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Diamond Sūtra 《金剛般若波羅蜜經》

Leaving form, leaving appearance 離色離相分

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Leaving form, leaving appearance 相分


Text


須菩提云何可以具足色身?」 「世尊如來具足色身何以如來具足色身具足色身具足色身。」

“Subhūti, what do you think? Can the Tathāgata be seen by means of the perfected [pariniṣpattiriti] body of form [rūpakāya]?” “No, Bhagavān, the Tathāgata cannot be seen by means of the perfected body of form [rūpakāya]. Why? The perfected body of form [rūpakāya] that the Tathāgata speaks of is itself not a perfected body of form [rūpakāya], and is thus called the perfected body of form [rūpakāya].”

Sanskrit: tatkiṃ manyase subhūte rūpakāyapariniṣpattyā tathāgato draṣṭavyaḥ ? subhūtirāha-no hīdaṃ bhagavan| na rūpakāyapariniṣpattyā tathāgato draṣṭavyaḥ| tatkasya hetoḥ ? rūpakāyapariniṣpattī rūpakāyapariniṣpattiriti bhagavan apariniṣpattireṣā tathāgatena bhāṣitā| tenocyate rūpakāyapariniṣpattiriti||

Comments


This section focuses on transcending form and appearances. Both are inherently empty of existence. This was mentioned in Section 5 and Section 13 but a deeper explanation is given here. The question is asked again in Section 26. The physical body and abiding in form are also mentioned in chapters 10, 14, and 17.

The English phrase body of form (physical body) translates the Chinese 色身, Sanskrit rūpakāya. The English word perfection translates the Chinese 具足, Sanskrit pariniṣpattyi.

Text


須菩提云何如來可以具足諸相?」「世尊如來具足諸相何以如來諸相具足具足諸相具足。」

“Subhūti, what do you think? Can the Tathāgata be seen by the perfection [saṃpadā] of all marks [lakṣaṇa]?” “No, Bhagavān, the Tathāgata cannot be seen by the perfection [saṃpadā] of all marks [lakṣaṇa]. Why? The perfection of marks [lakṣaṇa] that the Tathāgata speaks of is itself not a perfection [saṃpadā], and is thus called the perfection [saṃpadā] of marks [lakṣaṇa].”

Sanskrit: bhagavānāha- tatkiṃ manyase subhūte lakṣaṇasaṃpadā tathāgato draṣṭavyaḥ ? subhūtirāha-no hīdaṃ bhagavān| na lakṣaṇasaṃpadā tathāgato draṣṭavyaḥ| tatkasya hetoḥ ? yaiṣā bhagavan lakṣaṇasaṃpattathāgatena bhāṣitā, alakṣaṇasaṃpadeṣā tathāgatena bhāṣitā| tenocyate lakṣaṇasaṃpaditi||20||

Comments


The Buddha had an amazing physical body. The Dona Sutta says,

On one occasion the Blessed One was traveling along the road between Ukkattha and Setabya, and Dona the brahman was also traveling along the road between Ukkattha and Setabya. Dona the brahman saw, in the Blessed One's footprints, wheels with 1,000 spokes, together with rims and hubs, complete in all their features. On seeing them, the thought occurred to him, "How amazing! How astounding! These are not the footprints of a human being!"
(AN 4.361)


However, the Buddha did not want people to see him by these physical characteristics. The Buddha can be thought of as having three bodies: an incarnated physical body, a reward body, and a dharma body. The dharma body cannot be seen by physical attributes, even though those attributes are perfectly developed. In his commentary on the Diamond Sūtra Hui Neng says,

The Buddha is concerned that beings do not see his dharma body and only see its thirty-two attributes and eighty characteristics, such as its purple, burnished glow, and think of these as the Tathagata's true body. In order to eliminate this mistake, he asks Subhūti if the Buddha can be seen by means of his perfected physical body or not.
(Manji 04592)


In this passage the English word mark translates the Chinese , Sanskrit lakṣaṇa. The English word perfection translates the Chinese 具足, Sanskrit saṃpadā, rather than pariniṣpattyi, as in the first sentence. The word saṃpadā may be also translated as possession.

Discussion

  • Why does the Buddha say that you cannot see him by his physical body?
  • What is your understanding of the difference between physical and spiritual existence? Are there any other kinds of existence?
  • How does the spirituality of prajnaparamita differ from magic, miracles, rebirth in heaven, etc? How do those kinds of other-than-physical things relate to the Five Eyes?


Notes

  1. "Dona Sutta: With Dona" (AN 4.36), translated from the Pali by Thanissaro Bhikkhu. Access to Insight (Legacy Edition), 30 November 2013, http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka/an/an04/an04.036.than.html.
  2. Red Pine 2009, p 329 translation from Exegesis on the Diamond Sutra 金剛經解義, Manji 0459

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