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Diamond Sūtra Discussion

Unborn knowing and perceiving 知見不生分

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Unborn knowing and perceiving 知見不生


須菩提:『佛說我見人見眾生見壽者見。』須菩提云何我所?」 「世尊不解如來何以世尊我見人見眾生見壽者見即非我見人見眾生見壽者見我見人見眾生見壽者見。」

Yifa: “Subhuti, if someone says the Buddha has spoken [bhāṣita] of the view [dṛṣṭi] of a self, an individual, sentient beings or lifespan, Subhuti, what does your mind say? This person understands the meaning of what I have said, do they not?”

“World-Honored One, this person does not understand the meaning of what the Tathagata has said. Why is this? The World-Honored One says the view of a self, an individual, sentient beings or lifespan is not the view of a self, an individual, sentient beings or lifespan, so it is called the view of a self, an individual, sentient beings or lifespan.”

Sanskrit: tatkasya hetoḥ ? yo hi kaścitsubhūte evaṃ vadet-ātmadṛṣṭistathāgatena bhāṣitā, sattvadṛṣṭirjīvadṛṣṭiḥ pudgaladṛṣṭistathāgatena bhāṣitā, api nu sa subhūte samyagvadamāno vadet ? subhūtirāha-no hīdaṃ bhagavan, no hīdaṃ sugata, na samyagvadamāno vadet| tatkasya hetoḥ ? yā sā bhagavan ātmadṛṣṭistathāgatena bhāṣitā, adṛṣṭiḥ sā tathāgatena bhāṣitā| tenocyate ātmadṛṣṭiriti||


In Section 6 the Buddha warned against attachment to notions (saṃjñā) of the four manifestations of self: a self (ātma), person (pudgala), beings (sattva), and a life (jīva). Here he warns against a view (dṛṣṭi) of each of these. The Sanskrit word dṛṣṭi includes not only the perception but also the interpretations of what we see. (Red Pine 2009, p 421)

In this passage the word teaches translates the Chinese , Sanskrit bhāṣita and vadamāna. The word view translates the Chinese , Sanskrit dṛṣṭi. The word self translates the Chinese , Sanskrit ātma. The word person translates the Chinese , Sanskrit pudgala. The word being translates the Chinese 眾生, Sanskrit sattva. Life (jīva) is not listed in the Sanskrit text. The compound ātmadṛṣṭiriti is formed from the three parts ātma (self) + dṛṣṭi (view) + iti (to say) with sandhi applied.



Yifa: “Subhuti, those who develop the mind of anuttara-samyak-sambodhi should regard all dharmas by knowing [jñāta] like this, seeing like this, believing [adhimukta] and understanding like this, without giving rise to a conception of dharmas.”

“Subhuti, what is said to be a conception of dharmas, the Tathagata says, is not a conception of dharmas, so it is called a conception of dharmas.”

Sanskrit: bhagavānāha-evaṃ hi subhūte bodhisattvayānasaṃprasthitena sarvadharmā jñātavyā draṣṭavyā adhimoktavyāḥ| tathāca jñātavyā draṣṭavyā adhimoktavyāḥ, yathā na dharmasaṃjñāyāmapi pratyupatiṣṭhennādharmasaṃjñāyām| tatkasya hetoḥ ? dharmasaṃjñā dharmasaṃjñeti subhūte asaṃjñaiṣā tathāgatena bhāṣitā| tenocyate dharmasaṃjñeti||31||


This is a summary of the answer to Subhūti's question in Section 2, once again refecting the symmetry about the center of the text.

To summarize the Buddhha says that there is not a conception of dharmas. Red Pine explains, “... on closer examination, these entities turn out to be rather arbitrary founded on nothing more than lingustic conventions, which are themselves the detritus of previously established arbitrary views.”

Many of the objects that we discuss in everyday life are actually social constructions. For example, the concept of a nation is a social construction. The concept of a nations is constructed by lines dividing areas on a map not something that was real in the world before the lines were drawn. National boundaries came into being because of wars, treaties, and the unilateral decisions of powerful empires in historic times. Some lines may cease to exist in a few more years so natinonl boundaries cannot be considered to have a permanent, independent existence.

Some concepts are more fundamental. For example, natural concepts like the earth, water, wind, and fire. These things arise because of our sense organs. Animals that have sense organs experience these things too, although probably in a different way.

The word know translates the Chinese , Sanskrit jñāta. The word believe translates the Chinese 信解, Sanskrit adhimukta. This can be understood as to believe with confidence. The phrase notions of dharmas translates the Sanskrit compound dharmasaṃjñā.

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