisdom, wisdom that is more exalted than all the worlds, self-manifest wisdom, immeasurable and boundless wisdom.
“Anantavyūha, bodhisattvas should train in this point of entry to the gateway that teaches the section of Dharma called The Seal of Dhāraṇī. Those bodhisattvas who train in it will come close to the seat of awakening. They will serve beings through their awakened activity. They will serve all beings by cultivating deep love. They will serve beings by cultivating deep compassion. Anantavyūha, what is this point of entry to the gateway that teaches the section of Dharma called The Seal of Dhāraṇī? Anantavyūha, this seal that turns all phenomena into syllables subsumes all phenomena. How are they subsumed? All these phenomena are subsumed in sameness. Sameness cannot truly see itself, nor can it comprehend or apprehend itself. If one does not conceptualize the identity of all phenomena as it is, all things are there subsumed without distinction between what is conditioned and what is unconditioned. [F.77.b] There are teachings that are rendered as syllables and those that are formed through verbal expressions. Both those that are rendered as syllables and those that are verbal expressions are fundamentally the same by nature and so do not exist. Within that absence of existence, such expressions are not real, nor is what is rendered as syllables or the act of making verbal expressions. This is all another way of referring to indivisibility. Without remainder is an alternate expression for the absence of superimposition.
“This Dharma way is indefinable because all phenomena are neither real nor unreal. Why is this? Because the nature of all phenomena is peace. Everything expressed in writing, described in words, seen, or apprehended lacks an inherent nature. In this sense, all things are uncreated and are beyond sameness, lack of sameness, calm, peace, and tranquility. It is not the characteristic of phenomena to exist or remain within peace or tranquility. All phenomena are immutable, and thus they cannot be defined as anything. Since phenomena do not endure and thus cannot be counted, how could verbal expressions that describe phenomena in terms of enumerations categorize them? Verbal expressions and syllables do not exist in any place or locale. Written and verbal undertakings do not come from or go anywhere; they are not found at the limits of any phenomena, nor at their center. The entire functioning of syllables is devoid of action, syllables, and effort. Likewise, the workings of speech are also devoid of syllables and effort.13 [F.78.a] All syllables are empty of the nature of syllables, while verbal activity is also empty of the nature of verbal activity. They are empty of an identity as self, other, or the combination of both. That which is empty is detached, that which is detached is tranquil, and all phenomena possess the gateway of tranquility. Any gateway used to express the names of things, to express syllables, and to express semantic activity is a non-gateway. Since it is not existent, it is the purification of gateways. Any gateway that expresses the Dharma is a compendium of that which is pure. What is another way of saying ‘All phenomena are free of desire?’ Desire is inherently nonexistent, while an inherent nature implies utter purity. Within utter purity, there is no desire and nothing that can be labeled as desire. All these phenomena are unwavering, free of deceit, and beyond conceptual elaboration.
“This is the entrance to the gateway presenting the section of the teaching known as The Seal of Dhāraṇī. By entering this gateway, bodhisattvas dispel the cloudy vision of dark ignorance and bring to mind the Dharma lineage in harmony with awareness. How do they bring this to mind? All phenomena have a pure appearance, thus bodhisattvas will achieve the Dharma eye, penetrate the dhāraṇī gateway, and realize this section of the Dharma that is formulated in syllables. They will acquire the utterly pure gateway of omniscient wisdom and come close to the thus-gone ones. They will be able to use what aligns with the Dharma to defeat all non-Buddhists and defeat the factions of Māra. [F.78.b] They will remain so that they may gather the roots of virtue for the sake of all beings and will endeavor to connect with all the qualities of the thus-gone ones. They will reach dhāraṇī gateways like this one and, through this dhāraṇī gateway, attain the great light of the Dharma related to the Thus-Gone One’s ten powers and swiftly accomplish the power of the Thus-Gone One.
“Anantavyūha, the attainment of the generation of the Thus-Gone One’s power includes the Thus-Gone One’s ten powers—those great powers that are more exalted than all the worlds, powers by which he emits his lion’s roar in the assembly and proclaims and teaches the presentation of the immaculate dhāraṇī gateway to the bodhisattvas. What are these ten powers, these great dispassionate and limitless powers by which the Thus-Gone One teaches?
“Anantavyūha, with the unexcelled power of omniscient wisdom he has produced, the Thus-Gone One precisely knows what is possible and impossible. This is the first power of the Thus-Gone One. With this power, the Thus-Gone One pledges himself to the exalted, sublime state and teaches the Dharma to beings. He turns the unsurpassed Dharma wheel for the whole world with its gods and for those gods and humans elsewhere—for all those for whom it has not already been turned.
“With his nonconceptual omniscient wisdom free of attachment and obstruction, the Thus-Gone One precisely knows the variety of virtuous and nonvirtuous actions carried out in the past, present, and future, as well as the causes of taking on karma. This is the second power.
“With his nonconceptual omniscient wisdom free of attachment and obstruction, the Thus-Gone One precisely knows the whole range of behaviors of all beings without exception. This is the third power. [F.79.a]
“With his unsurpassed power of omniscient wisdom, the Thus-Gone One precisely knows the various and numerous aspirations, ideas, and thoughts of all beings. This is the fourth power.
“The Thus-Gone One precisely knows the various and numerous elements and the various and numerous sense sources of the inhabitants of the world. This is the fifth power.
“The Thus-Gone One precisely knows the path that brings realization of the knowledge of causes and conditions. This is the sixth power.
“The Thus-Gone One uses his divine eye to perceive unobscured wisdom and, through the unsurpassed power of the omniscient wisdom he has thus produced, precisely knows beings’ death and rebirth. This is the seventh power.
“The Thus-Gone One precisely knows affliction, purification, and emergence in relation to concentrations, liberations, meditative absorptions, and attainments. This is the eighth power.
“The Thus-Gone One precisely knows his past existences, which are manifest to his recollection. This is the ninth power.
“The Thus-Gone One precisely knows the exhaustion of defilements, the knowledge of which has become manifest to him. This is the tenth power.
“Anantavyūha, the Thus-Gone One possesses these immeasurable, unsurpassable powers of omniscience. Anantavyūha, this Dharma treasure has been taught to bodhisattvas so that all beings may give rise to the wisdom of buddhahood and refine their understanding of the Dharma. Anantavyūha, notice how profound the explanations of the Thus-Gone One’s wisdom are and how difficult they are to comprehend. [F.79.b] An instruction that expresses the Thus-Gone One and the Thus-Gone One’s powers entails the refinement of the power of omniscient wisdom; the Thus-Gone One’s teachings cannot be apprehended or labeled. Anantavyūha, these powers cannot be suppressed. This is the unexcelled Dharma gateway, the Dharma gateway of the Thus-Gone One. On the basis of this gateway to omniscience, this Dharma way is proclaimed. All phenomena—which are impotent, unmanifest, essenceless, and free from essence—are limitlessly and infinitely described, thus perfecting the Thus-Gone One’s ten powers.
“Anantavyūha, the Thus-Gone One possesses infinite powers; he has acquired expertise in boundless Dharma gateways. Anantavyūha, this is the Thus-Gone One’s boundless Dharma gateway. On the basis of this Dharma gateway, the Thus-Gone One’s ten powers have been explained; the Thus-Gone One’s pure and immaculate powers have been proclaimed. Furthermore, Anantavyūha, in order to purify the bodhisattvas’ gateway, listen to this proclamation of the instruction that reveals the seal of the dhāraṇī gateway:
Pramocane vipramuṃcati acale avyāthani prabha-anugate teje mahāteje apratyāvaraṇi anāvaraṇi āvaraṇi viśodhani vidhana praviśani dhura anikṣepani valgu valgu svare svaraviśodhani mudra mudra viśodhani parivāre samantaparivāre agra-anumati arthasādhani saṃgramcchedani śūre śure vīrye āharaṇi upanamati [F.80.a] nidariśani samantaparipulyai gate tāra-anugate aniviśani asanniviśani dhāraṇigate nidhanapariśodhani anuddhara vivasani bhadre bhadravati mukhamukhavati sandharaṇi upadhāraṇi anantaprabhe prabhūtaparivāre svaśani parisvaśani mahāvākāśe ākāśasamosāraṇi vidhimarikarṇi sarvadjñāpathaviśodhani nirvāṇapathasanadriśaṇi.
“Anantavyūha, this was the revelation of the seal of the dhāraṇī gateway, a revelation encompassing all teachings.14 Anantavyūha, as they train in this gateway to this section of Dharma, bodhisattvas will pursue learning. They will become experts in the classifications of mind and have full mastery of their marvelous eloquence. They will have mastery of the foundation for accomplishing the words of dhāraṇīs. What is the foundation for accomplishing those words?
Sāgara-aparyanta sumeruratana sāgarasaṃnicaya abhītani asambhītani abhivare vajrasanni nirveṣani akṣobhini asaṃkṣobhini akṣaya-avyayikṣaya aparyante akṣiṇa kṣayāntasandrīśe aparikṣaye abhikṣubhini avigale avigalajñāniharani.
“Anantavyūha, this was the foundation for accomplishing those words. Those bodhisattvas who train in it will develop insight as imperturbable as the ocean and see with vast vision. What will their perspective be like? They will think, ‘I will soothe all beings by extending infinite love to them. I will prepare a great medicine for you, and with it I will heal your blurry vision, the darkness of ignorance. I will remove the thorns of suffering, dissatisfaction, and pain you experience in cyclic existence, which is beginningless and endless. [F.80.b] I will free you from the bondage of craving. I will save you from the flood of cyclic existence and shine the light of the Dharma. Without a doubt, I will guide those beings who have connected to roots of nonvirtue.’ Those sublime beings and supreme captains will by all means see with vast vision and bring beings to freedom, not allowing any of them to stray from unsurpassable omniscient wisdom. In this way, they extend their love to all beings and illuminate the authentic Dharma gateways that reveal what was previously unheard, that are free of desire, and that pertain to the knowledge of the unborn.
“Anantavyūha, when bodhisattvas wish to give a Dharma lecture, how should they proceed? Actualizing these words established through dhāraṇī and secret mantra, they should sit on lion thrones with the intent not to hold back any of their expertise in the Dharma. With their boundless intellect, they should bring the Thus-Gone One to mind. Arousing the great and vast power of their skillful means and insight, they should engender great compassion and great love for the beings who have gathered for the Dharma lecture, teach on the definitive way of the Dharma, and refine their expertise in recollection. Discerning, through their great expertise in mind and wisdom, the intentions that beings have formed, they should carry out their unfathomable Dharma lectures in exact accordance with the definitive Dharma way, without adding or subtracting anything and with their voices clear, their syllables and words well enunciated, and their speech well determined.
“Through such Dharma lectures, their own roots of virtue will increase, and beings will gather incredible qualities. [F.81.a] For this reason, the Thus-Gone One uses numerous analogies and presentations to explain and expound upon this condensation of the Dharma, this section of the Dharma on the dhāraṇī gateway. May you also give unsurpassable Dharma lectures in that way, may you attend to beings through awakened activity, and may you swiftly perfect the fearlessness of the Thus-Gone One!
“Anantavyūha, bodhisattvas who use great wisdom activity to train in the activities that bring about superknowledge will acquire a great accumulation of wisdom. What is this conduct that brings about superknowledge? Anantavyūha, bodhisattvas maintain the foundations of miraculous power. They possess unobscured wisdom vision by focusing on the idea that the numerous distinctions of right conduct are as baseless as the sky; they possess the limitless power of the Thus-Gone One’s wisdom vision; and, through the limitless power of skill in insight and wisdom, they attain definitive expertise in the knowledge of all phenomena. And yet, they have not gained any qualities in the slightest, nor do they apprehend anything. While the Thus-Gone One maintains freedom from apprehending and remains peerless, the Thus-Gone One maintains nothing. The Thus-Gone One dwells in solitude, remains free from attachment, and maintains his immaculate wisdom vision, so there is nothing whatsoever that the Thus-Gone One fails to understand or see. The Thus-Gone One maintains a limitless vision of self-manifest wisdom, and being free of the darkness of error, he is unobscured.
“The Thus-Gone One has in this way fully awakened to the sameness of all phenomena, [F.81.b] which he explains to be illusory by nature, dream-like, similar to reflections, beyond names, and beyond ideas. You should follow the Thus-Gone One’s footsteps in this. The Thus-Gone One displays unobstructed wisdom and is proficient in discerning the superior and inferior faculties of beings. The Thus-Gone One displays unobstructed wisdom as well as proficiency in all forms of knowledge and demonstrates to bodhisattvas the peerless and indomitable actions that bring about superknowledge. By such actions that bring about superknowledge, bodhisattvas accomplish the miraculous powers of the gateway of superknowledge, and they also accomplish the power of the blessings of truth. They sustain the development of the power of immaculate discipline. They sustain the development of the power of meditative absorption, immaculate insight, and immaculate wisdom. They sustain the development of the power of liberation and the power of seeing the wisdom of liberation. They sustain the power of immaculate generosity and the power of knowing the Dharma. Sustaining the development of these powers, bodhisattvas attain the powerful blessings of truth, and through them they will physically reign over the world up to the Brahmā realms. They will experience numerous miracles and beat a variety of Dharma drums. Seated on lion thrones, they will satisfy their assemblies with the Dharma and will always bring about the benefit of all beings.
“Anantavyūha, take as an analogy the regal mountains that make up the great ring of mountains. Since it is unsuitable for beings to smell the unpleasant stench of hell beings, to hear their sounds, or to see them, [F.82.a] the great ring of mountains encircles the periphery of the world as a maturation of beings’ karma. Similarly, bodhisattvas should provide all beings with the unobscured Dharma and introduce them to the undefiled nature of all phenomena. Any bodhisattvas who train in this teaching using the adamantine power of insight and skill in means will, after finding release through the profound Dharma and remaining free from perception, be anointed with ambrosia.
“How will they be anointed with ambrosia? They will be untouched by the demon of afflictions, and they will not even come close to being controlled by the demon of the aggregates, the demon of the divine son, and the demon of the lord of death. Even the notion of passing away will not occur to them. Why? These sublime beings embody emptiness and bring signlessness perfectly to mind, thus they do not aspire toward anything. Indeed, there is nothing that is born, that dies, that comes, that goes, that stays, that becomes afflicted, that becomes purified, that acquires power, or that falls into decline. Since no phenomena can be apprehended, they have no concepts about anything whatsoever. Forsaking pride, arrogance, and haughtiness, and with a humble attitude, they are undeluded about what is to be understood on an inner level, and they know well what is to be understood on an outer level. They are not overcome by the things they see, hear, analyze, or cognize. These sublime beings sustain unmistaken suchness and unaltered suchness that is not other, as taught by the thus-gone ones who declare that all phenomena are like space. [F.82.b]
“This is how bodhisattvas access the perfection of insight. All those who uphold this way will accomplish infinite insight and, by the force of such insight, actualize the instructions on inconceivable wisdom and access the explanations of the intended meaning. They will understand all phenomena, and as they realize that awakening and the deeds with immediate result are equal, they will actualize awakening itself. They will come to understand that awakening is beyond comprehension because the deeds with immediate result are beyond comprehension. They will come to realize that awakening cannot be realized because the deeds with immediate result cannot be realized. Knowing that both awakening and the deeds with immediate result are beyond apprehending, they will act neither in discord with the deeds with immediate result nor in accord with awakening; they neither create nor bring to an end deeds with immediate result, nor awakening.
“Those who become well trained in this presentation of the meaning will not fixate on or form concepts about actions and their results. They will know that actions and consequences do not exist and are equal, that actions and results are equal, not dissimilar. They will not apprehend actions and their consequences, nor will they form concepts about them or fixate on them. Why is this? Their karmic obscurations and afflictive obscurations have diminished because the causes have not been created for them. They gain clarity about this teaching on the gateway of all phenomena, this section of instruction on the dhāraṇī gateway. They will practice this immaculate Dharma gateway throughout the worlds in the ten directions and be immaculate in their conduct. They will not become puffed up or discouraged due to worldly things. They will serve as fields of merit and objects of offering and as models of what is to be attained by the whole world with its gods. [F.83.a]
“Anantavyūha, I have declared that noble sons on the eighth level are unfathomable, immeasurable objects of worship, not to mention bodhisattva great beings who follow this instruction. Those who do not apprehend, aggrandize, or form elaborate concepts about awakening, sentient beings, the Dharma, illumination, or worldly things, who fully comprehend this instruction, and who maintain authentic practice of the Dharma have made the most exalted offering. The Thus-Gone One refers to them as supreme objects of offering.
“Anantavyūha, for bodhisattvas who train in this instruction, there is no type of excellence or veneration that they will lack. They will come to possess everything that is excellent and will be free from fear, anxiety, and dread. They will forsake life and limb and uphold my vast and definitive teachings; there will be no teaching that they will fail to uphold. They will sit on lion’s thrones and proclaim the Dharma with great lion’s roars. They will defeat the non-Buddhists in a way that is in harmony with the Dharma and overcome the evil Māra along with his legions. They will lead beings to freedom from obscuration and establish them on the path to omniscience. They will ensure that beings are on an appropriate path and will not do anything that is in disharmony with the noble truths. They will inspire beings with the factors of awakening. They will bestow the gift of the Dharma upon beings and ensure that they comprehend it.
“Anantavyūha, those who continuously cultivate acceptance of this section of the Dharma on the dhāraṇī gateway will be equal to those who have already received the prophecy of awakening. [F.83.b] Such sublime beings will obtain a prophecy that they bestow upon themselves. Anantavyūha, upon hearing this instruction, these bodhisattvas will think, ‘The Thus-Gone One, the sage and king of the Śākyas, has entrusted this instruction to us, explained its context, established us in this seal of dhāraṇī, and introduced us to this Dharma gateway. In doing so, the Thus-Gone One has aided us with the foremost of all types of benefit. The Thus-Gone One is our loving father!’ With such thoughts, those bodhisattvas will perceive me as a father. Anantavyūha, they will all be counted among those who are comparable to the present thus-gone ones like myself.
“This was the second section of the instruction on the dhāraṇī gateway.”
Then, surveying the four directions and displaying his supernatural powers, the Thus-Gone One conjured a miraculous display such that the bodhisattvas who had gathered in the assembly beheld innumerable blessed buddhas throughout the worlds of the ten directions and heard their teachings. Afterward, the Blessed One addressed the bodhisattva Anantavyūha, “Anantavyūha, notice how the Thus-Gone One creates miraculous displays precisely because phenomena are beyond creation. Such power of the Thus-Gone One is immeasurable, incalculable, and inestimable. The Thus-Gone One is neither identical with fearlessness nor distinct from it. Since the Thus-Gone One does not exist, he is neither singular nor multiple. The Thus-Gone One is not suchness, nor is he other than suchness. He is not the essential nature, nor is he other than the essential nature. You should realize that the Thus-Gone One does not apprehend even beneficial qualities. [F.84.a] Those who understand the Thus-Gone One in this way have no understanding at all, and those who know absolutely nothing are free of afflictions and grasping.
“Anantavyūha, although the Thus-Gone One has overcome existence and nonexistence, he has never overcome anything. All phenomena have the essential nature of space. Anantavyūha, those bodhisattvas who believe this will be boundlessly eloquent and discover clarity about all phenomena. Anantavyūha, the Thus-Gone One is unafraid because he has the fearlessness of a thus-gone one. He has found supreme fearlessness without attaining it; he guides nothing, increases nothing, decreases nothing, and leads nothing to decline. The thus-gone ones are not born, and their mode of being is the essential condition of all phenomena, the expanse of phenomena, the faultless nature of phenomena.
“Anantavyūha, all phenomena are free of fault, their actions being nothing but unreal imputation. Phenomena are neither actions nor results and so are included within the gateway where there are no actions or results. According to the true nature of things, phenomena are devoid of actions, devoid of results, devoid of the cessation of causes, and devoid of the path that leads to the cessation of causes. The Thus-Gone One teaches that all phenomena arise from the gathering of causes, but their causes do not exist and phenomena are not controlled by them; thus he also proclaims that all phenomena are causeless. This entails the thus-gone ones’ level of fearlessness. [F.84.b]
“I have reached the level of fearlessness of a thus-gone one through perfect and limitless eloquence. What is this level of fearlessness? Anantavyūha, the thus-gone ones have four types of fearlessness. Pratyekabuddhas do not have them, why speak of śrāvakas and other worldly beings? What are these four types of fearlessness?
“When I fully awakened to all phenomena, I did not see any features anywhere in the world, including the god realms, about which it could be argued, ‘The omniscient and all-seeing one has not fully awakened to these phenomena.’ Since I did not see any such features, I achieved supreme fearlessness. I proclaimed my lion’s roar among the assembly and taught and illuminated this profound, vast, limitless, and unsurpassed Dharma and Vinaya.
“I realized the exhaustion of defilements, and I did not see any features anywhere about which it could be argued, ‘These defilements have not been exhausted.’ Since I did not see any such features, I remained at ease and discerned how I had established the unsurpassed foundation of the Dharma during many millions of eons.
“It is impossible that something I have described as leading to freedom, discernment, or the exhaustion of suffering does not in fact lead to freedom, discernment, or the exhaustion of suffering. Therefore, I did not see any features anywhere in the world, including among demons and gods such as Brahmā, that could contradict me. Since I did not see any features, I reached a supreme state of ease, proclaimed my lion’s roar among the assembly, and taught beings this way of the Dharma. [F.85.a]
“It is impossible that something I have declared to be obstructing is not in fact obstructing. Therefore, I did not see any features anywhere in the world of beings, including demons, gods such as Brahmā, mendicants, and brahmins, that could contradict me. Since I did not see any such features, I reached a supreme state of ease, proclaimed my lion’s roar among the assembly, and turned this Dharma wheel, which had not been turned anywhere in this world with its gods or elsewhere, or by any followers of other traditions.
“Anantavyūha, these are the Thus-Gone One’s four types of fearlessness. Those bodhisattvas who train in this will swiftly attain the Thus-Gone One’s level of fearlessness and become foremost in this world with its gods.
“Anantavyūha, bodhisattvas who reflect on the fact that concepts are like space will understand the gateway to be inconceivable and immaculate. Through this immaculate gateway they will reach the primary realization about phenomena. No phenomena are to be realized, and phenomena are not really seen to be like space. There is no space to engage with apart from phenomena, and there are no phenomena that can be engaged with apart from space. One may meditate on all phenomena by meditating on space without generating concepts or conceptual elaboration about space. One may attain expertise in altruistic deeds, and yet the expanse of phenomena does not come from anywhere, does not go anywhere, and is not truly achieved; thus one will understand that all phenomena are beyond achievement, beyond coming, and beyond going. [F.85.b] One will shine the light of the Dharma on all phenomena, thereby shining the light of Dharma on beings as well.
“Anantavyūha, these Dharma discourses enhance and bring benefit to bodhisattvas. Notice how they bring about the attainment of a buddha’s powers and fearlessnesses without there being any kind of decrease or diminishment. Anantavyūha, all phenomena are taught to be like space and like the open air in order to bring about realization. Actions, deeds, and causes are also taught to be like the open air. While those phenomena are described in that way, in reality nothing is apprehended. Anantavyūha, this profound Dharma and Vinaya does not accord with anything in the world. The Dharma and Vinaya does not accord with the world because the world is fundamentally mistaken insofar as its phenomena are destructible and perishable. The world cannot understand the world’s properties; in that respect all worldly phenomena are in conflict with the Dharma and do not lead to freedom. Even though all the world’s inhabitants may fixate upon the notion of phenomena, there are no phenomena whatsoever to seize or fixate upon. Those worldly beings form ideas by fixating upon all phenomena as phenomena, and thus they end up in disagreement and conflict with the Thus-Gone One and the Dharma and Vinaya realized by the Thus-Gone One because they fail to understand the intrinsically unborn nature of all phenomena. Due to such lack of understanding and ignorance, this refined comprehension of the expertise in the profound Dharma and Vinaya is in discord with the entire world.
“Anantavyūha, the Thus-Gone One thoroughly taught about the profound Dharma and Vinaya that is in discord with the entire world with its gods, [F.86.a] and yet he did not teach anything. Since the Thus-Gone One has definitely left all paths behind, he teaches the Dharma that quells dispute while not fixating upon the notion of path, let alone imputing it to be unending.
“Anantavyūha, the phrase ‘the entirety of existence’ is a reference to virtuous and nonvirtuous qualities. All phenomena are imputed to possess virtuous or nonvirtuous qualities. Yet, virtue and nonvirtue are both empty and absent; virtue does not blend together with nonvirtue, and nonvirtue does not blend together with virtue. There are no causes or conditions to fixate upon in relation to virtue and nonvirtue. Thus, the Thus-Gone One proclaimed that all phenomena are indeterminate. Virtue does not genuinely exist, and that which does not exist is indeterminate; it has no causes and is not taught to be a cause.
“Anantavyūha, since phenomena are to be understood in this manner, know that all phenomena are taught to be indeterminate and ineffable. This indeterminacy and ineffability of all phenomena is the bodhisattvas’ gateway of sameness in its entirety. No phenomena, whether virtuous or nonvirtuous, correspond to the way they appear; rather, they correspond to the gateway of indeterminacy. The gateway of indeterminacy is not a gateway, and no gateway will be found where there is no gateway. That which cannot be apprehended as a gateway is an immaculate gateway. This is the purification of the phenomena that serve as the bodhisattvas’ entry point to the dhāraṇī gateway. Having clarified all phenomena through this gateway, the bodhisattvas will be free of delusion, doubt, and hesitation concerning phenomena and will come to realize expertise in understanding the Dharma without hindrances. [B4] [F.86.b]
“Anantavyūha, bodhisattvas should long for the immaculate eye of insight. In what way should they long for it? Because phenomena are free of grasping, they should refrain from accepting or rejecting and thereby transcend states of being. By not striving for anything virtuous or nonvirtuous, they disregard everything classified as conditioned and all mundane phenomena. They do not remain at the level of conscientiousness, at the unexcelled level, or at the level of nonapprehending; they do not accept or reject anything or become engaged or involved with anything. This is known as the eye of insight, an immaculate eye. To realize the essential nature of abandonment, rejection, nongrasping, and renunciation is known as the eye of insight. The eye of insight entails the comprehension of exhaustion and detachment and an understanding of cessation, of the absence of arising, and of the absence of formation. It is the level of peace, quietude, and tranquility. It is the absence of linkage and connection, the severance of linkages. It is the unimpaired comprehension of the absence of severance and disruption. It is wisdom unconcealed.
“Such a state free of conceptual elaboration is the eye of insight. Those in possession of this eye of insight will give rise to an attitude of great love and compassion for the behavior of beings. This is mastered and stabilized when directed toward beings. They will understand that all phenomena are devoid of sentience and life force. After awakening to unsurpassed and perfect buddhahood, they should without a doubt expound on this unexcelled Dharma treasure, this section of the teachings that purifies the dhāraṇī gateway. [F.87.a] They should focus on this Dharma seal.
“Anantavyūha, this section of the teaching on the dhāraṇī gateway is realized and upheld by all buddhas in order to make the lineage of the thus-gone ones continue uninterruptedly. Moreover, all buddhas practice and teach this Dharma gateway. All blessed buddhas of the past, present, and future dwelling throughout the ten directions proclaim this section of the teachings on the dhāraṇī gateway. This Dharma gateway is the purification of the bodhisattvas’ Dharma teaching on the sameness of the three times; through it they accurately work with the phenomena of all three times—past, present, and future. For bodhisattvas, this Dharma gateway encompasses the purity of the three times. Even though they have no concept of time, they still eliminate nonvirtue and acquire the various virtuous roots. They will uphold immaculate physical, verbal, and mental actions, purify boundless gateways in order to gain pure wisdom, practice the mode of Dharma that is free of apprehending, and describe all phenomena as being like space. In order to teach and expound on pure insight, they will display the great light of insight that reaches the limits of space. In order to realize the space-like nature of phenomena, purify the path of omniscient wisdom, and properly fulfill the aspirations to awaken via the pure path, they will become skilled in actualizing knowledge of the truth. [F.87.b] In order to show how the truth is indivisible, they will display the wisdom of buddhahood.
“Anantavyūha, bodhisattvas who train in this Dharma will swiftly purify the branches of awakening so that they can understand everything. Although they are not far, but rather close to awakening, they do not consider themselves far from anything that contradicts the Dharma or close to this Dharma teaching. They do not regard awakening in terms of either Dharma or non-Dharma. Understanding and recognizing that awakening is not something to know, they realize it as being sameness beyond knowledge. They do not realize awakening while looking for peace among phenomena. They do not see tranquility through tranquility, nor do they see tranquility through something other than tranquility. Although they see nothing at all, they purify views in every way while not purifying anything at all. This is the bodhisattvas’ immaculate wisdom gateway, through which they will bring to mind the thus-gone ones’ infinite Dharma treasures. They will teach these Dharma treasures with the complete comprehension of the natures of beings and remember the immaculate activity of insight and wisdom.
“If this is desirable, then after fully awakening to perfect buddhahood, engage in altruistic aspirations. You will recall your skill in pure aspirations, swiftly gain control over all phenomena, and uphold and manifest the Thus-Gone One’s great love and compassion. Expert in the Thus-Gone One’s Dharma treasure, you will also display the immeasurable and boundless Dharma light and reach freedom within the domain of the buddhas. [F.88.a]
“Anantavyūha, what do the words ‘immeasurable’ and ‘boundless’ refer to? These words are used because all phenomena of the earth element, water element, fire element, wind element, space element, and consciousness element are immeasurable. Although the realms15 of beings—the desire, form, and formless realms—are immeasurable, beings are nonexistent, so they cannot be apprehended or designated. Similarly, those realms are nonexistent, so they cannot be apprehended or designated either. Therefore, all phenomena are perfectly subsumed within the realm of nirvāṇa. The mode of the water element shares the qualities of the realm of nirvāṇa, just as all phenomena share the qualities of nirvāṇa. In this sense, all phenomena have the distinction of being inexpressible. The realm of nirvāṇa is utterly devoid of obscuration. Since the realm of nirvāṇa is purified of obscuration, it is unobscured. The realm of nirvāṇa is pure and immaculate, and in this sense the water element is not an element. Since elements are nonexistent, the elements are expressed by demonstrating what transcends the elements. Expressions are likewise not elements, and because they are not elements, they do not come into being. Expressions are devoid of elements. Since all phenomena are expressed by conventions, they are beyond expression. In that way no act of expression can be apprehended or observed within them. All expressions are non-expressions. In that sense, all expressions have the identity of space—they are perfectly subsumed within space.
“The earth element is also inexpressible and ineffable. The same goes for the water element, [F.88.b] the fire element, the wind element, and the space element; everything up to the space element is ineffable. The consciousness element is that which uses conventions to describe all phenomena, thus the descriptive consciousness element is similar to the water element. The consciousness element is not categorized as an element; it is not comprised of elements and arises out of space. The consciousness element is therefore categorized as space. The consciousness element cannot be apprehended internally, externally, or anywhere in between. Nor is the consciousness element included in descriptions of what is conditioned. The consciousness element is pervaded by luminous space and subsumed within space; it cannot be designated or defined. That which cannot be designated is completely devoid of anything conditioned. Such is the entrance to this gateway. In defining the expanse of phenomena, it may be pointed out that the essential nature of all phenomena is equal and similar to space, and yet phenomena are completely beyond expanse and non-expanse. All things are like open space, and so the Thus-Gone One has stated, ‘All phenomena are like space.’ Since their measurements cannot be apprehended, they are inherently equal and similar to space.
“Anantavyūha, notice how the thus-gone ones’ immaculate wisdom instructions do not produce or confer any Dharma. Bodhisattvas should strive to unmistakenly16 understand this immaculate Dharma way. Without becoming conceited or arrogant about their wisdom, which does not depend on anything else, they should work to accomplish the purification of the inexpressible Dharma gateway and the purification of the knowledge of all phenomena. [F.89.a]
“Blessed One, its domain is the sky.”
“Blessed One, it does not have one.”
“Likewise, Anantavyūha, all phenomena have space as their domain. Phenomena have a domain which is beyond domain; it cannot be apprehended. For this reason, all phenomena are without a domain and devoid of action, behavior, and activity. The nature of phenomena should not be expressed in any manner. This Dharma gateway will purify a bodhisattva’s consciousness so that it is space-like. This Dharma gateway is limitless light. Bodhisattvas, upon attaining this Dharma gateway, can see throughout the worldly realms in the ten directions and perceive all their worlds in the same way that light, though nonexistent, pervades the infinite, boundless, and all-pervasive sky. Anantavyūha, this is the state to be understood through the bodhisattvas’ wisdom, the state of penetrating insight; it is not the state of opponents. This inexpressible Dharma way is an inexpressible Dharma seal; it cannot be expressed or designated as a seal. Therefore, all phenomena lack seals; they are truly beyond seals. By realizing the expertise in entities beyond seals, all phenomena become marked with the seal of open space; they clearly reveal the seal devoid of characteristics. Space is completely devoid of characteristics; it does not have the characteristics of something conditioned and expressible. [F.89.b] Even when it is stated, ‘This is space,’ space is not being pointed to as a body of real aggregates. Phenomena should ultimately be understood to be inexpressible perfection.
“Anantavyūha, I will now reveal, with immaculate words understood to be like space, the words that purify the seal of the dhāraṇī gateway. You should understand these words to be similar to space, beyond words and purity. What are these words?
Vivare vivara-anusahite pra-anuni nisanna vicaraṇi abhyavakāśa sandarśaṇi prābhari prābhariviśodhani niravikalpe ākāśasamavasaraṇi niṣaṃge śaṃgāpagati śaṃgavimocani anādāni ādhanavīgate kaṃkṣachedaparikarma achede anupachede asame asamasame divyajñāna-aharaṇe prajñācakṣuviśodhani śallya-apanayani driṅgi-udtaraṇi ayuge aviyuge asamaprayuke aviprayuke agrapadanirahare nirdeśavadaviśodhani atīta-anāgatapratyutpannaviśodhani kṛtaparikarmavinite nata-artha-anugate asaṃkrame agrapadaviśodhani padaprabhedajñāna viśodhani nirbhase ābhasaviśodhani asamantadaśadigvyavalokani virāgavadanirhare prajñāviśuddhe obhasa-aprameyakaraṇi akalpadharma darśaniviśodhani bhūta-arthsandarśani anubodhi-arthaviśodhani sāgaracitana-anupraviśe merūpanisaṃsthāne raśmipratibhani sarvaloka-adhipate yajñānaviśodhani apratihata-asaṃgajñānadarśane.
“Anantavyūha, these are the words that purify the seal of the dhāraṇī gateway. Like space, these words are unbroken, unceasing, and uninterrupted. In them there are no words, not even words that are revealed to be immaculate. Anantavyūha, these secret mantra words are revealed through the Thus-Gone One’s blessings to those noble sons who have entered the Great Vehicle, [F.90.a] those who will engage with these words, pursue the profound Dharma, aim to fully awaken to buddhahood, and seek to bring about the benefit of beings. These secret mantra words will summon nonhumans and gods of the pure abodes, as well as any gods who have set out for unsurpassed and perfect awakening.
Upasaṃhare saṃhare hrī śrī dhṛtiviśodhanikalyaṇa-arthanirdeśapratibhati cittāmaṇinavijñānaviśodhani adhyādmavaharidhapariśodhani gatismṛtimati-aharaṇi ganta gantavati sare saravati.
“With these secret mantra words, those gods that live on the snow-covered king of mountains and are blessed by the Thus-Gone One will descend and manifest the light of the Dharma for those noble sons who proclaim the Dharma.
Mativiśodhani suyuktavīrye agrahītapadanirahare akilāsini avikilāsini utthānasaṃvanane vinitāsamādapani mati-agra-anugate.
“Those gods who live on Mount Kailāśa, the king of mountains, will enable those who proclaim the Dharma to achieve the immaculate eye, the immaculate ear, the immaculate nose, the immaculate tongue, and the immaculate body. Moreover, they will occasionally join their speech with that of those who expound the Dharma, and they will teach it continuously.
Pratīpavidhi vairocanavati buddhamati vasumati dharmamati asaṃpramośavati obhāsasandarivati upasaṃharanirdeśavati.
“Those gods who establish their homes and live in the sāla forest will induce immaculate physical, verbal, and mental activity in those who proclaim the Dharma. They will imbue them with melodious language as well as pleasant, harmonious, and delightful voices. [F.90.b] They will elicit from them language that is pleasant and free of disharmony.
Nirālaṃbhe agrakare kṣemavicaye nirbhasavati nirharavati ojovati upanāmati upasaṃharakaraṇi abhiśatha-ihadhāraṇīmukhe dharmamukhe dharmapatale.
Dharmakāma dharmacantika kalyaṇārthavisarjani kauśalya-anugati upāyasaṃgṛhīte vinirmukte śāntapadavisaraṇi obhāsayaśavati.
“Anantavyūha, those gods who dwell on the banks of the great ocean will provide alms for those who proclaim the Dharma. The Thus-Gone One has revealed these secret mantra phrases for those who listen to this discourse. These secret mantras will summon the lord of gods, Śakra. What are they?
Makhipati vasumati devarājāśacimapati sarva-asurāṇānanirghatāni vajreyasupratiṣṭhita pramardhana-upa-asurānāṃ devana-adhipatimasādha puraskṛtopi devehi śovasebhasavasadha purandaramahāketutāpesi asusamada dhvajagranta pāpaśyintāvidhyāṃ-sitamahā-asura-indrasapalavantibhitatrastadiśodiśa namanabuddhasyakīrtiśye nāmagotranamahāyaśa devapurasmisaṃgrame buddhaśapata-anuttaraṃ-śrāvisidevavijaya namo buddhavibhāśita saṃkrāmachandasividyābuddhanāmenbhahitā vijayesotata deva-asuraś ca vinitavana kṛtāte rakṣadevanāṃ manuṣyanām rakṣasaṃvita yam iha dharmanirdeśa otaranti supratiṣṭhita nigṛhitadvayā asura rākṣasa yakṣa kinnara nāga kumbhaṇḍa bhūtāni pūtani piśāca dānavātathā acala-asthānaprāvatosi [F.91.a] indra-indrapuraskṛta atigambhīra śānatana ca agrapuruṣasevita mudrāvantosi deva-indra buddhimantathāviśuddha aviśa iha sūtrasmirakṣasamvitahi ca sahasranetrasumukha-avasaraiparivarta upabhuñjasvakakarmapurvahetusmiyaṃkṛtama atipaśca-anuprāpata acalasupratiṣṭhita kṛtaṃhikuśalaṅvūre manuṣyeśumahīpati pūrvaṃgama-usidevanāṃ pūjanatina ca manuṣa buddhasya kṛtatvasadkāraṃ pūjāveśyatite bahu mahācamani vivaraṃbhavanamavaśa-utpate devālayasya madhasmiyakṣobhiparivārato pralaṃbaharibahuta vaskviśata agravahisatimati suratapati suratathāprabhuskandha anilacamarādcchamahābhāgimahāskandha mahāhetusupradhipa mahābalam atiyakṣamahāteja rakṣanti bhavānantapa bahuyakṣaparivāro yena śobhasivāsa ca vasusarvavasutamahāteja mahāgani mahāpraharanocayiva-abhinirharayātathaivara ca sumerumurnitapa vāsavasarvadevapuraskṛto śobhate bhavana obhasaṃprabhamuñcasitejasa.
“These are the words for calling down Śakra, the lord of the gods, the words by which Śakra is summoned. In the future, these secret mantra words will ensure that those beings who have set out toward awakening will uphold the teachings and maintain expertise in magnetizing beings.
Saniveśani mahāsari mahāgane mahājani prabhutavijaye dhvaja-agra upabhasani anilasenatusaha nānāvarṇadaśanidaśa catvāralokapālani tu smerājāna-udcyathā āveśana iha samantaharatha prajenigrahisaravecaturadiśa.
Mitre mitravati kāruṇe kāruṇavati vibuddhi vibuddhavati pramocani pramocanavati kṛta kṛtavati anugami anugamavati upadchedani kamavivarjani kṛṣṇasamudśoṣaṇi nigṛhītamārabalaṃ udtaraṇavati pratyudtāraṇavati upekṣa-anusahite ārambaṇaviśodhani nidarśana asamohani niṣprapañcavane.
“Anantavyūha, these are the words for subjugating the evil Māra. They will prevent one from being harmed by the evil Māra with his legions and mounts. What are the words for invoking the great Brahmā?
Atipatimahāsthānapati svayakṛtasthānamati nānābahuvividha pratyudpasthānakaraṇa-adhikasthānapati śuddhasthānagato sahamapati adhikrāntaviśoṣaṇaśubhaparivaraśubha-adhimugata prāpataśrita nivāsanaprabhutaprabha nigrahītakāmam svastikamam apratyupasthāna.
Viśodhanavati anatimahākāruṇika kāmabhava-usatani paryanirmitaniparyantapratyupasthāna paryavasāna ālayaviśodhani ādjñāparyante karaṇi-antima deśapratyupsthāne.
“Anantavyūha, these are the words for manifesting the Dharma of the gods of the pure abodes. These words that illuminate the Dharma establish the Dharma foundation for those noble sons. Anantavyūha, the lords of the gods, of the nāgas, of the asuras, of the kinnaras, and of the garuḍas—any beings whether powerful, weak, [F.92.b] faithful, or faithless—should accomplish these secret mantra words. Those who are faithful will thereby completely embrace this Dharma teaching, while those who are faithless will not say anything and remain neutral rather than engaging in disputes and quarrels. They will leave this Dharma gateway alone and will not bring harm, injury, or ruin to it. What are the words for invoking those with faith and trust?
Gurudhare sacale svastinirharakovide nirjanaprativiloyite cittasancanani cittaparipagake cittasamprasādhani manasyahariśakaraṇi vīdjñānasya anusvati anudharmo no upekṣaṇe hetusandariśane tathā-akṣarapada nirdeśaśothiva yathāgāthā yathānukulasama upamanirdeśaśodhite tatra kālenacakartavavya samprasādana arthato sama yayathānukulan ca mukha upasaṃsārayoniśa ākāśasya viśuddhi yayathāśodhitilakṣaṇa lakṣaṇi lakṣaṇavati lakṣaṇaviśodhani pratibedha arthasandhadariśani kuśalabhothasarvehapravicaye samosarani kṛta anurakṣisatya arthe satyānāṃ suviśodhite.
“Anantavyūha, these are the words for bringing about the descent of those who have trust. These words will generate, in those who proclaim the Dharma, meaningful roots of virtue that accord with what is taught here. What are the words for subjugating those who lack faith?
Kṣame kṣamavati maitre parikarmapratyupasthāne karuṇapratilabhahita anukampasañjanani saṃgrahavastuhitavastu sandariṣaṇiparivarajniyavarjani pāpamitrasevani na tatra deśesthātavavyayatravigrahavartito sarvagranthapradalati upacārasandariśaṇi niśayaviśodhani ādma anugame para upasaṃharaṇi nirminaṇi [F.93.a] anurakṣapratyupasthāne.
“Anantavyūha, these are words of rebuke for beings who lack trust and faith. Because of them, they will recognize their faults. Anantavyūha, there is so much opposition to the virtuous Dharma. There is no need to mention the opposition to this Dharma and Vinaya, which is unsurpassed, overcomes all faults, and unties all knots of dispute! Anantavyūha, notice those beings, lacking faith and trust, who come before me looking to find fault, full of malicious thoughts and intent on harm. Knowing their thoughts and guile, the Thus-Gone One uses the Dharma gateways to inspire them to be rich in the roots of virtue, abandon concepts, and acquire the causes of the roots of virtue.
“Anantavyūha, the Thus-Gone One knows what is happening in the minds of all beings; he knows what their minds hold. Anantavyūha, the Thus-Gone One has the eighteen unshared qualities of a buddha. What are they? Anantavyūha, from the night the Thus-Gone One fully awakens to unsurpassed and perfect buddhahood until he passes on into the realm of nirvāṇa without remainder, the Thus-Gone One is never deluded. His voice is never jarring, and he never forgets anything. His state of cessation is not a state of indifference, his perception is undifferentiated, and his mind is always composed. His diligence never wanes, his recollection never wanes, his effort never wanes, his meditative absorption never wanes, his insight never wanes, his liberation never wanes, and his liberated wisdom vision never wanes. [F.93.b] His physical actions are guided by wisdom and are in alignment with wisdom, his verbal actions are guided by wisdom and are in alignment with wisdom, and his mental actions are guided by wisdom and are in alignment with wisdom. The Thus-Gone One’s wisdom vision is disinterested in and unobstructed by the past, disinterested in and unobstructed by the future, and disinterested in and unobstructed by the present. The Thus-Gone One possesses these eighteen unshared qualities of a buddha.17
“Anantavyūha, in order to induce faith in those who lack faith, and in order for those who have faith to achieve pure wisdom in this Dharma and Vinaya, the Thus-Gone One proclaims, with the immeasurable power of his wisdom vision, this section of the teaching on the purification of the dhāraṇī gateway. Anantavyūha, if the Thus-Gone One desired, he could endlessly describe this section of the teaching on the dhāraṇī gateway, but even if he taught endlessly, not even a hundredth or a trillionth of this teaching that describes the dhāraṇī gateway and eliminates all doubts would be revealed; it would not be revealed in terms of any enumeration, any analogy, or any fraction of it. Why is this? Because this Dharma gateway is a boundless gateway, an inconceivable gateway. Omniscient wisdom is achieved through this gateway. Therefore, Anantavyūha, the Thus-Gone One has taught this Dharma gateway in numerous categories so that you might by any means come to comprehend this boundless, infinite dharma gateway and receive the dhāraṇī.
Ārye āryavati ārya-anugate nithāne nithānavati varto varme varto vacchedanakaraṇi ākāśaviśodhani [F.94.a] anukṣepani avīgatavarme anupagatini nirvāṇapathaviśodhani vyavanikṣipati anutpādavirodhavarme sarvajñānirvāṇasandarśani.
“Anantavyūha, this is the exposition of the arrangement of words for purifying the seal of dhāraṇī, revealed in this section of the instruction that teaches the achievement of the dhāraṇī gateway. By possessing these words, bodhisattvas will, with little trouble, come to realize expertise in understanding the discernment of words. They will come closer to great compassion and will realize, with a mind that accords with the meaning, insight that ascertains all phenomena.
“Anantavyūha, these words are a great medicine; they dispel the dense, black, gloomy darkness, the disease of ignorance and unknowing, and enable the perfection of qualities in harmony with awareness. They enable the perfection of expertise in knowing the qualities that support the recollection of past existences. They enable knowledge of the qualities conducive to the awareness that leads to the accomplishment of the divine eye. They enable the abandonment of all aggregates, which supports the awareness that knows the exhaustion of defilements. Moreover, they enable the perfection of all trainings, the vision of unsurpassed wisdom, the vision of omniscient wisdom, and the state of omniscient wisdom. Anantavyūha, notice how the Thus-Gone One’s extensive Dharma teaching perfects skills in means.
“Anantavyūha, the Thus-Gone One possesses great wisdom and has omniscient wisdom, power, and fearlessness. He expounds and reveals his precious, unsurpassed treasury of teachings mastered through the roots of virtue he has accumulated for many trillions of eons. For this reason, the Thus-Gone One has upheld this Dharma gateway and established this section of instruction on the purification of the dhāraṇī gateway [F.94.b] so that those like you can ripen the qualities of a buddha and become experts in achieving this Dharma way.
“Anantavyūha, those noble sons or daughters who strive for awakening, who wish to train as I have, who wish to train in my Dharma way, and who wish to uphold the thus-gone ones’ immeasurable Dharma treasury should exert themselves in this Dharma teaching. Anantavyūha, those who have interest and persevere in this teaching, who are conscientious and entirely disregard the three realms, who have become stable through their focus on the wisdom of the omniscient mind and thereby endeavor to become experts in the pure apprehending of form, feeling, perception, formation, and consciousness, and who endeavor to become experts in the unblemished mastery of words of truth should long for the immaculate wisdom of all phenomena.
“Since what is internal is pure, all phenomena are pure. Since what is internal is detached, all phenomena are detached. Since what is internal is pacified, all phenomena are pacified. Since what is internal is devoid of appropriation, all phenomena are devoid of appropriation. Since what is internal is abandoned, all phenomena are abandoned. Since what is internal ceases, all phenomena cease. Since what is internal is beyond formation, all phenomena are beyond formation. Anantavyūha, these bodhisattva gateways bring about the purification of what is internal.
“What is external is inherently devoid of conceptuality, thus bodhisattvas do not have concepts about anything at all. They uphold the immaculate dhāraṇī gateway, become free of pride, [F.95.a] and abandon attachment and anger. They are praised even by the thus-gone ones, become the foremost among beings, and wield unsurpassed power. They take pleasure in displaying detached wisdom, achieve eloquence, acquire a clear understanding of the past and future, and bring to mind the tranquil middle way. On the basis of the acceptance of the unborn nature of phenomena they have achieved, they come to realize their exceptional aspirations and achieve the purity of aspirations. They come to possess extraordinary expertise in understanding all phenomena and shower down a great rain of authoritative speech and teachings.
“Anantavyūha, after achieving the distinct aspirations of bodhisattvas, they will gain acceptance of the unborn nature of phenomena and come to realize the purity of all things. In this way, they come to understand the instruction that states, ‘All phenomena are devoid of birth and disintegration.’ They also come to understand the instruction that states, ‘All phenomena arise from what has not arisen. After arising they do not become real, yet while being unreal they are distinct. Thus they are included among and are separate from phenomena that are distinct.’ Independence is summarized as the feature of birthlessness. All phenomena that are characterized by birthlessness are characterized by cessation and detachment. To actualize this implies abandoning the formation of apprehending and conceptual elaboration. Anantavyūha, this is the way of entering the dhāraṇī gateway for acquiring expertise in the bodhisattvas’ gateway of knowledge of the unborn nature of phenomena. The acceptance of the unborn nature of phenomena will thereby be swiftly achieved, [F.95.b] and they will become guides with perfect eloquence.”
Then, in order to describe the accomplishment of this Dharma gateway, the Blessed One uttered these verses:
“Therefore, Anantavyūha, bodhisattvas should master this discourse in order to benefit beings. [F.98.a] They should develop faith in this Dharma way, gather its teachings, and keep it in written form in order to preserve it for a long time. Anantavyūha, those who hear this instruction in the future and bring the Thus-Gone One to mind with a sense of joy and happiness will gain the thus-gone ones’ infinite Dharma treasury, acquire perfect eloquence, and swiftly achieve power over all phenomena. They will amass wondrous buddha realms, śrāvakas, and bodhisattvas.
“Anantavyūha, this instruction on purifying the dhāraṇī gateway will manifest for those bodhisattvas who maintain the freedom from conceptual elaboration intrinsic to all phenomena; they will also come to possess countless inconceivable and extraordinary qualities. Anantavyūha, this was the third section in the discourse that teaches the dhāraṇī gateway.
“Therefore, Anantavyūha, bodhisattvas who wish to train as I did should follow a spiritual friend, forsake unwholesome companions, preserve these teachings, and even forsake life and limb to uphold this dhāraṇī seal. Anantavyūha, take as an analogy the full moon of the middle autumn month, which, surrounded by stars, is so bright and resplendent. In a similar way, everything included in this section of instructions on the dhāraṇī seal is lovely and magnificent, as it subsumes and distills all other discourses. With great devotion and having grown into boundless eloquence, bodhisattvas should yearn for a state of vigilance in this. [F.98.b] What is this kind of vigilance like? It is to remain free of concepts as one gains both definitive understanding through the proper investigation of these teachings and a pure acceptance of the realization that aligns with it.
“Bodhisattvas who wish to cultivate this state of vigilance should, with their expertise in the teachings, strive with respect and reverence to ensure that these teachings will be preserved for a long time. They should write them down and teach them to those who yearn for and strive to reach awakening. They should always wear them, teach on them, recite them, write them out, and expound on their meaning. They should not be secretive with this Dharma gateway but be liberal in discussing it, just as they have internalized it. If you wish for all sentient beings to gain the Buddha’s unsurpassed teachings, you should ensure that they never part from them.
“Among bodhisattvas who are oriented in this way, there are none who have failed to reach accomplishment in the Dharma or who have failed to realize its meaning. Anantavyūha, since there is nothing left unexpressed in this Dharma gateway, please retain this section of instruction on the purification of the dhāraṇī gateway in order to bring welfare and benefit to all beings.”
The Blessed One continued, “Indeed, Ānanda, numerous Dharma gateways will manifest to those who, by the Thus-Gone One’s power, have faith in this Dharma gateway and who uphold and venerate it. Therefore, Ānanda, [F.99.a] please retain this Dharma gateway, which is a treasury of the Thus-Gone One’s numerous teachings. Ānanda, by teaching this Dharma gateway, countless bodhisattvas in this assembly will come to dwell in the great light of the Dharma. By that light of Dharma they will actualize the Dharma teachings of many thousands of buddhas, approach omniscient wisdom more closely, and have all their wishes fulfilled in a continuous stream.
“Ānanda, notice how the Thus-Gone One explains with words and signs the profound nature of phenomena, which is beyond characteristics. Although he describes the nature of phenomena and refines the immaculate view, there is no one who teaches and nothing whatsoever being taught. Ānanda, this Dharma gateway is the proper way to reach limitless wisdom. By teaching this Dharma gateway, countless bodhisattvas will develop acceptance in realizing the unborn nature of phenomena, and countless beings will become oriented toward awakening. Ānanda, all those who engender the awakening mind for the first time and orient themselves toward unsurpassed and perfect awakening will, after countless eons, fully awaken to unsurpassed and perfect buddhahood and become free within the state of boundless eloquence.”
The Blessed One then emitted light rays to consecrate this Dharma gateway that teaches the dhāraṇī seal. As these light rays spread throughout the countless world systems, all the beings who inhabit those worlds heard this Dharma exposition that teaches the dhāraṇī seal. Upon hearing it, they developed the factors conducive to awakening, [F.99.b] and those beings living in these countless world systems gave rise to the mind set on unsurpassed and perfect awakening.
At that moment, all beings were overjoyed. A shower of divine flowers rained down, and all the bodhisattvas present in the assembly exclaimed, “May all beings achieve the wisdom of buddhahood!”
The Blessed One replied, “Anantapratibhāna, remember it as The Teaching on the King of Dhāraṇīs, The Boundless Eloquence, The Purification of the Dhāraṇī Seal, and The Expertise in Gathering the Three Collections. Anantapratibhāna, this is the Dharma gateway for expertise in the collection of all topics. This Dharma gateway illuminates all phenomena and eliminates all the bodhisattvas’ doubts. It is my instruction.”
At that moment, the entire assembly scattered flowers of five colors over the Blessed One. When the Blessed One had spoken, the bodhisattvas, the entirety of the audience that was present, and the world with all its gods, gandharvas, humans, and asuras rejoiced and praised the Blessed One’s words.
This concludes the chapter called “The Teaching on the Purification of Boundless Gateways.” It is the second chapter within the one hundred thousand sections in the Dharma discourse known as The Noble Great Heap of Jewels.
|S||Stok Palace Manuscript|
’phags pa sgo mtha’ yas pa rnam par sbyong ba bstan pa’i le’u zhes bya ba theg pa chen po’i mdo (Āryānantamukhapariśodhananirdeśaparivartanāmamahāyānasūtra). Toh 46, Degé Kangyur, vol. 39 (dkon brtsegs, ka), folios 45.b–99.b.
’phags pa sgo mtha’ yas pa rnam par sbyong ba bstan pa’i le’u zhes bya ba theg pa chen po’i mdo. bka’ ’gyur (dpe bsdur ma) [Comparative Edition of the Kangyur], krung go’i bod rig pa zhib ’jug ste gnas kyi bka’ bstan dpe sdur khang (The Tibetan Tripitaka Collation Bureau of the China Tibetology Research Center). 108 volumes. Beijing: krung go’i bod rig pa dpe skrun khang (China Tibetology Publishing House), 2006–2009, vol. 39, pp. 129–258.
Denkarma (pho brang stod thang ldan [/ lhan] dkar gyi chos ’gyur ro cog gi dkar chag). Degé Tengyur, vol. 206 (sna tshogs, jo), folios 294.b - 310.a.
Herrmann-Pfandt, Adelheid. Die lHan kar ma: ein früher Katalog der ins Tibetische übersetzten buddhistischen Texte. Wien: Verlag der österreichischen Akademie der Wissenschaften, 2008.
Lamotte, Étienne. “The Treatise on the Great Virtue of Wisdom of Nāgārjuna (Mahāprajñāpāramitāśāstra).” Vol. III. Translated from the French (Le traité de la grande vertu de sagesse de Nāgārjuna (Mahāprajñāpāramitāśāstra)) by Gelongma Karma Migme Chodron. Unpublished manuscript, 2001.
- mi ’khrugs pa
A buddha who dwells in a celestial realm in the East.
- tshe dpag med
Name of a buddha.
- kun dga’ bo
Buddha Śākyamuni’s cousin, who was his attendant for the last twenty years of his life.
- spobs pa mtha’ yas
Name of a bodhisattva.
- bkod pa mtha’ yas pa
Name of a bodhisattva, the main recipient and interlocutor of the Anantamukhapariśodhananirdeśa Sūtra.
- ma dros pa
The name of a serpent king who dwells in the legendary Lake Manasarovar.
- lha ma yin
The traditional adversaries of the devas (gods) who are frequently portrayed in the Brahmanical mythology as having a disruptive effect on cosmological and social harmony.
- ’od ma’i tshal
The famous bamboo grove near Rājagṛha where the Buddha regularly stayed and gave teachings. It was situated on land donated by King Bimbisāra of Magadha and was the first of several landholdings donated to the Buddhist community during the time of the Buddha.
- bcom ldan ’das
An epithet of a buddha, used in this text to refer to the Buddha Śākyamuni.
- tshangs pa
Lord of the Sahā world, regarded by Buddhists as occupying a high position in cyclic existence, with a very long life and a great deal of power
Branches of awakening
- byang chub kyi yan lag
In this text, this set of factors is said to include discipline, insight, absorption, liberation, the vision of liberated wisdom, the perfection of generosity, the perfection of discipline, the perfection of patience, the perfection of diligence, the perfection of concentration, and the perfection of insight. However, usually they are listed as seven, namely remembrance, discrimination between teachings, diligence, joy, pliancy or serenity, absorption, and equanimity; these form a part of the thirty-seven factors of awakening.
- ded dpon
A leading merchant or leader of a merchant caravan; this epithet is often used for the Buddha in his capacity as an eminent leader, guide, and protector. It evokes the traditionally close ties between Buddhist and mercantile communities in South and Central Asia.
- so sor yang dag par rig pa
The modes of knowledge attained on the ninth bodhisattva level. There are four such modes: the comprehensive knowledge of phenomena (dharma; chos), of meaning (artha; don), of language or etymology (nirukti; nges pa’i tshig), and eloquence (pratibhāna; spobs pa).
- ’du shes
- rnam grangs su
Used adverbially, this term indicates that a given teaching has been skillfully adapted by the Buddha for the audience and therefore is not to be taken literally or definitively.
- gtsug tor
One of the physical marks of a buddha that takes the form of a protuberance on the crown of his head.
Deeds with immediate result
- mtshams med pa
Five actions considered so heinous that they result in immediate rebirth in the hell realms. They include killing one’s mother, killing one’s father, killing an arhat, harming a buddha, and creating a schism in the saṅgha.
- nges pa’i tshig
Demon of afflictions
- nyon mongs pa’i bdud
The aspect of Māra associated with the power of the afflictive emotions to obstruct awakening.
Demon of the aggregates
- phung po’i bdud
The aspect of Māra associated with the power of the five aggregates to obstruct awakening.
Demon of the divine son
- lha’i bu’i bdud
The form of Māra who assaulted the Buddha prior to his awakening.
Demon of the lord of death
- ’chi bdag gi bdud
The aspect of Māra that is death itself.
- ’dod khams
One of the three realms of saṃsāra, it is comprised of the traditional six realms of saṃsāra, from the hell realm to the realm of the gods, including the human realm. Rebirth in this realm is characterized by intense cravings via the five senses and their objects.
A statement or spell meant to protect or bring about a particular result. See also i.3.
- yul ’khor srung
One of the four great kings, the protectors of the world; guardian of the east.
- rgyal mtshan tog
Name of a rākṣasī and Dharma protector; in this text a guardian of the eastern direction.
- mdo sde
Usually refers to a discourse by the Buddha, sometimes to just a few sentences by the Buddha, or sometimes, when not referring to the words of the Buddha, any concise doctrinal statement.
Eighteen unshared qualities of a buddha
- sangs rgyas kyo chos ma ’dres pa bco brgyad
The list of eighteen unshared qualities in the Anantamukhapariśodhananirdeśa varies slightly from other canonical lists. Elsewhere, the first quality is that the buddhas are “consistent in their actions.” The list in the Anantamukhapariśodhananirdeśa also includes an additional member at position thirteen: “their liberated wisdom vision never wanes.” The eighteen are generally given as: (1) their actions are consistent; (2) their speech is not jarring; (3) they are not forgetful; (4) their state of cessation is not a state of indifference; (5) their perception is not discursive; (6) their minds are always composed; (7) their diligence never wanes; (8) their recollection never wanes; (9) their effort never wanes; (10) their meditative absorption never wanes; (11) their insight never wanes; (12) their liberation never wanes; (13) their physical actions are guided by wisdom and are in alignment with wisdom; (14) their verbal actions are guided by wisdom and are in alignment with wisdom; (15) their mental actions are guided by wisdom and are in alignment with wisdom; (16) their wisdom vision is unobstructed and unaffected by the past; (17) their wisdom vision is unobstructed and unaffected by the future; and (18) their wisdom vision is unobstructed and unaffected by the present.
- spobs pa
Inspiration and courage that particularly manifest in endowing one with brilliant abilities in oration.
- btang snyoms
- nges pa’i tshig
Expanse of phenomena
- chos kyi dbyings
Varyingly, “the sphere of phenomena,” “the base of phenomena,” “the ore of phenomena”—a synonym for the nature of things.
Factors of awakening
- byang chub kyi phyogs kyi chos
Thirty-seven practices that lead the practitioner to the awakened state: the four applications of mindfulness, the four correct exertions, the four bases of supernatural power, the five masteries, the five powers, the eightfold path, and the seven branches of awakening.
- mi ’jigs pa
One of four unique types of confidence a buddha possesses, which are enumerated in a variety of ways.
- mtshan ma
A polyvalent term, it generally refers to the characteristic features of an object or image. Nimitta can refer to features of an object that attract the mind’s attention, engage with it more deeply, and develop emotional responses to it. Such marks or features are often considered to be ultimately false and deceptive. In a more positive sense nimitta can refer to the focus of meditation practice. The term applies to both external objects and visualized images that are used to deepen meditative concentration and absorption. Also translated here as “sign” and “mark.”
- kun tu sbyor ba
A set of ten concepts and emotional reactions that perpetuate one’s continued rebirth in saṃsāra: false attribution of a self based in relation to the aggregates (satkāyadṛṣṭi; ’jig tshogs la lta ba), doubt (vicikitsā; the tshom), privileging rituals and observances (śīlavrataparāmarśa; tshul khrims dang brtul zhugs mchog tu ’dzin pa), craving sense pleasures (kāmarāga; ’dod pa la ’dod chags), malice (vyāpāda; gnod sems), craving rebirth in the realm of subtle form (rūparāga; gzugs la chags pa), craving rebirth in the realm of the immaterial (arūpyarāga; gzugs med pa’i ’dod chags), pride (māna; nga rgyal), mental agitation (auddhatya; rgod pa), and ignorance (avidyā; ma rig pa).
- gzugs med khams
The highest of the three realms within saṃsāra, beings in the formless realm are no longer bound to even the most subtle materiality.
Foundations of miraculous power
- rdzu ’phrul gyi rkang pa
Four types of absorption related respectively to intention, diligence, attention, and analysis.
Four great kings
- rgyal po chen po bzhi
The powerful non-human guardian kings of the four quarters of this universe—Virūḍhaka, Virūpākṣa, Dhṛtarāṣṭra, and Vaiśravaṇa or Kubera, as he is called in this text—who rule, respectively, over kumbhāṇḍas in the south, nāgas in the west, gandharvas in the east, and yakṣas in the north.
- nam mkha’ lding
A class of divine creatures with the bodies of giant birds.