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Diamond Sūtra Discussion

Receiving and maintaining the Dharma 如法受持分

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Receiving and maintaining the Dharma 如法受持

Text 原文

爾時須菩提白佛:「世尊我等云何奉持?」 須菩提:「名為金剛般若波羅蜜”。以是名字奉持

Yifa: At that time, Subhuti addressed the Buddha saying, “World-Honored One, what should this sutra be named? How should we respectfully uphold it?”

The Buddha told Subhuti, “This sutra is named the Vajra Prajnaparamita. By this name you should respectfully uphold it. How is this? Subhuti, the Buddha says prajnaparamita is not prajnaparamita.”

Sanskrit: evamukte āyuṣmān subhūtirbhagavantametadavocat-ko nāma ayaṃ bhagavan dharmaparyāyaḥ, kathaṃ cainaṃ dhārayāmi ? evamukte bhagavānāyuṣmantaṃ subhūtimetadavocat- prajñāpāramitā nāmāyaṃ subhūte dharmaparyāyaḥ| evaṃ cainaṃ dhāraya| tatkasya hetoḥ ? yaiva subhūte prajñāpāramitā tathāgatena bhāṣitā, saiva apāramitā tathāgatena bhāṣitā| tenocyate prajñāpāramiteti||


Some Sanskrit versions name the sūtra simply as Prajñāpāramitā without mention of Vajracchedikā but it is mentioned in this version.


所以者何須菩提佛說般若波羅蜜般若波羅蜜須菩提云何如來有所說法不?」 須菩提白佛:「世尊如來。」

Yifa: “Subhuti, what does your mind say? The Tathagata has spoken the Dharma, has he not?”

Subhuti addressed the Buddha saying, “World-Honored One, the Tathagata has not said anything.”

Sanskrit: tatkiṃ manyase subhūte-api nu asti sa kaściddharmo yastathāgatena bhāṣitaḥ ? subhūtirāha-no hīdaṃ bhagavan| nāsti sa kaściddharmo yastathāgatena bhāṣitaḥ||


The Chinese version of this sentence reads Prajñāpāramitā 般若波羅蜜 instead of dhárma, as the Sanskrit version does.


須菩提云何三千大千世界所有微塵?」 須菩提:「甚多世尊!」 「須菩提微塵如來說非微塵是名微塵如來說世界非世界是名世界

Yifa: “Subhuti, what does your mind say? All the minute particles in a great trichiliocosm are many, are they not?”

Subhuti replied, “Extremely many, World-Honored One.”

“Subhuti, all minute particles, the Tathagata says, are not minute particles, so they are called minute particles. The Tathagata says a world is not a world, so it is called a world.”

Sanskrit: bhagavānāha-tatkiṃ manyase subhūte-yāvat trisāhasramahāsāhasre lokadhātau pṛthivīrajaḥ kaccit, tadbahu bhavet ? subhūtirāha-bahu bhagavan, bahu sugata pṛthivīrajo bhavet| tatkasya hetoḥ ? yattadbhagavan pṛthivīrajastathāgatena bhāṣitam, arajastadbhagavaṃstathāgatena bhāṣitam| tenocyate pṛthivīraja iti| yo'pyasau lokadhātustathāgatena bhāṣitaḥ, adhātuḥ sa tathāgatena bhāṣitaḥ| tenocyate lokadhāturiti||


The Buddha mentioned the chiliocosm in Chapter 8 and gave an analogy on filling as many chiliocosms as there are grains of sand in the Ganges River in Section 11.


須菩提云何可以三十二相見如來不?」 「世尊不可以三十二相如來何以如來三十二相即是是名三十二相。」

Yifa: “Subhuti, what does your mind say? You can see the Tathagata by the thirty-two characteristics, can you not?”

“No, World-Honored One. You cannot see the Tathagata by the thirty-two characteristics. Why is this? The Tathagata says the thirty-two characteristics are not characteristics, so they are called the thirty-two characteristics.”

Sanskrit: bhagavānāha- tatkiṃ manyase subhūte dvātriṃśanmahāpuruṣalakṣaṇaistathāgato'rhan samyaksaṃbuddho draṣṭavyaḥ ? subhūtirāha-no hīdaṃ bhagavan| dvātriṃśanmahāpuruṣalakṣaṇaistathāgato'rhan samyaksaṃbuddho draṣṭavyaḥ| tatkasya hetoḥ ? yāni hi tāni bhagavan dvātriṃśanmahāpuruṣalakṣaṇāni tathāgatena bhāṣitāni, alakṣaṇāni tāni bhagavaṃstathāgatena bhāṣitāni| tenocyante dvātriṃśanmahāpuruṣalakṣaṇānīti||


The Buddha want us to transcend appearance. This was mentioned bodily marks in Section 5 but did not specifically state the thirty two bodily marks there. Bodily marks is discussed further in Section 20 and Section 26. The thirty two characteristics are the thirty two marks of a great man. They are only visble to certain brahmins, who know how to interpret them. The are only possessed by either a Buddha or a wheel-turning king. When the Buddha's father found out that his son possessed the thirty two bodily marks he decided to protect his son from knowledge of suffering so that he would become a wheel-turning king (Gethin 1998, ch. 1).



Yifa: “Subhuti, if there are virtuous men and women who practice giving as many lives as there are grains of sand in the Ganges River, and if, however, there are people who just receive and retain four lines of verse from this sutra and explain them to others, their rewards will be many more.”

Sanskrit: bhagavānāha-yaśca khalu punaḥ subhūte strī vā puruṣo vā dine dine gaṅgānadīvālukāsamānātmabhāvān parityajet, evaṃ parityajan gaṅgānadīvālukāsamān kalpāṃstānātmabhāvān parityajet, yaśca ito dharmaparyāyadantaśaścatuṣpādikāmapi gāthāmudgṛhyaparebhyo deśayet saṃprakāśayet, ayameva tatonidānaṃ bahutaraṃ puṇyaskandhaṃ prasunuyādaprameyamasaṃkhyeyam||13||


The Buddha is making an analogy here to the practice of non-self, letting go of the self.

There is some repetation from earlier sections in this section. This is typical of teachings that are transmitted orally. In Indian religions there is a lot of emphasis on oral teachings and learning by listening. (Mittal and Thursby 2006, p18) This can be seen in the many Sanskrit terms related to learning and cultivation by listening that we do not have equivalents for in English. For example śrutamayīprajñā (wisdom from wisdom from listening 聞慧), śrotravijñāna (auditory consciousness 耳識), śrāvaka (literally, a listener but often referring to a distinguished disciple of the Buddha 聲聞), and Vaiśravaṇa (literally, the deva who listens a lot but referring to the leader of the Heavenly Kings 多聞天).

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