Degé Kangyur, vol. 43 (dkon brtsegs, ca), folios 131.b–153.b.
Translated by the Blazing Wisdom Translation Group
under the patronage and supervision of 84000: Translating the Words of the Buddha
Inspiring Determination is directed at reforming the conduct of sixty bodhisattvas who have lost their sense of purpose and confidence in their ability to practice the Dharma. The bodhisattva Maitreya leads them to seek counsel from the Buddha, who explains the causes these bodhisattvas created in former lives that resulted in their current circumstance. They make a commitment to change their ways, which pleases the Buddha, and this leads him to engage in a dialog with the bodhisattva Maitreya on how bodhisattvas, including those in the future age of final degeneration, the final half-millennium, should avoid faults and uphold conduct that accords with the Dharma.
This translation was completed by the Blazing Wisdom Translation Group, Tulku Sherdor and Virginia Blum, under the guidance of Khenpo Sonam Tobgyal, with editorial assistance from Hans Schmidt, research of Chinese canonical indices by Geok Hui Loo, and final editing and review by the 84000 editorial team.
The translation was completed under the patronage and supervision of 84000: Translating the Words of the Buddha.
Inspiring Determination appears in the Heap of Jewels (Skt. Ratnakūṭa; Tib. dkon brtsegs) section of the Kangyur. The sūtra opens with the bodhisattva Maitreya observing a group of sixty among the five hundred bodhisattvas who have gathered around the Buddha in the Deer Park on the outskirts of Vārāṇasī. These sixty bodhisattvas have strayed from the bodhisattva path. Rather than studying and practicing in solitude, they have become distracted by worldly concerns and have stopped applying themselves to the Dharma. Seeking to help them restore their commitments, Maitreya invites them to approach the Buddha, confess their faults, and request his guidance. The bodhisattvas then reveal and confess to the Buddha their failings and their doubts about being able to live up to the bodhisattva ideal.
The Buddha explains the causes and conditions they created in a former lifetime that have led to their current predicament. Specifically, during the previous period of the Buddha Krakucchanda, these bodhisattvas denigrated and slandered two monks, creating schisms and doubts in the Saṅgha and the wider community. Many lifetimes of painful ripening of this negative karma ensued.
The Buddha further prophesies, however, that although the bodhisattvas’ negative karma will continue to ripen in subsequent lives, once it is finally exhausted, during a period in which the Dharma is declining, they will attain rebirth in the realm of the Buddha Amitābha. Hearing this, the bodhisattvas are newly inspired and resolve not to repeat their mistakes. Maitreya asks the Buddha whether they will abide by their renewed commitment, and he confirms that they will.
This is followed by a lengthy series of enumerations by the Buddha, in response to inquiries by Maitreya, concerning the negative consequences of each fault of conduct in which the sixty bodhisattvas had engaged, as well as the advantages of refraining from each one. In several instances, these lists are presented first in prose form and then repeated in verse as an aide-memoire. Maitreya’s questions also prompt the Buddha to caution about the future degeneration of the Dharma, when it will be corrupted by the materialistic interests of teachers. He describes the pitfalls of teaching the Dharma without ridding oneself of attachment to personal gain and honor.
The Buddha’s countervailing instruction is to refrain from judging the veracity or quality of a Dharma teaching by the character or motivation of the teacher who offers it. Śāntideva (late seventh to mid-eighth century) emphasizes this point in his Śikṣāsamuccaya, citing this sūtra at length1 to assert that a genuine follower of the Buddha must refrain from judging the conduct of fellow practitioners of the Bodhisattva Vehicle; instead, one must focus on detecting and correcting one’s own faults. The Buddha later advises Maitreya that what marks someone as a follower of his teachings, and as an ordained member of his community, is not the formality of vows or the semblance of piety, but rather one’s cultivation of the qualities of the path, including renunciation, concentration, restrained speech, and the pursuit of wisdom.2
An important corollary teaching imparted by the Buddha in this sūtra is how to determine whether a teaching qualifies as authentic Dharma. His rule, also quoted and discussed by Śāntideva, is that everything that is well spoken is the speech of the Buddha, no matter what it is or by whom it is offered.3 Moreover, to qualify as well spoken, an instruction must be meaningful, consistent with the Dharma, and designed to reduce mental defilements, and it must laud the qualities of nirvāṇa as opposed to saṃsāra. This sūtra appears to be the locus classicus for this doctrine in the Mahāyāna tradition.4
The sūtra concludes on a positive note, with the Buddha outlining the ten positive attitudes that lead to rebirth in the realm of the Buddha Amitāyus, which is another name for the Buddha Amitābha. This serves as a valediction to his earlier prophecy of the future rebirth in Amitāyus’ realm of the sixty bodhisattvas whose confessions and renewed commitments prompted this teaching. In this way, Inspiring Determination fulfills its intention and serves as a set of guidelines and an exhortation for aspiring bodhisattvas to follow suit.
Many sūtras in the Kangyur mention the obstacles and difficulties practitioners may encounter, often in the context of the degenerate future times when the Dharma will be in decline. Few, however, relate in such detail the lapsed conduct of bodhisattvas or explain so precisely its consequences and cures. One sūtra on a similar theme that does share these features is Not Forsaking the Buddha (Buddhākṣepaṇa, Toh 276).5
While there is no known extant version of this sūtra in Sanskrit, as noted earlier, a number of lengthy quotations from and other references to it are found in the surviving Sanskrit version of Śāntideva’s eighth-century work, the Śikṣāsamuccaya.6 Two separate classical Chinese versions of this sūtra are found in the Taishō Tripitaka. One version7 is included in Bodhiruci’s translation from Sanskrit of the Heap of Jewels section, completed during the early part of the eighth century ᴄᴇ (Tang Dynasty). The other8 is an earlier work translated by Jñānagupta during the sixth century ᴄᴇ (Sui Dynasty).
In producing this translation, we have based our work on the Degé xylograph, while consulting the Comparative Edition (Tib. dpe bsdur ma) and the Stok Palace manuscript. We also have made occasional use of Bodhiruci’s Chinese translation for issues of terminology. The colophon of the sūtra states that it was translated by the Indian preceptors Jinamitra and Surendrabodhi, together with the translator and editor Bandé Yeshé Dé. Consequently, we can date the Tibetan translation to the late eighth to early ninth century, a date further evidenced by the text’s inclusion in the early ninth-century Denkarma (Tib. ldan dkar ma) catalog.9
Homage to all buddhas and bodhisattvas!
Thus did I hear at one time. The Blessed One was residing at Vārāṇasī, in the Deer Park by the Hill of Fallen Sages, accompanied by a great congregation of one thousand monks and five hundred bodhisattvas, most of whom had ripened their roots of virtue and cleared away their obscurations of karma.
At that time, some of the bodhisattvas there continued to enjoy social diversions, liked to sleep, liked to work, liked to talk, and liked deceit; they were soiled with stains, improper, indolent, and lazy. They had poor diligence and had stopped applying themselves. The bodhisattva great being Maitreya noticed those bodhisattvas conducting themselves in these unvirtuous ways.
The bodhisattva great being Maitreya then thought to himself, “Alas, these bodhisattvas have slackened in their efforts to perfect the branches of awakening. Therefore, I must rouse these bodhisattvas; I must remind them—that is for certain!”
Accordingly, in the afternoon, the bodhisattva great being Maitreya arose from his inner absorption and proceeded to where those bodhisattvas were staying. When he arrived, the bodhisattva great being [F.132.a] exchanged greetings with them with sincere joy and delight, and then asked those bodhisattvas, “Tell me, children of noble lineage, are you improving yourselves through the practice of virtue, or have you perhaps been negligent?”
They answered, “Venerable Maitreya, we have neglected and not increased our practice of virtue. Our minds are ensnared by doubt, as we wonder whether we can become thus-gone ones. Our minds are further ensnared by regret, as we worry that we might fall into lower realms; and so, we have no enthusiasm left for virtuous practice.”
The bodhisattva great being Maitreya then said to those bodhisattvas, “Children of noble lineage, come this way.11 Let us proceed to where the blessed, thus-gone, worthy, and perfect Buddha Śākyamuni is residing. Why? Because the Blessed One is omniscient and all-seeing, possesses unobscured wisdom, and is wise in the ways of all beings; and so, he will teach you the Dharma in a way that is well suited to your level of experience.”
Then those sixty bodhisattvas, together with the bodhisattva great being Maitreya, went to where the Blessed One was residing. They assembled before him and offered homage with their heads at his feet. They cried and offered homage to the Blessed One with their four limbs and heads, over and over again, with tears streaming down their faces, and without raising their heads. The bodhisattva great being Maitreya, too, prostrated with his head at the feet of the Blessed One, [F.132.b] circumambulated him three times, and then sat off to one side.
The Blessed One then told the bodhisattvas, “Children of noble lineage, stop crying and moaning, and stand up! Without regard for the ripening of karma, you joyfully harmed and abused others, taking delight and pleasure in doing so. Through creating obscurations of karma in that way, you are now obscured and hampered. Being overcome and ensnared, you are unable to exert yourselves.”
Then those sixty bodhisattvas, hanging their shawls over one shoulder, knelt with their right knees on the ground, joined their palms together respectfully toward the Blessed One, and petitioned him with these words: “Learning this, our minds reverse course; and so, we beg of the Blessed One to explain well to us our obscurations of karma, so that we can refrain from further compounding them hereafter.”
In response to this request, the Blessed One said the following to those sixty individuals of the Bodhisattva Vehicle: “Children of noble lineage, long ago, in the distant past, during the doctrinal period of the Thus-Gone One Krakucchanda, you took ordination. Thus established, you became intoxicated with conceit about your discipline, drunk with vanity about your learning, and strongly attached to your ascetic practices and your lack of possessions. Consequently, you became jealous and resentful of two monks who were preaching the Dharma, due to the offerings and respect they received, the households12 of their friends and relatives, and the households of their patrons, and so you directed accusations of lewd conduct at them. This created a schism dividing those two Dharma-teaching monks from the households of their friends and relatives and the households of their patrons, who became skeptical and lost their faith [F.133.a] in the two monks. By leveling these and many further insults at those two Dharma-teaching monks, you obscured and cut off at the root the virtues of those other beings.
“Due to that nonvirtuous obscuration of karma, you were reborn in the major hell Incessant Torment for sixty thousand years. For forty thousand years, you were reborn in the major hell Reviving. For twenty thousand years, you were reborn in the major hell Black Lines. For eight thousand years, you were reborn in the major hell of Heat. Afterward, once you died and passed from that realm, you managed to obtain human rebirths, but for five hundred consecutive lifetimes you had no eyes, and so were blind. Through the shrouding effect of your obscurations of karma, no matter where you were reborn, in all those lifetimes you were dimwitted and absent-minded. You were shrouded by your obscurations rooted in unvirtuous acts and were entirely hapless. You were oppressed by ugly flaws and frequently reviled, cursed, and ridiculed. You were reborn in bad lands, bad regions, and bad countries, into bad and impoverished families; you had meager means and little respect, and you were ostracized and unsupported.
“When you have died and passed from this life, during the final half-millennium, at the time when the sacred Dharma is fading, you will be reborn solely in bad lands, into low-caste families and poverty. You will be reviled and feeble-minded, and you will abandon the roots of virtue. Even when you apply yourselves, obstacles will arise; and although moments of clarity will dawn, they will subsequently fade away.
“During the final half-millennium, all your obscurations of karma will finally be exhausted. With their exhaustion, next you will be reborn in Sukhāvatī, the buddha realm of the Thus-Gone One Amitābha. The Thus-Gone One Amitābha also will prophesy your unsurpassed and perfect awakening.”
The sad and distraught minds of those sixty children of noble lineage who belonged to the Bodhisattva Vehicle [F.133.b] then turned perfectly joyous. Wiping the tears from their faces, and with their bodily hairs standing on end, they petitioned the Blessed One as follows:
“Blessed One, from today onward, if we should speak of the failings, no matter whether they are many or few,13 of individuals belonging to the Bodhisattva Vehicle, then we will have betrayed the thus-gone, worthy, and perfect Buddha.
“Blessed One, from today onward, if we see individuals who belong to the Bodhisattva Vehicle, whether they are lay or ordained, amusing themselves with and enjoying the five sense pleasures, and this makes us lose faith, such that we become disrespectful or unable to perceive them as teachers, then we will have betrayed the Thus-Gone One.
“Blessed One, from today onward, if we physically or mentally harm individuals belonging to the Bodhisattva Vehicle on account of the households of their friends and relatives or the households of their patrons, [F.134.a] then we will have betrayed the Thus-Gone One.
“Blessed One, from today onward, if we fail to pay homage to individuals belonging to the Bodhisattva Vehicle three times during the day and three times at night, then we will have betrayed the Thus-Gone One.
“Blessed One, from today onward, if we are unwilling to sacrifice a kingdom or a fortune, or to risk life and limb, for the sake of this disciplined conduct to which we have committed, then we will have betrayed the Thus-Gone One.
“Blessed One, from today onward, if we demean individuals belonging to the Hearer or Solitary Buddha Vehicles, thinking, ‘We most assuredly are not like them!’ then we will have betrayed the Thus-Gone One.
“Blessed One, from today onward, if we are at risk of becoming involved in conflict and dispute and we do not immediately distance ourselves from it15 by a mile or a hundred miles, then we will have betrayed the Thus-Gone One.
“Blessed One, from today onward, if we claim to have good discipline, or refer to ourselves as well educated or well trained, or as having any good qualities at all, then we will have betrayed the Thus-Gone One. [F.134.b]
“Blessed One, from today onward, if we do not refrain from boasting of our virtues and concealing our faults, then we will have betrayed the thus-gone, worthy, and perfect Buddha.”
Then the Blessed One congratulated those individuals belonging to the Bodhisattva Vehicle, saying, “Well said! Well said, children of noble lineage! Well said! You have spoken well! This commitment is well made. If you abide by this commitment, your obscurations of karma will be purified, and you likewise will acquire pure roots of virtue.”
At that point the Blessed One addressed the bodhisattva great being Maitreya: “Maitreya, sons or daughters of noble lineage who wish to purify their obscurations of karma should make just the type of commitment these children of noble lineage have made.”
“Maitreya, these children of noble lineage will never abandon their commitment, even at the cost of life and limb.”
Then the bodhisattva great being Maitreya asked the Blessed One, “Blessed One, during the final half-millennium, when the sacred Dharma is perishing, if an individual who belongs to the Bodhisattva Vehicle possesses certain qualities, will that person then be spared harm and injury,16 and readily attain liberation?”
The Blessed One responded to the question posed by the bodhisattva great being Maitreya in this way: “Maitreya, if an individual who belongs to the Bodhisattva [F.135.a] Vehicle possesses four qualities, then during the final half-millennium, when the sacred Dharma is perishing, that person will be spared harm and injury, and will be liberated without difficulty. What are the four? (1) Recognizing one’s own mistakes, (2) not discussing the faults of others who belong to the Bodhisattva Vehicle, (3) paying no attention to the households of friends and relatives and the households of patrons, and (4) abandoning unpleasant speech. Maitreya,17 if an individual who belongs to the Bodhisattva Vehicle possesses those four qualities, then during the final half-millennium, when the sacred Dharma is perishing, that person will be spared harm and injury, and will be liberated without difficulty.
“Moreover, Maitreya, if someone who belongs to the Bodhisattva Vehicle possesses another four qualities, then during the final half-millennium, when the sacred Dharma is perishing, that person will be spared harm and injury, and will be liberated without difficulty. What are these other four? (1) Avoiding beings who are of little learning, (2) not collecting followers, (3) taking shelter in sparsely inhabited places, and (4) diligently training oneself to be disciplined and peaceful and to remain tranquil.
“Maitreya, if someone who belongs to the Bodhisattva Vehicle possesses these other four qualities, then during the final half-millennium, when the sacred Dharma is perishing, that person will be spared harm and injury, and will be liberated without difficulty.
“Maitreya, because sons or daughters of noble lineage who belong to the Bodhisattva Vehicle will want to be spared harm and injury, be liberated without difficulty, and exhaust entirely their obscurations of karma during the final half-millennium when the sacred Dharma is perishing, they should (1) dislike social diversions, (2) stay in the wilderness, in forests, and in sparsely inhabited places, (3) avoid beings who lack noble lineage or diligence, (4) reflect on their own mistakes and not look for mistakes in others, (5) enjoy silence, and, (6) through the perfection of insight, enjoy being at rest. [F.135.b]
“If the wish to converse with others ever arises within them, then they should offer them the gift of Dharma while remaining free of materialistic interest.
“Maitreya, giving the gift of Dharma without materialistic interest, without the desire for offerings or respect, confers twenty benefits. These twenty are as follows:
“One will (1) have mindfulness, (2) have intelligence, (3) be judicious, (4) gain stability, (5) possess insight, (6) realize supermundane insight, (7) have less desire, (8) have less anger, (9) have less delusion, (10) become invulnerable to māras, (11) come to the attention of the blessed buddhas, (12) be guarded by nonhuman spirits, (13) be favored with splendor by the gods, (14) become invincible to enemies, and (15) not be separated from friends and relatives; (16) one’s word will be sacrosanct; (17) one will become fearless; (18) one’s mind will grow happier; (19) one will be honored by the wise; and (20) one’s offerings of the Dharma will become worthy of commemoration as well.
“And so, Maitreya, these twenty are the benefits that accrue when one offers the Dharma free of materialistic interest, having rejected all interest in gain or respect, and without hoping to get food or clothing, simply motivated by an altruistic intent to offer the gift of Dharma continually and repeatedly.
“Maitreya, offering the Dharma with an attitude that is free of materialistic interest has another twenty benefits. What are these twenty?
“(1) Intellectual prowess will be born in one formerly without it; [F.136.a] (2) that prowess, once born, will not be lost; (3) one will possess the integrity necessary to gain the power of retention; (4) one will accomplish the aims of many beings with little difficulty; (5) one will become respectfully venerated by beings with little difficulty; (6) one will achieve physical restraint; (7) one will achieve verbal restraint; (8) one will achieve mental restraint; (9) one will pass beyond the fear of inferior rebirth; (10) one will make death an occasion for great joy; (11) one will defeat all challengers in a manner consistent with the Dharma; (12) even beings of high status will be overwhelmed by one’s majesty, let alone common folk; (13) one’s faculties will become unassailable; (14) one will adhere to the highest and finest intentions; (15) one will gain tranquility and special insight; (16) one will bring rigorous training to perfection; (17) one’s diligence will become unrelenting; (18) one will protect the sacred Dharma at all times; (19) one will quickly arrive at the level of a non-returner; and (20) one will be in harmony with all the conduct of bodhisattvas.
“Maitreya, these twenty are additional benefits that derive from offering the Dharma with an attitude free of materialistic interest.
“Maitreya, in the future, Dharma offered with materialistic interest by those who belong to the Bodhisattva Vehicle will be highly appreciated, whereas Dharma offered without materialistic interest will not. Those with faulty discernment will rely on such teachers!
“For their part, those teachers will depend upon the households of friends and relatives and the households of patrons and will offer them the gift of Dharma in a manner that is calculated to elicit their trust and respect. Dispensing with offering the Dharma while free of materialistic interest, they will teach the Dharma to others for the sake of clothing, food, bedding, cushions, curative medicines, [F.136.b] and other useful items.
“Maitreya, it is like this. If, for instance, some person had hunks of putrid, rotting flesh hung around his neck, whether from the corpse of a dog, a human, or a monkey, he would wish to clean himself. And so, with embarrassment and revulsion, he would seek to rid himself of them. In the same way, those future teachers will be embarrassed and appalled by the prospect of offering the Dharma without obtaining material benefit. Once they realize there is nothing to be gained,18 they will be disappointed, refuse to teach, and leave.
“Wondering, ‘Why are they not giving us any food or clothing?’ and saying, ‘There is no reason for us to offer the Dharma; we really would rather not be stuck here for no reason,’ they will proceed to gather students for the sake of further adorning themselves, and not for the sake of attracting more and more beings to the Dharma. They will claim, ‘We gather followers only out of love, and so we have no need at all for them to serve and respect us. Because of our altruistic principles, in order to bring beings to maturity, we spend all our time visiting villages, towns, cities, states, and royal palaces’; and so they will promote themselves to many people. What they have in mind, however, is to go searching for food and clothing.
“Maitreya, now, I would not speak of a desirous mind bringing beings to maturity. Why not? Because, if one has not even matured oneself—a state that is not so easy to attain—then bringing other beings to maturity is out of the question.
“Maitreya, I would not call preoccupation with being served, and contamination from the pleasures of being physically served, helpfulness. Why not? Because, if one gathers followers in order to be made physically comfortable by their service, one is not concerned with whether they are practicing earnestly.
“I would not call longing for beautiful clothes wearing robes made of discarded rags. I would not say that one who mixes lay with monastic life lacks entanglement. I would not call a charlatan the manifestation of a buddha. I would not say that looking for faults in others is being diligent in one’s practice.
“I would not say that continually losing your temper is compiling pure discipline. I would not call a prideful person learned. I would not call someone who holds a bias an upholder of the Vinaya. I would not call an intemperate person a Dharma teacher. I would not call socializing with laypeople discharging one’s administrative duties purely.
“I would not call selecting patrons being free from material needs. I would not call hoping for reciprocal benefit a method of attraction. I would not call desire for reward and respect pure motivation.
“I would not call having more and more doubt taking ordination. I would not say that being a contrarian is pursuing one’s training.
“I would not call showing disrespect offering the Dharma. I would not call being obsessed with worldly spells delighting in the Dharma. I would not call applying no effort toward realizing emptiness, emancipation.
“I would not say that failing to practice is performing one’s duties. Nor would I say that one who does not practice is perfecting the branches of awakening.
“I would not call a conceptual point of reference true realization. I would not call powerlessness the perfection of patience. I would not say that those who never have been tested wear the armor of the power of patience.
“Conversely, I would not say that one with pure motivation is falling into the lower realms. I would not call acting with insight reckless conduct. I would not call someone who possesses skill a fraud.
“I would not call someone who lacks desire for gain or respect an inveterate liar. I would not call maintaining neutrality rejecting the Dharma. I would not call wanting to protect the sacred Dharma at all costs attachment to life and limb. I would not call being timid having no pride.
Then the bodhisattva great being Maitreya asked the Blessed One, “Blessed One,20 will these sixty bodhisattvas be obscured by short-lived obscurations of karma, or will they be obscured in some other fashion?”
The Blessed One responded to the bodhisattva Maitreya, “Maitreya, in the final half-millennium, most bodhisattvas will be obscured by obscurations of karma. Some of those bodhisattvas will exhaust their obscurations of karma. Some will increase them.
“Maitreya, furthermore, among these particular sixty bodhisattvas, there are twenty bodhisattvas who have only minor obscurations of karma, or slight obscurations of karma, and these will take rebirth during the final half-millennium in different villages and towns and in a variety of castes, where they will be learned, circumspect, upright, wise, and skillful. They will be broad-minded, richly beneficial to others, [F.138.a] very compassionate, and handsome and lovely to behold. They will not put their virtues on display, will hide their qualities, and will be stable in their conduct. Taking ordination out of these various castes, they will train toward unsurpassed and perfect awakening over uncountable eons, and they will preserve and uphold this ordination, even risking life and limb, as they dwell in wildernesses, jungles, and sparsely populated places, without interest in gain or respect. They will always be diligent, superbly diligent, skillful in relating to the ways of beings, expert in secret mantra and scholarly treatises, very quick learners, expert in special insight, and of flawless acumen.
“Having acquired unfailing retention, through the power and blessings of the buddhas they will teach the Dharma to the four retinues and will be well versed in all the classes of teaching by the Thus-Gone One, namely, sūtras, verse narrations, prophecies, poetic verses, aphorisms, ethical narrations, narrative discourses, parables, past-life stories, extensive sayings, marvels, and resolutions.
“At that time, those twenty highly skilled bodhisattvas will be authorized masters and authorized scholars of the Dharma, such that when they assert, ‘I have absorbed this Dharma discourse from the master So-and-So and from the scholar So-and-So,’ those holy persons will never have cause to be troubled.
“At that time, there also will appear certain unskillful bodhisattvas who will be conceited about their own virtues and, being complacent and haughty,21 will have no regard for those twenty. They will seek to promote themselves, and so will not uphold the sacred [F.138.b] Dharma.
“They will even castigate them, saying, ‘The Dharma you have taught is the product of your own cleverness, not what the Thus-Gone One taught. This Dharma is just your own spurious creation. Since the Dharma that you teach is merely fabricated on your own authority, your teaching should be neither respected nor revered.’ This will cause many beings to reject their Dharma discourses, and because of such remarks, many will lose interest in the Dharma.
“They will go even further, saying, ‘Those monks are engaged in the material pursuit of donations, rather than in teaching the Dharma found in the sūtras and the vinaya. This is not the proper Dharma, so do not show reverence toward it!’
“Those with poor discernment simply will not understand that whatever qualifies as a well-spoken statement—no matter what it is—is the word of the Buddha.22 Because they are under the spell of Māra, they will reject the Dharma of those Dharma-holding monks, and so will accumulate the karma of abandoning the Dharma. Through accumulating the karma of abandoning the Dharma, they will fall into lower realms.
“Maitreya, in light of that, bodhisattvas who wish to safeguard the sacred Dharma must become skilled in method. No matter what, they must be very careful not to provoke feelings of hostility in those who have differing dispositions.”
The bodhisattva great being Maitreya then said to the Blessed One, “Blessed One, in that way, during the final half-millennium, when the sacred Dharma is perishing, such bodhisattvas with weak sensibility will come to the fore. Though ostensibly pursuing virtuosity, at the same time they will take no interest in those who actually possess it; and while they seek as well the power of retention, they will nonetheless denigrate the Dharma of monks who do retain the Dharma. Incredible, isn’t it? [F.139.a]
“Blessed One, to offer an analogy, it is as though a person goes out searching for water from a spring, a well, or a lake, and when he gets there, he defecates in it, after which he thinks to draw the water out.
“When the foul odor of the water reaches his nose, it doesn’t occur to him that the smell is his own fault, as he exclaims, ‘Oh my, this water stinks!’ Instead, he blames the water for being bad.
“Blessed One, in this analogy, where, through the power of the Buddha, there are Dharma-teaching monks who have confident command over the system of Dharma teachings, they are like the spring, the well, or the lake. Blessed One, those bodhisattvas who will come to the fore in the final half-millennium are just like people of childish nature who defecate into the springs, wells, or lakes, and then when they seek to draw water out, find fault with that water; similarly, having faulty discernment, they will discredit those who teach the Dharma and discredit even the Dharma itself. And although they are the ones who have discredited it, they will still believe that they are seeking the taste of the Dharma. And without comprehending their own error, with a faulty sense of hearing, they will criticize and show contempt for those Dharma-holding monks, saying, ‘Look at how these monks teaching the Dharma are betrayed by their many faults!’ They will revile the taste of the Dharma conveyed by those Dharma-teaching monks and look for its mistakes, dismiss it with distaste, and turn their backs on it.”
The Blessed One then commended the bodhisattva great being Maitreya, saying, “Splendid! Wonderful, Maitreya! This example you have explained expresses very well how not to search for mistakes, and how to be free of any faults.
“Maitreya, in addition, one should understand that any discourse that satisfies four conditions is what the Buddha spoke.23 [F.139.b] What are the four? Maitreya, they are (1) when the discourse is meaningful instead of meaningless, (2) when it contains the Dharma as opposed to not containing the Dharma, (3) when it makes defilements decrease and does not make defilements increase, and (4) when it teaches the qualities and benefits of nirvāṇa and does not increase the defects of saṃsāra. Maitreya, one should know that any discourse is what the Buddha spoke when it possesses these four factors.
“Maitreya, no matter whether a discourse endowed with these four factors is offered, or to be offered, by a monk, a nun, or a male or female lay precept-holder, faithful sons or daughters of noble lineage should perceive that person to be the Buddha; perceiving them as the Teacher, they should listen to the sacred Dharma. If you wonder why that is so, Maitreya, it is because everything that is well spoken—no matter what it is—is what the Buddha taught.
“Maitreya, when someone says, ‘This is not what the Buddha taught,’ because they feel hostility toward the speaker, then that person has rejected those four conditions and caused them to be disrespected. That person has thereby rejected all discourses that are the teaching of the Buddha. Having rejected the Dharma, that person accumulates the karma of abandoning the Dharma, and so is destined for the lower realms. Maitreya, since this is the case, faithful sons or daughters of noble family who want to avoid the karma of rejecting the Dharma should never feel hostility toward the Dharma out of hostility for an individual.
“Maitreya, the following four types of discourse are rejected by the buddhas. Maitreya, what are the four? They are (1) when a discourse is meaningless rather than meaningful, (2) when it does not contain the Dharma as opposed to containing the Dharma, [F.140.a] (3) when it makes defilements increase rather than decrease, and (4) when it increases the defects of saṃsāra rather than teaching the qualities and benefits of nirvāṇa. Maitreya, these four types of discourse have been rejected and are not sanctioned by the buddhas.”
Then the bodhisattva great being Maitreya asked the Blessed One, “Blessed One, if it is the case that the buddhas have not approved of discourse that causes saṃsāra to increase, how is it that the Blessed One taught that defilements are good for bodhisattvas, in order for them to perfect the branches of awakening? And how is it that he recommended that they embrace saṃsāra as well? Or else, Blessed One, are such teachings not those of the Buddha after all?”
In response, the Blessed One asked, “Maitreya, what do you think about this? Is there meaning, or is there no meaning, in my teaching that defilements are helpful for bodhisattvas, to aid them in perfecting the branches of awakening, and in my teaching recommending that they embrace saṃsāra?”
He answered, “Since the Blessed One speaks perfectly, if he says that bodhisattvas should appreciate defilements, so that they might perfect the branches of awakening, then it certainly is meaningful, and it certainly contains the Dharma. Consequently, it is undoubtedly the speech of he who speaks perfectly.”
The Blessed One replied, “Maitreya, since that is so, as is the case with the teaching that defilements support bodhisattvas in perfecting the branches of awakening, and the express injunction to embrace saṃsāra, [F.140.b] one must recognize that whatever is well spoken is what the Buddha spoke. Why is that? Maitreya, those matters that are the exclusive province of bodhisattvas with masterful command over the Dharma do not apply to hearers and solitary buddhas. As bodhisattvas will not experience them as defilements, defilements will not harm them.
“Maitreya, although that is so, defilements are not beneficial for others. For them they do not serve the purpose of perfecting the factors of awakening, have no value, and produce not even the slightest trace of virtue. Others must not succumb to the power of those very defilements for which bodhisattvas will risk even life and limb. And why is that? Because, Maitreya, teachings on defilements for bodhisattvas who have attained the power of wisdom are one thing, while teachings for those on levels at which the powers of bodhisattvas have not yet developed are a different matter.”
The bodhisattva great being Maitreya then said to the Blessed One, “As I understand the meaning of what the Blessed One has stated, bodhisattvas who seek not to create further obscurations of karma, who strive to purify their obscurations of karma, and who seek to be liberated easily, without harm or injury, will therefore have to take interest in all bodhisattva conduct in the final half-millennium, and practice it more and more, without reservation. They must not look for faults in others, must embrace all that is beneficial, and must focus on what is most essential.”
The Blessed One replied, “Maitreya, it is just so. Bodhisattvas will have to increase the scope of their bodhisattva conduct, without any reservations. [F.141.a] Why is that? Maitreya, it is because the experience of bodhisattvas who enjoy superior discernment is entirely at odds with the rest of the world.
“As an analogy, Maitreya, while the conduct of stream enterers24 may resemble that of ordinary beings, they are not stained by the faults of ordinary, immature beings. You see, whereas desire, anger, and obliviousness cause childish, ordinary beings to fall into the lower realms, desire, anger, and obliviousness do not cause stream enterers to fall into the lower realms, since they have realized the nature of the transitory assemblage.
“Similarly, Maitreya, since they have not yet eliminated habitual tendencies, bodhisattvas who enjoy superior discernment may yet be caught unaware by desire and aversion, but their situation is quite different from that of childish, ordinary beings. Why is that? Latent tendencies do not thoroughly ensnare or occupy their minds; and so, their situation is not at all comparable to that of ordinary, immature beings, or bodhisattvas who have dim faculties and are not sharp in their renunciation.
“Maitreya, even though some among the faults of bodhisattva great beings who exercise fine discernment may be quite serious, through the power of insight they pulverize them, and so those faults never cause them to fall into lower realms.
“Maitreya, as an analogy, if you add a large bundle of sticks to a raging bonfire, the more you add, the longer and greater the blaze will grow; but they will not extinguish the fire. In just that way, Maitreya, the more fuel of defilements you add to the blazing insight of bodhisattvas who exercise insight, the more the fire of insight will blaze, without ever being extinguished or exhausted.
“Maitreya, since that is the case, from this description it should also be clear to you how the experience of bodhisattvas who enjoy superior discernment is entirely at odds with the rest of the world.” [F.141.b]
The bodhisattva great being Maitreya then asked the Blessed One, “Blessed One, since they leave their homes behind seeking to develop their power of insight, which traits should fledgling bodhisattvas reject? Upon which traits should they rely? By respectively rejecting and relying upon which traits will they generate the power of insight—generate it where it hasn’t been generated before, and further increase the power of insight and prevent it from weakening where it already has been generated?”
The Blessed One replied to this question posed by the bodhisattva great being Maitreya as follows: “Maitreya, fledgling bodhisattvas who leave their homes behind and are developing their powers of insight should reject gain and honor and see the fault in gain and honor. They should give up their enjoyment of social diversions and see the fault in enjoying social diversions.
“They should give up their enjoyment of conversation and see the faults in enjoying conversation. They should no longer like to sleep and see the fault in liking to sleep. They should stop liking activity and see the fault in liking activity. They should stop enjoying excess and see the harm in enjoying excess.
“Giving up gain, honor, and praise, they should meditate on having fewer needs. Through giving up social diversions, they should rely on liking solitude. By abandoning diverting social activity, they should come to rely on perpetually enjoying solitude. Through giving up their enjoyment of conversation, they should continually devote themselves to reflecting on what matters.
“By abandoning their penchant for sleep, they should count on not lying down to rest in either the earlier or the later part of the night. [F.142.a] Giving up their desire for activity, they should devote themselves to loving all beings.
“Maitreya, fledgling bodhisattvas who leave their homes behind and who wish to acquire the power of insight should therefore completely reject those traits that are to be abandoned. They should devote themselves to those qualities upon which they must rely. Why is this so? Maitreya, just as ignorance depends upon conditions, so wisdom depends upon conditions, too. And so, without gathering those conditions, wisdom is not at all easy to acquire.” [B2]
Then the bodhisattva great being Maitreya posed the following question to the Blessed One: “Blessed One, how can a bodhisattva see the drawbacks of gain and honor? What are the notable faults of gain and honor? What are the things bodhisattvas should examine so that they will happily have fewer needs and not feel any yearning?”
He answered, “Maitreya, bodhisattva great beings should examine how gain and honor produce desire. They should examine how gain and honor destroy recollection. They should examine gain and honor to see how one feels haughty or deflated by gaining or failing to gain. They should examine how gain and honor produce delusion.
“They should examine how gain and honor, since they are for one’s personal welfare, make one hoard and become attached to one’s belongings. They should examine how gain and honor produce deceit. They should examine how gain and honor make one shameless and brazen, since one has completely abandoned the four ways of nobility.
“They should examine how none of the buddhas endorsed gain and honor. [F.142.b] They should examine how gain and honor generate pride, arrogance, and vanity. They should examine how gain and honor cause one to disregard one’s gurus. They should examine how gain and honor are on the side of Māra. They should examine how gain and honor are the very roots of carelessness. They should examine how gain and honor rob one of the roots of virtue.
“They should examine how gain and honor are like flashes of lightning, weapon wheels, and lightning strikes. They should examine how gain and honor soil one with many stains. They should examine how, for the sake of gain and honor, one focuses attention on the households of friends and relatives and the households of patrons. They should examine how gain and honor fill one’s mind with discontent. They should examine how gain and honor make one’s thoughts confused.
“They should examine gain and honor to see that, to create something of transient beauty, one generates misery. They should examine how gain and honor cause one to forget the four applications of mindfulness.25 They should examine how gain and honor weaken positive qualities. They should examine how gain and honor cause the four correct exertions to deteriorate.
“They should examine how gain and honor create obstacles for the faith of others. They should examine how gain and honor impair miraculous powers and super-sensory cognition. They should examine gain and honor to see that, while there is respect early on, there is no respect later on. They should examine how gain and honor make one keep disagreeable company. They should examine how gain and honor make one abandon friends.
“They should observe that, since one entices others for gain and honor, one is just like a prostitute. They should examine how one abandons the concentrations and the immeasurables for gain and honor. They should examine how gain and honor catapult beings down into the animal and hell [F.143.a] realms, and into the clutches of the Lord of Death. They should examine how gain and honor are suited to the rituals of Devadatta and Rudraka.
“Maitreya, these are the ways in which bodhisattvas should examine the shortcomings of gain and honor. Having so examined, moreover, they will find it no great deprivation to reduce their needs. Why is that? Maitreya, it is because bodhisattvas with few needs lack these kinds of faults, which therefore pose no obstacles to their buddha qualities and cause no disgrace to laypeople or monastics.
“Because they are present to bring joy to gods and humans, they are worthy of the latter’s protection. They lack any fear of falling into lower realms. Because they are not intimidated, they cannot be bested. Because they have been freed from the hegemony of Māra, they are indomitable. They do not undergo suffering. They are highly appealing to gods and humans.
“Since they sustain deep familiarization with concentration, they are lucid. Since they have rid themselves of deceit and pretense and regard the five sense pleasures as faulty, they are conscientious. Since they belong to the class of noble ones, their words and deeds have integrity. They are accepted by the wise and by those of pure conduct.
“Maitreya, understanding the value of benefits like these, wise bodhisattva great beings entirely reject gain and honor; and so, in order to be rid of all gain and honor, they live with few needs and the highest intentions, and they always rely on needing little.”
Thus spoke the Blessed One; and in response, the bodhisattva great being Maitreya asked him, “Blessed One, how should bodhisattvas identify the faults of liking social diversions? [F.143.b] What are the faults of liking social diversions? What are the things that bodhisattvas should examine, so that they will enjoy the pleasures of solitude, and not become despondent?”
The Blessed One answered, “Maitreya, there are twenty shortcomings to social diversions. They are as follows: (1) You are physically out of control, (2) you are verbally out of control, (3) you are mentally out of control, (4) desires get stronger, (5) anger gets stronger, (6) delusion gets stronger, (7) you are soiled by the talk of this world, (8) you no longer talk about matters beyond this world, (9) you consort with those who disrespect the Dharma, (10) you abandon the Dharma, (11) this puts you at the mercy of Māra, (12) you keep company with the careless, (13) you yourself become careless, (14) you become suspicious and cynical, (15) your studies go to waste, (16) you do not achieve tranquility or special insight, (17) your pure conduct is promptly lost, (18) you lose appreciation for the Buddha, (19) you lose appreciation for the Dharma, and (20) you lose appreciation for the Saṅgha.
The bodhisattva great being Maitreya then said to the Blessed One, “Blessed One, they lead, in this way, to the abandonment of positive qualities—social diversions generate many deplorable faults, have no redeeming qualities, and are so harmful. In fact, it is rather astounding how much social diversions increase defilements, and what unwholesome activities they are. Blessed One, what wise bodhisattvas in search of virtue would not be thrilled to enjoy solitude?
“Blessed One, how should bodhisattvas examine the drawbacks of liking to talk? What must bodhisattvas realize to happily stay on course and recall their true purpose, so that they never become despondent?”
The Blessed One replied to the bodhisattva great being Maitreya in the following way: “To address your question, Maitreya, there are twenty faults of liking to talk, which bodhisattvas should examine. What are the twenty?
“Maitreya, monks who like to talk (1) become disrespectful because of conceit and arrogance about their scholarship, (2) become strongly prejudiced to one point of view because of their dedication to debate, [F.145.a] (3) forget to be mindful because they are not engaged with proper introspection, (4) conduct themselves inattentively because their minds and bodies have not been well trained, (5) become conceited or deflated because their tolerance for changing circumstance has become weak, (6) have volatile mindstreams because they have abandoned tranquility and special insight, (7) speak out of turn because they have been contaminated by the faults of speaking, (8) become uncontrolled because they have not obtained nobility of mind, (9) are not served by gods and nāgas, (10) are rebuked by those who have acquired proper understanding, (11) are chastised by those who have manifest spiritual attainment, (12) feel a sense of loss because they have not sustained their practice, (13) become increasingly unstable because they have not rid themselves of doubt, (14) let their studies and discrimination deteriorate because of their fascination with terminology, (15) are attached to sense pleasures because their experience is confined to the realm of ordinary consciousness, (16) do not reflect on what is finally true and real and thus soon abandon the Dharma, (17) are inconsistent and unreliable because they jump from one thing to another, (18) become completely irreverent because they have not tamed their minds at all, (19) must rely on what others say because they have not resolved the nature of phenomena for themselves, and (20) fall under the power of defilements because they have not fully understood their own sense powers.
“Maitreya, those are the twenty negative consequences for bodhisattvas who, because they like to talk and are fascinated with semantics, fail to reflect on the meaning.”
The bodhisattva great being Maitreya then remarked to the Blessed One, “Blessed One, the way in which the Thus-Gone One has expressed the faults of liking to talk and the qualities of reflecting on the meaning is truly extraordinary! Blessed One, bodhisattvas searching for the crucial point will reflect upon the meaning, and they will be utterly incapable of taking delight in talking about things that are not essential.
“Blessed One, how should bodhisattva great beings examine the faults of enjoying the pleasures of sleep? What kind of examination is required for bodhisattvas to observe the drawbacks of lethargy and sleep, [F.146.b] exercise diligence, and never become despondent?”
The Blessed One replied, “Maitreya, to answer you, liking to sleep has twenty distinct shortcomings that must be examined. If bodhisattvas were to examine these, they would happily begin to exercise diligence and never become despondent. What are the twenty?
“Maitreya, to answer this, bodhisattvas who sleep a great deal (1) are overcome with lethargy and sleep, and so become extremely lazy and (2) become corpulent and develop pallid complexions. (3) The four types of disease oppress their major elements, (4) their heat constituent is dampened, (5) they do not digest food well, (6) lesions and ulcers break out on their bodies, (7) they become listless, (8) the web of their delusion spreads wider, (9) their insight becomes feeble, (10) they lose their appetite for tasty foods, (11) they are held in the dark clutches of ignorance, (12) nonhuman creatures do not serve them, (13) their minds become dull, (14) they find it harder and harder to get up, (15) their latent tendencies besiege and occupy their minds, (16) they lose any interest in virtuous activities, (17) they cease practicing virtuous activities, (18) their own conduct becomes feeble, (19) they disparage the efforts of those who exercise diligence, and (20) they are greeted with contempt when out among their peers.
“Maitreya, those twenty are the shortcomings of bodhisattvas who like to sleep, are indolent, and are lethargic. And so, if bodhisattvas consider them, they will delight in exercising diligence and never become discouraged.”
The bodhisattva great being Maitreya then said to the Blessed One, “Blessed One, [F.148.a] any bodhisattvas who have learned of these kinds of faults of indolence and sleep, and yet do not abandon them or feel saddened by them, or for that matter do not arouse and exert diligence—for them to be that dense is astonishing!
“Blessed One, bodhisattvas who seek to learn, and who strive with determination to awaken to unsurpassed and perfect buddhahood—who among them, having heard counsel as perfect as this, would be lazy and not cultivate virtuous qualities? And who among them, having learned about these types of qualities and advantages of diligence, would not exert diligent effort to perfect the branches of awakening? Indeed, the Thus-Gone One has explained well these failings of liking to sleep and the advantages of exerting diligence!
“Blessed One, how should bodhisattvas examine the drawbacks of liking to work and being soiled with the stains of worldly activity? What are the things bodhisattvas must examine if they are to minimize their needs and reduce their activities, and thus be consistently diligent and assiduous in their pursuit of sacred Dharma?”
The Blessed One responded, “Maitreya, to answer you, bodhisattva great beings should investigate twenty shortcomings of liking to work. If bodhisattvas reflect on these, they will minimize their desire and reduce their activities, and be consistently diligent and assiduous in their pursuit of the sacred Dharma. What are the twenty?
“Maitreya, they are as follows. Bodhisattvas who like to work (1) exert themselves in worldly occupations, (2) stay involved in every manner of negative action, (3) are criticized by those who exert themselves in study and recitation, (4) are looked down upon by those who like to practice inner absorption, [F.148.b] (5) engage in actions that perpetuate saṃsāra without beginning or end, (6) do not enjoy the alms of faithful brahmins and householders as their minds become more fixated on material things, (7) multiply their attachments, (8) are continually engaged in making a living, (9) are not in charge, (10) are continually consumed with yearnings that are repugnant by nature, (11) invest themselves in domestic affairs, for the taste of which they develop more and more longing and attachment, (12) are upset when unable to acquire what they want, (13) continually reproduce obscurations of karma that increase their mental torment, (14) become dependent upon male and female lay precept-holders, (15) spend their days and nights ruminating about food, (16) are constantly curious about worldly affairs, (17) enjoy improper conversation, (18) abuse their administrative offices, bringing ruinous punishment by rulers upon those who practice monastic discipline, (19) think about others’ mistakes while never considering their own, and (20) dismiss out of hand reports that are both meaningful and properly verified.
“Maitreya, those are the twenty faults of bodhisattvas who like to work and are soiled by the stains of performing administrative duties. If bodhisattvas reflect upon them, they will reduce their needs and limit their activities; abandoning worldly affairs, they will dedicate themselves to spiritual matters.”
The bodhisattva great being Maitreya then said to the Blessed One, “Blessed One, those bodhisattvas who have rejected the supreme Dharma and engage in negative actions surely have incredibly weak insight, and their insight is inferior.”
The Blessed One answered the bodhisattva great being Maitreya this way: “Maitreya, that is so, [F.150.a] that is so. Just as you say, those bodhisattvas who reject the supreme Dharma and engage in negative actions have incredibly weak insight, and their insight is inferior.
“Maitreya, there is something else you ought to know, something else you should take to heart. Those bodhisattvas who do not apply themselves, who lack concentration, who do not renounce, who do not abstain, and who do not strive to become learned are not ordained within the teachings of the thus-gone ones.
“Maitreya, the teachings of thus-gone ones are distinguished by meditating and renouncing, by gathering wisdom and steadily abiding in wisdom, and by practicing diligently, as opposed to doing the work of householders and performing administrative duties. Monks who perform administrative work are corrupted by those who engage in improprieties, by those who delight in amassing property, and by worldly affairs in general; thus, bodhisattvas should not develop a liking for such work. Maitreya, even if, by diligently performing administrative duties, bodhisattvas could fill this billionfold world system with stūpas constructed from the seven types of precious substances, this would not please me, would not honor me, and would not venerate me. On the other hand, Maitreya, if bodhisattvas do no more than retain, grasp, read, absorb, or bear in mind a single stanza of four verses containing the perfections, that would honor, serve, venerate, and be an offering to me.
“Why is that? Maitreya, it is because the awakening of the thus-gone ones springs from great learning, and not from holding on to material things. Maitreya, if bodhisattvas devote themselves to administrative duties, and by performing those duties, damage the efforts of other bodhisattvas to teach and recite scripture, their desire for merit will result in the generation of an enormous heap of demerits, [F.150.b] and they will be gripped by obscurations of karma. Why is that the case? Well, the three things that are the bases for producing merit all arise from insight. Therefore, Maitreya, the efforts of bodhisattvas working in administrative offices must not cause obstacles for bodhisattvas devoting themselves to study and recitation of scripture.
“All those who serve in administrative offices and perform administrative duties throughout Jambudvīpa should honor and serve even a single bodhisattva devoted to study and recitation of scripture. However many bodhisattvas devoted to study and recitation of scripture there are in all of Jambudvīpa, they should honor and serve even a single bodhisattva dedicated to proper contemplation. If they do so, the thus-gone ones will rejoice and approve, and will have been venerated properly. Performing such honor and service will generate an infinite amount of merit for those who wish to experience insight. If you ask why that is the case, it is because working on insight is the most challenging, the best, the highest, and the most exceptional and exalted of all occupations in the threefold world.
The bodhisattva great being Maitreya then said to the Blessed One, “Now that the Blessed One has explained the drawbacks of bodhisattvas enjoying social diversions and liking to work, would the Blessed One next explain how to examine the shortcomings of bodhisattvas liking to deceive? [F.151.a] What are the things bodhisattvas should examine, if they are to remain peaceful and not engage in disputes?”
The Blessed One said, “Maitreya, to summarize, there are twenty shortcomings of bodhisattvas liking to deceive that must be examined. More broadly, the thus-gone ones have taught that these faults are limitless; there is no end to them. What are these twenty faults, Maitreya, of bodhisattvas who like to be deceitful? (1) They experience a great deal of suffering and unhappiness in their lives; (2) they lose their sense of patience; (3) their opponents rejoice in that loss; (4) Māra, too, takes great satisfaction in that loss; (5) Māra’s cohorts delight in it as well; (6) virtuous qualities that have not yet arisen in them do not arise; (7) those that have arisen disappear; (8) their disputes, grudges, arguments, and conflicts increase; (9) those disputes, arguments, and conflicts actively create karma that leads to rebirth in the lower realms; (10) they are bound to a course of sheer recklessness; (11) their speech becomes crude; (12) they do not properly retain Dharma transmissions they previously have received; (13) sūtra transmissions they have not previously received never reach their ears; (14) they entirely abandon all their spiritual mentors; (15) they quickly associate with evil friends; (16) they take ordination on the path of austerity; (17) they hear an uninterrupted flow of unpleasant words; (18) no matter where they are reborn they are born skeptics; (19) in their future lives, the eight states lacking leisure will always be close by; and (20) whatever good they try to do will always run into obstacles. Maitreya, those twenty summarize the shortcomings of enjoying deceit, [F.151.b] and these are what must be avoided.”
The bodhisattva great being Maitreya then said to the Blessed One, [F.152.b] “Blessed One, what the Thus-Gone One has conveyed thus far about defilements has been expressed very well—it is wonderful! Blessed One, will it be the case, during the final half-millennium, that having heard sublime words like these, bodhisattvas will be chastened and abandon defiled behavior as well?”
The Blessed One answered, “Maitreya, few individuals belonging to the Bodhisattva Vehicle in the final half-millennium, upon hearing these types of sublime words, will feel chastened and abandon defiled behavior.
“Maitreya, those whose temperaments are marked by arrogance, disrespect, stubborn pride, and mistrustfulness will be in the majority. They will neither receive scriptural transmission of the profound discourses spoken by the Thus-Gone One, which are rich in benefits and qualities, nor will they recite them, retain them, or comprehend them. The magnitude of their obscurations of karma will prevent them from realizing those qualities and those benefits.
“They will have no faith, and so they will come to doubt those discourses; consequently, they will not receive transmission of them, will not retain them, and will not comprehend them.27
“Before them will appear evil māras in the guise of monks who will tell them, ‘These discourses are spurious and are not, in fact, what the Thus-Gone One said.’ And if they are asked why that is the case, they will answer, ‘Because the qualities and benefits of hearing these discourses, as described in them, have not arisen and are lacking in you.’ And this will subvert their motivation.
“As a result of their change of heart, they will not be interested in and will have doubts about the profound discourses, and so they will not receive their scriptural transmissions, and will not recite them. When these fools hear about the qualities and benefits of these teachings, because of the ripening of their karma of abandoning the Dharma in this way, they will think, ‘We are not able to practice this,’ and will put it out of their minds.”
The bodhisattva great being Maitreya then asked the Blessed One, [F.153.a] “Blessed One, among the many qualities of the Thus-Gone One Amitāyus that the Thus-Gone One has explained, it was mentioned that if one applies one’s mind to the cultivation of certain positive attitudes, and brings to mind the Thus-Gone One Amitāyus himself, one will take rebirth in his buddha realm. Blessed One, since that is so, what are those positive attitudes?”
The Blessed One answered the bodhisattva great being Maitreya in the following way: “Maitreya, the positive attitudes that result in rebirth in Sukhāvatī, the buddha realm of the Thus-Gone One Amitāyus, are not attitudes generated by childish beings. They are not attitudes generated by anyone other than holy beings. They are not attitudes generated by a defiled mind.
“Maitreya, there are ten such positive attitudes to be generated. What are they? Maitreya, I shall put it this way: (1) Harboring resentment toward the conduct of any being will make one incapable of taking rebirth in the buddha realm of the Thus-Gone One Amitāyus; and so, generate the attitude of loving kindness toward all beings. (2) Ridding oneself of all enmity, generate the attitude of compassion for all beings. (3) Generate the determination to preserve the sacred Dharma, without concern for life and limb. (4) Develop strong dedication to the sacred Dharma, through certainty that one can tolerate the profound. (5) Give rise to completely pure intentions by not being stained by gain and honor. (6) Through perfect recall, generate the viewpoint that the state of omniscience is extremely precious. (7) Without getting discouraged, generate an attitude of respect towards all beings, as if they were one’s guru. [F.153.b] (8) Develop the attitude of not enjoying mere short-lived meditative experiences, by being certain about the branches of awakening. (9) By seeing them distinctly, cultivate a wide assortment of virtuous roots. (10) Abandoning conceptual constructs, cultivate a state of contemplation that simply recalls the Buddha.
“Maitreya, these are the ten positive attitudes. If one develops any among these ten attitudes—no matter which ones—then, because one has given rise to and possesses these attitudes, there is no chance that one will not be born in that buddha realm.”
The Blessed One voiced his approval to the venerable Ānanda, saying, “Excellent! Ānanda, that is excellent, truly excellent! Ānanda, for that reason, you must retain this account of Dharma, which you have called ‘Inspiring Determination.’ ”
After the Blessed One made this pronouncement, the bodhisattva great being Maitreya, the other bodhisattvas who were present, the venerable Ānanda along with the world’s gods, humans, asuras and gandharvas, rejoiced in and extolled what the Blessed One had said.
This concludes Inspiring Determination, the twenty-fifth of the one hundred thousand sections of the Dharma discourse known as The Noble Great Heap of Jewels.
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pho brang stod thang ldan dkar gyi chos kyi ’gyur ro cog gi dkar chag [Denkarma]. Toh 4364, Degé Tengyur vol. 206 (sna tshogs, jo), folios 294.b–310.a.
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- zhal ta byed pa
A term used to describe a managerial role or administrative duties in a monastic setting. While the position can be filled by a monk, it appears to be typically delegated to non-monastics.
- kun dga’ bo
The Buddha’s cousin and principal attendant.
- ched du brjod pa’i sde
One of the “twelve branches of excellent speech.”
Armor of the power of patience
- bzod pa’i stobs kyi go cha
- sbyangs pa’i yon tan
An optional set of practices that monastics can adopt in order to cultivate greater detachment. The list of practices varies in different sources. When thirteen practices are listed, they consist of (1) wearing patched robes made from discarded cloth rather than from cloth donated by laypeople; (2) wearing only three robes; (3) going for alms; (4) not omitting any house while on the alms round, rather than begging only at those houses known to provide good food; (5) eating only what can be eaten in one sitting; (6) eating only food received in the alms bowl, rather than more elaborate meals presented to the Saṅgha; (7) refusing more food after indicating one has eaten enough; (8) dwelling in the forest; (9) dwelling at the root of a tree; (10) dwelling in the open air, using only a tent made from one’s robes as shelter; (11) dwelling in a charnel ground; (12) satisfaction with whatever dwelling one has; and (13) sleeping in a sitting position without ever lying down.
Bandé Yeshé Dé
- ban de ye shes sde
One of the three foremost translators of the Tibetan imperial era. A disciple of Padmasambhava and one of the main translators of the Kangyur.
- bcom ldan ’das
In Buddhist literature, an epithet applied to buddhas, most often to Śākyamuni. The Sanskrit term generically means “possessing fortune,” but in specifically Buddhist contexts this term implies that a buddha is in possession of six auspicious qualities (bhaga) associated with complete awakening. The Tibetan term—where bcom is said to refer to “subduing” the four māras, ldan to “possessing” the great qualities of buddhahood, and ’das to “going beyond” saṃsāra and nirvāṇa—possibly reflects the commentarial tradition where the Sanskrit bhagavat is interpreted, in addition, as “one who destroys the four māras.” This is achieved either by reading bhagavat as bhagnavat (“one who broke”), or by tracing the word bhaga to the root √bhañj (“to break”).
Branches of awakening
- byang chub kyi yan lag
There are seven branches of awakening: mindfulness, discrimination, diligence, joy, pliancy, absorption, and equanimity.
- bag med pa
Disregard for virtuous qualities.
- bsam gtan
Meditative concentration in which the mind achieves stable attention or one-pointed focus.
- ri dags kyi nags
The forest located on the outskirts of Vārāṇasī where the Buddha first taught the Dharma.
- nyon mongs pa
There are the 84,000 variations of defilements for which the 84,000 categories of the Buddha’s teachings serve as the antidote. These defilements can be subsumed into the five or three poisons of attachment, aversion, and ignorance (the three), plus arrogance and jealousy (the five).
- lhas byin
The Buddha’s cousin and challenger.
Eight states lacking leisure
- mi khom pa brgyad po
The eight unfavorable conditions that pose obstacles to the practice of Dharma and attaining the state of awakening.
- gleng gzhi brjod pa’i sde
One of the “twelve branches of excellent speech.”
- shin tu rgyas pa’i sde
One of the “twelve branches of excellent speech.”
- lnga brgya pa tha ma
- paścimāyāṃ pañcaśatyām
The final five hundred years in the period of decrease during an intermediate eon, in which the five degenerations are at their peak and the Buddha’s teachings have nearly disappeared.
Five sense pleasures
- ’dod pa’i yon tan lnga
The five sense pleasures are pleasing visual objects, sounds, fragrances, tastes, and tactile sensations.
Four applications of mindfulness
- dran pa nye bar bzhag pa bzhi
Application of mindfulness with respect to the body, feelings, mind, and phenomena.
Four correct exertions
- yang dag pa’i spong ba bzhi
- catvāri samyakprahāṇāni
Not giving rise to any negativity that has not yet arisen, abandoning those negativities that have arisen, actively giving rise to virtues that have not yet arisen, and causing those virtues that have arisen to increase.
Four ways of nobility
- ’phags pa’i rigs bzhi
Being content with simple food, simple clothing, a simple dwelling place, and few possessions.
- bag chags
Subtle propensities created in the mind as a result of repeated experience.
Heap of Jewels
- dkon brtsegs
One of the five major sūtra groups contained within the Kangyur.
- nyan thos
A practitioner of the common vehicle who strives to attain the level of an arhat.
- skyes bu dam pa
- tshad med pa
The four immeasurables: loving-kindness (Tib. byams pa, Skt. maitrī); compassion (Tib. snying rje, Skt. karuṇā); joy (Tib. dga’ ba, Skt. muditā); and equanimity (Tib. btang snyoms, Skt. upekṣā).
- nang du yang dag ’jog pa
This term can mean both physical seclusion and a meditative state of withdrawal.
- shes rab
- dzam bu’i gling
The southernmost continent of the four continents, the “Rose Apple Continent” inhabited by human beings. Our current world system.
- dzi na mi tra
An Indian paṇḍita and translator who was one of the great scholars invited to Tibet during the reign of King Trisong Detsen.
Any volitional act, whether of body, speech, or mind. Karmic accumulation, positive or negative, will produce results in the future, unless it is purified.
- log par dad sel
A former buddha.
Lethargy and sleep
- rmugs dang gnyid
The third of the five hinderances to attainment of the first dhyāna.
Level of a non-returner
- phyir mi ldog pa’i sa
A level on the path to awakening at which point there is no danger of falling back into saṃsāra.
Lord of Death
- gshin rje
The lord of death who judges the dead and rules over the hells.
- byams pa
The bodhisattva who became Śākyamuni’s regent and is prophesied to be the next buddha, the fifth buddha in the fortunate eon. In early Buddhism he appears as the human disciple Maitreya Tiṣya, sent to pay his respects by his teacher. The Buddha gives him the gift of a robe and prophesies he will be the next Buddha, while his companion Ajita will be the next cakravartin. As a bodhisattva in the Mahāyāna, he has both these names.
Major hell Black Lines
- dmyal ba chen po thig nag
The second of the eight hot hells.
Major hell Incessant Torment
- dmyal ba chen po mnar med pa
The last and most severe of the eight hot hells.
Major hell of Heat
- dmyal ba chen po tsha ba
The sixth of the eight hot hells.
Major hell Reviving
- dmyal ba chen po yang sos
The first of the eight hot hells.
Originally the name of Indra’s principal enemy among the asuras. In early Buddhism he appears as a drought-causing demon, and eventually his name becomes that of Māra, the principal opponent of the Buddha’s teaching. The name also applies to the deities ruled over by Māra who attempted to prevent the Buddha’s awakening and who do not wish any being to escape from saṃsāra.
- rmad du byung ba’i chos kyi sde
One of the “twelve branches of excellent speech.”
Method of attraction
- bsdu ba’i dngos po
The four methods of attracting disciples are generosity (Tib. sbyin pa, Skt. dāna), pleasant speech (Tib. snyan par smra ba, Skt. priyavādita), helpfulness (Tib. don spyod pa, Skt. arthacaryā), and acting in a way that accords with the teachings (Tib. don ’thun pa, Skt. samānārthatā).
- rdzu ’phrul
The ability to make manifest miraculous displays evident to ordinary beings.
- rab tu byung ba
A person who has abandoned lay life and taken ordination as a Buddhist monastic.
- dge slong
A fully ordained monk.
A semidivine class of beings who live in subterranean aquatic environments and who are known to hoard wealth and esoteric teachings. They are associated with snakes and serpents.
- rtogs pa brjod pa’i sde
One of the “twelve branches of excellent speech.”
Nature of phenomena
- chos kyi dbyings
A synonym for emptiness or the ultimate nature of things. This term is interpreted variously—given the many connotations of the Sanskrit dharma, Tibetan chos—as the sphere, element, or nature of phenomena, reality, or truth.
- dge slong ma
A fully ordained nun.
- phas kyi rgol ba
One who teaches a false doctrine.
- gdol pa
The lowest and most disparaged class of people within the caste system of ancient India, who fall outside of the caste system altogether due to their low rank in society.
- de lta bu byung ba’i sde
One of the “twelve branches of excellent speech.”
- skyes pa’i rabs kyi sde
One of the “twelve branches of excellent speech.”
Phlegm, wind, and likewise bile
- bad kan rlung dang mkhris pa
The three humors or vital substances in the body which, according to Tibetan medicine, result in good health when balanced and illness or less than optimal health when imbalanced.
- tshigs su bcad pa’i sde
One of the “twelve branches of excellent speech.”
- so so yang dag par rig pa
Correct understanding of meaning, Dharma, language, and eloquence.
- lung du bstan pa’i sde
One of the “twelve branches of excellent speech.”
- tshangs par spyod pa
The practice of celibacy.
- gtan la bab par bstan pa’i sde
One of the “twelve branches of excellent speech.”
- sdom pa
Restraint from unwholesome deeds, generally engendered by observance of the three levels of vows.
An incantation, spell, or mnemonic formula that distills essential points of the Dharma and is used by practitioners to attain mundane and supramundane goals. It also has the sense of “retention,” referring to the special capacity of practitioners to memorize and recall detailed teachings.
- lhag spyod
A meditation teacher who was one of the Buddha’s teachers before he attained awakening.
- bslab pa kun las btus pa
An eighth-century work by Śāntideva.
- ’du ’dzi
Worldly activities such as social gatherings and performances that distract one from the Buddhist path.
- rang sangs rgyas
Someone who obtains personal liberation through very little or no instruction from others.
- lhag mthong
One of the two primary forms of meditation in Buddhism, the other being tranquility.
- rgyun du zhugs pa
The first stage of superior development in becoming a noble being on the path to awakening. Such an individual has not yet eliminated the afflictions but has entered a stream of forceful merit where a limit of seven lifetimes in the higher realms precede a final birth in which liberation is achieved.
- mchod rten
Sacred structures filled with relics and other sacred objects that represent the enlightened mind of the buddhas.
- mngon par shes pa
A type of extrasensory perception gained through spiritual practice. In the Buddhist presentation, this consists of five types: (1) miraculous abilities, (2) divine eye, (3) divine ear, (4) knowledge of others’ minds, and (5) recollection of past lives.
- ’jig rten las ’das pa’i shes rab
- su ren dra bo d+hi
An Indian scholar and translator invited to Tibet in the ninth century by King Ralpachen.
- ’jig rten gsum po
The desire, form, and formless realms, which together comprise the cycle of existence.
- de bzhin gshegs pa
A frequently used synonym for a buddha. The expression is interpreted in different ways, but in general it implies one who has arrived at the realization of the ultimate state.
- zhi gnas
One of the basic forms of Buddhist meditation that focuses on calming the mind. Often presented as part of a pair of meditation techniques, the other being special insight.
- ’jig tshogs
The transitory collection of the five aggregates, the basis for the view of a self or that which belongs to a self.
Twelve branches of excellent speech
- gsung rab yan lag bcu nyis
The “twelve branches of excellent speech” or the “twelve categories of the Buddha’s teachings” are discourses (Tib. mdo’i sde, Skt. sūtra), verse narrations (Tib. dbyangs kyis bsnyad pa’i sde, Skt. geya), prophecies (Tib. lung du bstan pa’i sde, Skt. vyākaraṇa), poetic verses (Tib. tshigs su bcad pa’i sde, Skt. gāthā), aphorisms (Tib. ched du brjod pa’i sde, Skt. udāna), ethical narrations (Tib. gleng gzhi brjod pa’i sde, Skt. nidāna), narrative discourses (Tib. rtogs pa brjod pa’i sde, Skt. avadāna), parables (Tib. de lta bu byung ba’i sde, Skt. itivṛttaka), past-life stories (Tib. skye pa’i rabs kyi sde, Skt. jātaka), extensive sayings (Tib. shin tu rgyas pa’i sde, Skt. vaipulya), marvels (Tib. rmad du byung ba’i chos kyi sde, Skt. abidhutadharma), and resolutions (Tib. gtan la bab par bstan pa’i sde, Skt. upadeśa).
Upholder of the Vinaya
- ’dul ba ’dzin pa
A term used to designate someone who is a master of Buddhist monastic discipline.
- ba ra na si
An ancient city in North India on the outskirts of which the Buddha first taught the Dharma.
- dbyangs kyis bsnyad pa’i sde
One of the “twelve branches of excellent speech.”
- ’dul ba
The vows and texts pertaining to monastic discipline.
Wearing robes made of discarded rags
- phyag dar khrod pa
The ascetic practice of gathering discarded rags and using them to produce one’s own garments.
- ye shes
Word of the Buddha
- sangs rgyas kyi bka’
A term used to denote the teachings of the Buddha, which in the case of this sūtra can be anything that the Buddha taught or any statement that precisely accords with what the Buddha taught.