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Diamond Sūtra 《金剛般若波羅蜜經》

Transforming the unreal 應化非真分

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Transforming the unreal 應化


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須菩提有人滿無量阿僧祇世界七寶持用布施善男子善女人菩薩心乃至四句偈受持讀誦為人演說

Yifa: “Subhuti, if there is someone who fills immeasurable asamkhya worlds with the seven treasures and uses them to practice giving, and if there are virtuous men and women who develop the mind of a bodhisattva and take even just four lines of verse from this sutra, receiving, retaining, reading and reciting them, and expounding them to others, their rewards will surpass those.”

Sanskrit: yaśca khalu punaḥ subhūte bodhisattvo mahāsattvo'prameyānasaṃkhyeyāṃllokadhātūn saptaratnaparipūrṇaṃ kṛtvā tathāgatebhyo'rhadbhayaḥ samyaksaṃbuddhebhyo dānaṃ dadyāt, yaśca kulaputro vā kuladuhitā vā itaḥ prajñāpāramitāyā dharmaparyāyādantaśaścatuṣpādikāmapi gāthāmudgṛhya dhārayeddeśayedvācayet paryavāpnuyāt, parebhyaśca vistareṇa saṃprakāśayet, ayameva tatonidānaṃ bahutaraṃ puṇyaskandhaṃ prasunuyādaprameyamasaṃkhyeyam|

Comments

In the English text the phrase innumerable translates the Chinese 阿僧祇, Sanskrit asaṃkhyeya.

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云何為人演說如如不動何以? 「一切有為法,  如露亦如電,  應作如是觀。」

Yifa: “How would you say they expound it to others?”

“By not holding on to appearances, immovable like thusness. Why is this?”

All conditioned dharmas
Are like a dream, an illusion, a bubble, a shadow
Like dew and like lightning
Thus they should be perceived

Sanskrit: kathaṃ ca saṃprakāśayet ? tadyathākāśe-

Sanskrit: tārakā timiraṃ dīpo māyāvaśyāya budbudam|

Sanskrit: svapnaṃ ca vidyudabhraṃ ca evaṃ draṣṭavya saṃskṛtam||

Sanskrit: tathā prakāśayet, tenocyate saṃprakāśayediti||

Comments


Some Sanskrit versions begin this passage with "And how should they explain it? By not explaining. Thus it is called 'explaining.'". (Red Pine 2009, ch. 32) The English in Yifa's translation matches Kumārajīva Chinese version well, so it is likely that the difference was due to some kind of branching in the Sanskrit versions.

The English word "dream" translates the Chinese (Sanskrit: svapna). The English word "illusion" translates the Chinese (Sanksrit: timira). The English word "bubble" translates the Chinese (Sanskrit: budbuda). The English word "flashes" translates the Chinese (Sanskrit: dīpa).

The order of the analogies is different in the Sanksrit and Chinese versions. The Sanskrit version also mentions stars (Sanskrit: tārakā). (Conze 1958, p 70)

All worldly phenomena and transitory. In his commentary on the Diamond Sūtra Venerable Master Hsing Yun writes,

Lightening is fleeting, there just for an instant, like time itself. The past, present, and future pass away quite quickly. Human life is also like lightening, for life exists in that short moment of breathing in and out. Once the breath stops, life is no more.
(Hsing Yun 2012, p 95)

In the Arakenanusasani Sutta the teacher Araka says,

"'Just as a dewdrop on the tip of a blade of grass quickly vanishes with the rising of the sun and does not stay long, in the same way, brahmans, the life of human beings is like a dewdrop — limited, trifling, of much stress & many despairs. One should touch this [truth] like a sage, do what is skillful, follow the holy life. For one who is born there is no freedom from death.

"'Just as when the rain-devas send rain in fat drops, and a bubble on the water quickly vanishes and does not stay long, in the same way, brahmans, the life of human beings is like a water bubble — limited, trifling, of much stress & many despairs. One should touch this [truth] like a sage, do what is skillful, follow the holy life. For one who is born there is no freedom from death.
(AN 7.701)


The theme of impermanence in this section mirrors the theme of Section 1, which begins "Thus have I heard. Once, the Buddha was ..." Thus the Sūtra comes to an end.

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佛說長老須菩提比丘比丘尼優婆塞優婆夷一切世間天阿修羅皆大歡喜信受奉行

Yifa: After the Buddha had spoken this sutra, the Elder Subhuti with all the bhiksus, bhiksunis upasakas, upasikas, and the devas, humans and asuras of all worldly realms heard what the Buddha had said and were all greatly pleased; believing, receiving, honoring and practicing it.

Sanskrit: idamavocadbhagavān āttamanāḥ| sthavirasubhūtiste ca bhikṣubhikṣuṇyupāsako pāsikāste ca bodhisattvāḥ sadevamānuṣāsuragandharvaśca loko bhagavato bhāṣitamabhyanandanniti||32||

Comments


The Sanskrit version also mentions bodhisattvas and gandharvas, which are a kind of mythical being that guard the Truth (Red Pine 2009, p 436), in the assembly.

The English word Elder translates the Chinese 長老, (Sanskrit: sthavira). The Sanskrit word for world loko (Chinese: 世間) is the nominative case with word ending modified for sandhi. The stem form is loka.

Notes

  1. "Arakenanusasani Sutta: Araka's Teaching" (AN 7.70), translated from the Pali by Thanissaro Bhikkhu. Access to Insight (Legacy Edition), 30 November 2013, http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka/an/an07/an07.070.than.html.

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