THE SORROWLESS FLOWERS
561. Eighteen Forms of Emptiness
562. Four Classes in India At the Time of the Buddha
563. Six Dharmas of Naropa Order
564. Twenty Kinds of Unreality
565. Twenty-Five Forms of Emptiness
566. Seven Kinds of Emptiness
567. HWandering-on-foot Monk
568. Buddhism and Other Theories
569. Buddhist Festivals
570. Three Main Schools in Buddhism
571. Seven Special Places After the Buddha’s Enlightenment
572. Buddhist Flag
573. Eight Aspects of Buddha’s Life
574. Places That Are Related to the Buddha’s Life and Activities
575. The Buddha’s Nine Distresses
576. Four Way of Going Wrong
577. Four Things That May Not Be Treated Lightly
561. Eighteen Forms of Emptiness
According to Zen Master D.T. Suzuki in Essays in Zen Buddhism, Book III, in Hsuan-Chuang’s version of the Mahaprajnaparamita, eighteen forms of emptiness are enumerated. First, the Emptiness of the inner things (Adhyatma-sunyata). “The inner things” mean the six consciousnesses (vijnana). When they are said to be empty, our psychological activities have no ego-soul behind them, as is commonly imagined by us. This is another way of upholding the doctrine of Anatman or Anatta. Second, the emptiness of the outer things (bahirdha-sunyata). “The outer things” are objects of the six consciousnesses, and their emptiness means that there are no self-governing substances behind them. As there is no Atman at the back of the psychological phenomena, so there is no Atman at the back of the external world. This is technically known as the “egolessness of things.” Primitive Buddhism taught the theory Anatman in us, but it was by the Mahayanists, it is said, that the theory was applied to external objects also. Third, the emptiness of inner-and-outer things (adhyatma-bahirdha-sunyata). We generally distinguish between the inner and the outer, but since there is no reality in this distinction it is here negated; the distinction is no more than a form of thought construction, the relation can be reversed at any moment, there is no permanent stability here. Change the position, and what is inner is outer, and what is outer is inner. This relativity is called here “emptiness.” Fourth, the emptiness of emptiness (sunyata-sunyata). When things outside and inside are all declared empty, we are led to think that the idea of emptiness remains real or that this alone is something objectively attainable. The emptiness of emptiness is designed to destroy this attachment. To maintain the idea of emptiness means to leave a speck of dust when all has been swept clean. Fifth, the emptiness of highest degree (paramartra). Emptiness of the highest degree by which is meant Ultimate Reality or Supreme Wisdom. What is meant by Great Emptiness of Ultimate Reality, which is Supreme Wisdom. When the supreme wisdom is realized in our inner consciousness, it will then be found that all the theories, wrong ideas, and all the traces of beginningless memory are altogether wiped out and perfectly empty. This is another form of emptiness. The “great emptiness” means the unreality of space. Space was conceived in old days to be something objectively real, but this is regarded by the Mahayana as empty. Things in space are subject to the laws of birth and death, that is, governed by causation, as this all Buddhists recognize; but space itself is thought by them to be eternally there. The Mahayanists teach that this vast vacuity also has no objective reality that the idea of space or extension is mere fiction. Sixth, the emptiness of the ultimate truth. The highest Void or reality ((paramartha-sunyata) (highest void, supreme void, the void beyond thought or discussion)), the Mahayana nirvana, though it is also applied to Hinayana nirvana. A conception of the void, or that which is beyond the material, only attained by Buddhas and bodhisattvas. The “ultimate truth” means the true being of all things, the state in which they truly are, apart from all forms of subjectivity. This is something not subject to destruction, not to be held up as this or that, to which nothing can be affixed. Therefore, this ultimate truth is empty. If real, it is one of those objects that are conditioned and chained to the law of causation. Nirvana is but another name. When Nirvana has something attachable to it, it will no more be Nirvana. It will be seen that ‘emptiness’ is here used in somewhat different sense from the ‘great emptiness,’ when objects inner or outer are declared ‘empty.’ Seventh, the emptiness of things created (samskrita-sunyata). Samskrita means things that have come to existence owing to conditions of causation. In this sense they are created. To say that the Samskrita are empty is another way of saying that the world external as well as internal is empty. Eighth, the emptiness of things uncreated (asamskrita-sunyata). Space is that which gives no hindrance and itself penetrates through any hindrance freely and manifests no change. One of the assamskrta dharmas, passive void or space. Asamskrita are things not subject to causation, such as space. Existence is sometimes divided into Samskrita and Asamskrita, sometimes into inner and outer, sometimes into the five skandhas, etc., according to points of view necessitated by course of reasoning. All these disctinctions are, however, only relative and have no corresponding objectivity, and are, therefore, all empty. The Asamskrita exist because of their being contrasted to the Samskrita. When the latter have no reality, the former are also no more. They both are mere names, and empty. Ninth, the ultimate emptiness. Atyanta-sunyata emphasizes the idea of all ‘things’ being absolutely empty. ‘Ultimate’ means ‘absolute.’ The denial of objective reality to all things is here unconditionally upheld. The ‘emptiness’ means practically the same thing. The room is swept clean by the aid of a broom; but when the broom is retained it is not absolute emptiness. Neither the broom, nor the sweeper should be retained in order to reach the idea of Atyanta-sunyata. As long as there is even on dharma left, a thing or a person or a thought, there is a point of attachment from which a world of pluralities, and, therefore, of woes and sorrows, can be fabricated. Emptiness beyond every possible qualification, beyond an infinite chain of dependence, this is Nirvana. Tenth, the emptiness of limitlessness (anavaragra-sunyata). Anavaragra-sunyata means when existence is said to be beginningless, people think that there is such a thing as beginninglessness, and cling to the idea. In order to do away with this attachment, its emptiness is pronounced. The human intellect oscillates between opposites. When the idea of a beginning is exploded, the idea of beginninglessness replaces it, while in truth these are merely relative. The great truth of Sunyata must be above those opposites, and yet not outside of them. Therefore, the Prajnaparamita takes pains to strike the ‘middle way’ and yet not to stand by it; for when this is done it ceases to be the middle way. The theory of Emptiness is thus to be elucidated from every possible point of view. Eleventh, the emptiness of dispersion (anavakara-sunyata). Anavakara-sunyata means there is nothing perfectly simple in this world. Everything is doomed to final decomposition. It seems to exist as a unit, to retain its form, to be itself, but there is nothing here that cannot be reduced to its component parts. It is sure to be dispersed. Things belonging to the world of thought may seem not to be subject to dissolution. But here change takes place in another form. Time works, no permanency prevails. The four skandhas, Vedana, Samjna, Samskara, and Vijnana, are also meant for ultimate dispersion and annihilation. They are in any way empty. Twelfth, the emptiness of primary nature (prakriti-sunyata). Prakriti is what makes fire hot and water cold, it is the primary nature of each individual object. When it is declared to be empty, it means that there is no Atman in it, which constitutes its primary nature, and that the very idea of primary nature is an empty one. That there is no individual selfhood at the back of what we consider a particular object has already been noted, because all things are products of various causes and conditions, and there is nothing that can be called an independent, solitary, self-originating primary nature. All is ultimately empty, and if there is such a thing as primary nature, it cannot be otherwise than empty. Thirteenth, the emptiness of selfhood (svalakshana-sunyata). What is meant by Emptiness of Appearance? Existence is characterized by mutual dependence; individuality and generality are empty when one is regarded apart from the other; when things are analyzed to the last degree, they are to be comprehended as not existent; there are, after all, no aspects of individuation such as “this,” “that,” or “both;” there are no ultimate irreducible marks of differentiation. For this reason, it is said that self-appearance is empty. By this is meant that appearance is not a final fact. Lakshana is the intelligible aspect of each individual object. In some cases Lakshana is not distinguishable from primary nature, they are inseparably related. The nature of fire is intelligible through its heat, that of water through its coolness. The Buddhist monk finds his primary nature in his observance of the rules of morality, while the shaven head and patched robe are his characteristic appearance. The Prajnaparamita tells us that these outside, perceptible aspects of things are empty, because they are mere appearances resulting from various combinations of causes and conditions; being relative they have no reality. By the emptiness of self-aspect or self-character (Svalakshana), therefore, is meant that each particular object has no permanent and irreducible characteristics to be known as its own. Fourteenth, the emptiness of things (sarvadharma-sunyata). The assertion that all things (sarvadharma) are empty is the most comprehensive one, for the term ‘dharma’ denotes not only an object of sense, but also an object of thought. When all these are declared empty, no further detailed commentaries are needed. But the Prajnaparamita evidently designs to leave no stone unturned in order to impress its students in a most thoroughgoing manner with the doctrine of Emptiness. According to Nagarjuna, all dharmas are endowed with these characters: existentiality, intelligibility, perceptibility, objectivity, efficiency, causality, dependence, mutuality, duality, multiplicity, generality, individuality, etc. But all these characterizations have no permanence, no stability; they are all relative and phenomenal. The ignorant fail to see into the true nature of things, and become attached thereby to the idea of a reality which is eternal, blissful, self-governing, and devoid of defilements. To be wise simply means to be free from these false views, for there is nothing in them to be taken hold of as not empty. Fifteenth, the emptiness of unattainability (anupalambha-sunyata). This kind of emptiness is known as unattainable (anupamabha). It is not that the mind is incapable of laying its hand on it, but that there is really nothing to be objectively comprehensible. Emptiness suggests nothingness, but when it is qualified as unattainable, it ceases to be merely negative. It is unattainable just because it cannot be an object of relative thought cherished by the Vijnana. When the latter is elevated to the higher plans of the Prajna, the ‘emptiness unattainable’ is understood. The Prajnaparamita is afraid of frightening away its followers when it makes its bold assertion that all is empty, and therefore it proceeds to add that the absence of all these ideas born of relativity does not mean bald emptiness, but simply an emptiness unattainable. With the wise this emptiness is a reality. When the lion roars, the other animals are terrified, imagining this roaring to be something altogether extraordinary, something in a most specific sense ‘attained’ by the king of beasts. But to the lion the roaring is nothing, nothing specifically acquired by or added to them. So with the wise, there is no ‘emptiness’ in them which is to be regarded as specifically attained as an object of thought. Their attainment is really no-attainment. Sixteenth, the emptiness of non-being (abhava-sunyata). Abhava is the negation of being, which is one sense of emptiness. Seventeenth, the emptiness of self-nature (svabhava-sunyata). What is meant by Emptiness of Self-nature (Self-substance)? It is because there is no birth of self-substance by itself. That is to say, individualization is the construction of our own mind; to think that there are in reality individual objects as such, is an illusion; they have no self-substance, therefore, they are said to be empty. Svabhava means ‘to be by itself,’ but there is no such being it is also empty. Is then opposition of being and non-being real? No, it is also empty, because each term of the opposition is empty. Eighteenth, the emptiness of the non-being of self-nature (abhava-svabhava-sunyata).
562. Four Classes in India At the Time of the Buddha
The hierarchical structure of the Hindu old society resulted in oppression, suspicion, resentment and hostility. From there sprung opposition movements and hostility. This is why Buddhism had come out as a spiritual counter-force. Apart from these four castes, there is still a fifth category of people called Candala, the lowest one, regarded by the other castes as untouchables who are mistreated and exploited. First, Brahman, one who observes ascetic practices. They created so many legends to strengthen and consolidate their powers. According to the Vedics, Brahmans were traditionally the custodians, interpreters, and teachers of religious knowledge, and as priests, acted as intermediaries between humans, the world, and God. They were expected to maintain pure conduct and observe dietary rules, e.g. vegetarianism, abstinence from alcohol, etc. The Indians believe that Brahman, born from the mouth of Brahma or Lord of the heavens; Ksattriya, born from the shoulders of Brahma; Vaisya, born from the flanks of Brahma; and the Sudra, born from the feet of Brahma. The leading drawback of caste-based system was that Brahmans could not learn military, administration and trade nor could they take to farming. Similarly, the Khshatriyas had also to depend on people of other caste, the Vaishyas could also not acquire expertise of knowledge, trade and agriculture. The Shudras were also deprived of the privileges enjoyed by the three castes. The Buddha opposed the domination of Brahman’s domination, because this caste virtually had completed control over other castes. Their profession was hereditary and they were considered specialists in sacrifices and rituals which could only be performed by the Brahmans. Hence, they were held in high esteem by all other castes due to their superior spiritual and intellectual capabilities, hence they commanded respect of all other castes. Brahmans were also the educators, teachers, religious leaders and their role in society ranged from birth until death. At that time all the scriptures and treatises were available in Sanskrit language which was only known to the Brahmans, hence people of other castes were obliged to seek knowledge, education, rituals and sacrifices from them, due to their monopoly on performance and teachings. Second, the Ksattriya, which is a military and ruling class in India, born from the shoulders of Brahma. Chinese render it as landowners and royal caste, the caste from which the Buddha came forth. Ruling class: The warrior and ruling castes in India during Sakyamuni’s time (a member of the military or reigning order). The second of the four Indian castes. The other castes were the Brahmanas, the Vessas, and the Sudras (the priest caste, the merchants or workers, and the servants or slaves). At the time of the Buddha, the Aryan clas in India recognized four social grades called varnas (a colour), the highest being the Brahmin or priest Bà la môn). Next comes the Kshatriya (Sát đế lợi), the Warrior ruler; then the Vaishya or merchant; and lastly the Sudra or people of non-Aryan descent. As religious power and ritual observance were confined to the Brahmans alone, the Khshatriyas wielded control and influence on military and general administration. They were warriors and leaders, so military and political power gathered in their hands. Thus, they became the hereditary rulers and lineage passed from one generation to another. The third class is the Vaisya or traders and landlords. Vaisya, born from the flanks of Brahma. The Vaishyas were a class of traders, merchants and businessmen who controlled business activities in the society. This caste possessed wealth and their activities also passed on from one generation to another. The fourth class is the Sudra. Farmers and serfs, born from the feet of Brahma. Shudras were entrusted the work of tilling the land, sowing the seeds, harvesting the crops and planting trees, vegetables, etc. According to those who believe in Hinduism, Shudras were not slaves, they were the servants of the society. No matter what they say, until now, Shudras are still the poorest caste in India.
According to Most Venerable Piyadassi in “The Buddha’s Ancient Path,” caste, rank, color and even wealth and power can not necessarily make a man a person of value to world. Only his character makes a man great and worthy of honor. It is character that illumines wisdom. According to the Anguttara Nikaya, the Buddha taught: “Radian is the mind at birth, it is polluted only by defilements from without.” It is indeed hard to curb the impulses and control evil inclinations, to give up what lures and holds us in slavery and to exorcise the evil spirits that haunt the human heart in the shape of unwholesome thoughts. These thoughts are the manifestations of lust, hate and delusion, the threefold army of Death, which can not be routed until one has attained real purity by constant training of the mind. Buddhism is a Revolutionary that believed in the elimination of the Caste System. The Buddha taught: “One does not become of any caste, whether Untouchable, the lowest, or Brahmana, the highest, by birth, but by deeds. By deeds one becomes an outcast, and by deeds one becomes a Brahmana.” According to Buddhist legends, one day, Ananda passed by a well, was thirsty and asked a girl of Pariah caste to give him some water. She said she was of such low caste that he would become contaminated by taking water from her hand. But Ananda replied: “I ask not for caste but for water.” The girl was so glad so she gave him water to drink. The Buddha blessed her for it. In the Vasala Sutra, Sopaka reached the highest fame; that many Kshattriyas and Brahmanas came to serve him; and that after death he was born in the Brahma-world; while there are many Brahmanas who for their evil deeds are born in hell.
In the Dharmapada Sutra, the Buddha taught: “Strive hard to cut off the stream of desires. Oh! Brahman! Knowing that all conditioned things will perish. Oh! Brahman! You are a knower of the Unmade Nirvana! (Dharmapada 383). Abiding in the two states of tranquility and insight, a Brahaman is freed from all fetters and reaches the other shore (Dharmapada 384). There exists neither the hither nor the farther shore, nor both the hither and the farther shore. He who is undistressed and unbound, I call him a Bramana (Dharmapada 385). He who is meditative, stainless and secluded; he who has done his duty and is free from afflictions; he who has attained the highest goal, I call him a Brahmana (Dharmapada 386). The sun shines in the day; at night shines the moon; the armor shines the warrior king; the Brahman is bright in his meditation. But the Buddha shines in glory ceaselessly day and night (Dharmapada 387). He who has discarded evil is called a Brahmana. He who lives in peace called a Sramana. He who gives up all impurities is called a Pabbajita (religious recluse) (Dharmapada 388). One should not hurt a Brahmana, nor should a Brahmana let himself become angry on the one who hurt him (return evil for evil). Shame on him who strikes a Brahmana! More shame on him who let himself become angry, or who returns evil for evil! (Dharmapada 389). Brahmana! This is no small advantage. He who refrains from the pleasures of the senses; where non-violence is practiced, suffering will cease (Dharmapada 390). He who does no evil in body, speech and mind, who has firmly controlled these three, I called him a Brahmana (Dharmapada 391). If from anyone one should understand the doctrine preached by the Fully Enlightened One, one should reverence him profoundly as a Brahmin worship before the ritual fire (Dharmapada 392). Not by matted hair, nor by family, nor by noble birth, one becomes a Brahmana. But he in whom there exists both truth and righteousness; he who practices truth and Dharma; he who makes himself holiness, I call him a Brahmana (Dharmapada 393). What will matted or shaved hair do? What is the use of garment of goatskin, or yellow saffron robe? What is the use of polishing the outside when the inside is full of passions? (Dharmapada 394). The person who wears dust-heap robes, but who is lean and whose veins stand out, who meditates alone in the forest, I call him a Brahmana (Dharmapada 395). I do not call him a Brahmana merely because he is born of a Brahmin family or his mother is a Brahmin; nor do I call him who is wealthy a Brahmana. However, the poor man who is detached, I call him a Brahmana (Dharmapada 396). He who is fetter-free, who trembles not, who is unshackable (goes beyond ties or free from all ties), I call him a Brahmana (Dharmapada 397). He who has cut the strap of hatred, the thong of craving, and the rope of heresies, who has thrown up the cross bar of ignorance, who is enlightened, I call him a Brahmana (Dharmapada 398). He who is never angry, who endures reproach, whose powerful army is tolerance, I call him a Brahmana (Dharmapada 399). He who is never angry, but is dutiful and virtuous, free from craving, who is pure and restrained; who bears his final body, I call him a Brahmana (Dharmapada 400). He who does not cling to sensual pleasures, like water on a lotus leaf, like a mustard seed on the point of a needle, I call him a Brahmana (Dharmapada 401). He who realizes even here in this world the destruction of his sorrow, whose burden is ended and whose sufferings are over, I call him a Brahmana (Dharmapada 402). He whose knowledge is deep and wisdom is profound, who knows right from wrong, who has reached the highest goal (realizes the truth), I call him a Brahmana (Dharmapada 403). He who is not intimate either with householders or with the homeless ones, who wanders without an abode, who has no desires, I call him a Brahmana (Dharmapada 404). He who does not use the rod to damage creatures, big or small, who neither harms nor kills, I call him a Brahmana (Dharmapada 405). He who is friendly among the hostile, who is peaceful among the violent, who is unattached among the attached, I call him a Brahmana (Dharmapada 406). He whose passion, hatred, pride and hypocrisy fall off like a mustard seed from the point of a needle, I call him a Brahmana (Dharmapada 407). He whose speech is truthful, useful, free from harshness that is inoffensive, I call him a Brahmana (Dharmapada 408). He who takes nothing that is not given, good or bad, long or short, small or great, I call him a Brahmana (Dharmapada 409). He who, in this life or the next, has no desires and emancipated, I call him a Brahmana (Dharmapada 410). He who has no longings, who is free from doubt through knowledge, who immerses himself in the deathless, I call him a Brahmana (Dharmapada 411). He who has gone beyond the bondage of good and evil, who is pure and without grief, I call him a Brahmana (Dharmapada 412). He who is desireless and spotless as the moon, who is pure, serene and unperturbed, I call him a Brahmana (Dharmapada 413). He who has passed beyond the muddy road, the ocean of life the delusion, and reaches the other shore; who is meditative, free from craving and doubts, free from attachment or clinging to a so-called Nirvana, I call him a Brahmana (Dharmapada 414). He who, in this very world, gives up sensual pleasures, wanders homeless, has renounced all desire for existence, I call him a Brahmana (Dharmapada 415). He who, in this very life, gives up craving, wanders homeless, who destroys craving and becoming, I call him a Brahmana (Dharmapada 416). He who is free from human ties and transcending celestial ties, who is completely delivered from all ties, I call him a Brahmana (Dharmapada 417). He who gives up pleasurable and unpleasurable, who is cool and undefiled, who has conquerd the three worlds, I call him a Brahmana (Dharmapada 418). He who, in every way, knows the death and rebirth of beings, who is non-attached, happy and awakened, I call him a Brahmana (Dharmapada 419). He whose ways are known to neither gods, nor gandhabba, nor men, who has exhausted his sins and become a saint, I call him a Brahmana (Dharmapada 420). He who owns nothing, whether in the past, present and future, who is poor and attached to nothing, I call him a Brahmana (Dharmapada 421). He who is brave like a bull, noble, wise, pure, the conqueror, the desireless, the cleanser of defilements, the enlightened, I call him a Brahmana (Dharmapada 422). The sage who knows his former abodes; who sees the blissful and the woeful states; who has reached the end of births; who, with superior wisdom, who has perfected himself; who has completed all that needed to be done, I call him a Brahmana (Dharmapada 423).
563. Six Dharmas of Naropa Order
Tantric practices taught to Marpa Chogi Lodro by Naropa (1016-1100) and brought to Tibet by him. These six methods are particularly important to the Kagyupa order. First, heat (candali), which involves increasing and channeling inner heat through visualizing fire and the sun in various places of the meditator’s body. Second, illusory body (maya-deha), a practice in which one mentally generates an image of a subtle body composed of subtle energies and endowed with the ideal qualities of a buddha, such as the six paramitas. This is eventually transformed into the “vajra-body,” symbolizing the state of Buddhahood. Third, dream (svapna), or dream yoga that trains the meditator to take control of and manipulate the process of dreams. Fourth, clear light (prabhasvara), or the yoga of a clear light which is based on the tantric notion that the mind is of the nature of clear light, and this practice involves learning to perceive all appearances as manifestations of mind and as representing the interplay of luminosity and emptiness. Fifth, intermediate state (antarabhava), or intermediate state yoga that trains the meditator for the state between birth and death, in which one has a subtle body, which is subjected to disorienting and frightening sights, sounds, and other sensory phenomena. A person who is adept in this yoga is able to understand that these are all creations of mind, and this realization enables one to take control of the process, which is said to present numerous opportunities for meditative progress if properly understood and handled. Sixth, transference of consciousness (samkrama), a yoga that develops the ability to project one’s consciousness into another body or to a Buddha-land (Buddha-ksetra) at the time of death. One who fully masters the technique can transmute the pure light of mind into the body of a Buddha at the time of death.
564. Twenty Kinds of Unreality
According to the Commentary of Abhisa-mayala-makara-loka, there are twenty kinds of Sunyata. First, the unreality of internal elements of existence. The first mode applies to physical facts, states such as feeling, volition, etc. Their nature is not described either as changing (akutastha) or totally undestroyable (avinasi); that is neither real nor unreal. This constitutes their Sunyata relatively or unrelatively. Second, the unreality of external objects. This relates to external forms because all forms can be external only. The external form is taken in shape of sense organs such as eye, nose, etc. This is known as the Unreality of External Objects. Third, the Unreality of both together as in the sense organs or the body. Since all the dharmas are unreal and the basis of all the dharmas is also unreal, their knowledge of dharmas and bases is also unreal. Fourth, the Unreality of the knowledge of Unreality. This is an important mode of Sunyata. The criticism that everything is relative, unreal may be thought to stand out as a view; when all things are rejected, the rejection itself could not be rejected. This rejection itself is as relative, unreal as the rejected. Fifth, the Unreality of the Great Space. Hence we can say that space is notional, our conception of it is relative to this distinction of directions east, west, etc, and also to the things resident in them. The Sunyata of space is termed as Great Space because it has infinite expanse. Sixth, the Unreality of the Ultimate Reality. By the Unreality of the Ultimate Reality is meant the unreality of Nirvana as a separate reality. Seventh, the Unreality of the Conditioned. This unreal and it is nothing in itself, it is neither permanent nor nonemergent. Eighth, the Unreality of the Unconditioned. The Unconditioned can only be conceived in contradiction to the conditioned; it is neither brought out into being nor destroyed by any activity of ours. Ninth, the Unreality of Limitless. This mode of Sunyata is with reference to our consciousness of the Limit and the Limitless. With regard to this unreality, T.R.V Murti says that it ight be thought that steering clear of the two extremes or ends of Existentialism and Nihilism, we are relying on a middle line of demarcation and that thereby the Middle or the Limitless is nothing in itself; the Middle position is no position at all, but a review of positions. Tenth, the Unreality of that which is Beginningless and Endless. This mode of Sunyata is similar in character. It applies to distinctions in time such as beginning, the middle and the end. These distinctions are subjective. We can say that nothing stands out rigidly on the beginning, the middle and the end, the times flow into each other. Consequent on the rejection of the beginning, etc, the beginningless too turns out to be notional; and it should be recognized as relative or unreal on the account. Eleventh, the Unreality of Undeniable. When we reject anything as untenable, something else is kept aside as unrejectable, the undeniable, it might be thought. Twelfth, the Unreality of the Ultimate Essence. All the things exist in themselves. Nobody causes them either to happen or to destroy them. The things are in themselves void, lack essential character of their own. Their is no change in our notions not in real. Thirteenth, the Unreality of All Elements. This mode of Sunyata only reiterates that all modes of being, phenomenal and noumenal lack essential reality and so are unreal. Fourteenth, the Unreality of All Definitions. In early Buddhism an attempt had been made to give a precise definition of entities, e.g., the impenetrability of matter, and apprehension of object of consciousness. This brings home to us that matter and other entities lack the essence attributed to them. All definition is of the nature of a distinction within general class and is therefore nominal in character. Fifteenth, the Unreality of the Past, the Present and the Future. The unreality or the purely nominal character of the past, the present and the future is demonstrable by the consideration that in the past itself there is no present and the future and the vice versa; and yet without such relating the consciousness of the past, etc, does not arise. Sixteenth, the Unreality of Relation or Combination conceived as non-ens (non-empirical). All the elements of the phenomenal existence are dependent on each other and they are dependent, and they have no nature of their own. Seventeenth, the Unreality of the Positive Constituents of Empirical Existence. The five upadana skandhas, i.e., duhkha, samudaya, loka, drsti and bhava do not stand for any objective reality, their collection is a non-entity, as it is a grouping subjectively imposed upon them. This shows that corresponding to words and concepts there is no entity. Eighteenth, the Unreality of the Non-empirical. The Unconditioned conceived as the absence of the five groups is also unreal. Space, one of the unconditioned is defined as non-obstruction. This is determined solely by the absence of the positive characters. The same is the case with Nirvana, another uncondtioned. Nineteenth, the Unreality of the Self-being. This mode of Sunyata emphasizes the nature of reality as something existing in itself. It may be stated that “svabhava” is here dialectically justaposed to Sunyata. Twentieth, the Unreality of Dependent Being. In this case also no external factor like the agent or his instruments play any part in making up its reality.
565. Twenty-Five Forms of Emptiness
In Pali Nikaya, first, the Sunnata, in non-philosophic meaning, is as non-substantiality and the ideal of Sunnata that we should contemplate exactly what is negative or affirmative followings its reality. Sunnata is also defined as ‘anatta’ because of void of a self and nothing belonging to a self, and it comes to exist by the cause of 12 nidanas. Finally, Sunnata is considered as Nibbana because Nibbana is the state of final release. There are twenty-five modes of Sunnata in Pali Nikaya: sunnasunnam, samkharasunnam, viparinamasunnam, aggasunnam, lakkhhnasunnam, vikkhambhanasunnam, tadangasunnam, samucchedasunnam, patippassadhisunnam, nissaranasunnam. ajjhattasunnam, bahiddhasunnam, dubhatosunnam, sabhagasunnam, visabhagasunnam, esanasunnam, pariggahasunnam, patilabhasunnam, pativedhasunnam, ekattasunnam, nanattasunnam, khantisunnam, adhitthanasunnam, pariyogahanasunnam, and paramatthasunnam.
566. Seven Kinds of Emptiness
In The Lankavatara Sutra, the Buddha reminded Mahamati about ‘Emptiness’ as thus: “Listen, Mahamati, to what I tell you. The idea of Sunyata belongs to the domain of imaginative contrivance, and as people are apt to cling to the terminology of this domain, we have the doctrines of Sunyata, Anutpada, Advaya, and Nihsvabhava, i.e., with the view of freeing from the clinging.” Briefly, there are seven kinds of Emptiness. First, the Emptiness of Appearance (Lakshana). What is meant by Emptiness of Appearance? Existence is characterized by mutual dependence; individuality and generality are empty when one is regarded apart from the other; when things are analyzed to the last degree, they are to be comprehended as not existent; there are, after all, no aspects of individuation such as “this,” “that,” or “both;” there are no ultimate irreducible marks of differentiation. For this reason, it is said that self-appearance is empty. By this is meant that appearance is not a final fact. According to Zen Master D.T. Suzuki in Essays in Zen Buddhism, Book III, in Hsuan-Chuang’s version of the Mahaprajnaparamita, this is one of the eighteen forms of emptiness. Lakshana is the intelligible aspect of each individual object. In some cases Lakshana is not distinguishable from primary nature, they are inseparably related. The nature of fire is intelligible through its heat, that of water through its coolness. The Buddhist monk finds his primary nature in his observance of the rules of morality, while the shaven head and patched robe are his characteristic appearance. The Prajnaparamita tells us that these outside, perceptible aspects of things are empty, because they are mere appearances resulting from various combinations of causes and conditions; being relative they have no reality. By the emptiness of self-aspect or self-character (Svalakshana), therefore, is meant that each particular object has no permanent and irreducible characteristics to be known as its own. Second, the Emptiness of self-substance (Bhavasbhava). What is meant by Emptiness of Self-substance? It is because there is no birth of self-substance by itself. That is to say, individualization is the construction of our own mind; to think that there are in reality individual objects as such, is an illusion; they have no self-substance, therefore, they are said to be empty. The unreality, or immateriality of substance, the “mind-only” theory, that all is mind or mental, a Mahayana doctrine. Corporeal entities are unreal, for they disintegrate. According to Zen Master D.T. Suzuki in Essays in Zen Buddhism, Book III, in Hsuan-Chuang’s version of the Mahaprajnaparamita, this is one of the eighteen forms of emptiness.Svabhava means ‘to be by itself,’ but there is no such being it is also empty. Is then opposition of being and non-being real? No, it is also empty, because each term of the opposition is empty. Third, the Emptiness of Non-action (Apracarita). What is meant by Emptiness of Non-action? It means that harboured in all the Skandhas there is, from the first, Nirvana which betrays no sign of activity. That is, their activities as perceived by our senses are not real, they are in their nature quiet and not doing. Therefore, we speak of non-acting of the Skandhas, which is characterized as emptiness. Fourth, the Emptiness of action (Pracarita). What is meant by the Emptiness of Action? It means that the Skandhas are free of selfhood and all that belongs to selfhood, and that whatever activities are manifested by them are due to the combination of causes and conditions. That is, they are not by themselves independent creating agencies, they have nothing which they can claim as belonging to their “self,” and their karmic activities are generated by the conjunction of many causes or accidents. For which reason there is what we designate the Emptiness of Action. Fifth, the Emptiness of the Unnamability (Sarvadharma). What is meant by the Emptiness of the Unnamability (không thể được gọi tên) of All Things? As this existence is dependent upon our imaginative contrivance, there is no self-substance in it which can be named and described by the phraseology of our relative knowledge. This unnamability is designated here as a form of emptiness. Sixth, the Emptiness of the highest degree by which is meant Ultimate Reality or Supreme Wisdom (Paramartra). What is meant by Great Emptiness of Ultimate Reality, which is Supreme Wisdom. When the supreme wisdom is realized in our inner consciousness, it will then be found that all the theories, wrong ideas, and all the traces of beginningless memory are altogether wiped out and perfectly empty. This is another form of emptiness. Seventh, the Emptiness of Reciprocity (Itaretara). What is meant by Emptiness of Reciprocity? When whatever quality possessed by one thing is lacking in another, this absence is designated as emptiness. For instance, in the house of Srigalamatri there are no elephants, no cattle, no sheep, etc., and I call this house empty. This does not mean that there are no Bhiksus here. The Bhiksus are Bhiksus, the house is the house, each retaining its own characteristics. As to elephants, horses, cattle, etc., they will be found where they properly belong, only they are absent in a place which is properly occupied by somebody else. In this manner, each object has its special features by which it is distinguished from another, as they are not found in the latter. This absence is called Emptiness of Reciprocity.
567. Wandering-on-foot Monk
According to Japanese Buddhist tradition, wandering-on-foot monk is a monk who wanders on foot without residing at any places. This is the pilgrimage of a young Zen novice who has completed the first phrase of his training in a provincial temple to a Zen monastery, where he hopes to be accepted and receive training under a Zen master. Everywhere he went he is welcomed with respect. Even though he wears ragged clothes and eats only the simple food he could beg, but he is respected wherever he comes. In Japan, this is usually a pilgrimage to a distant monastery, often through trackless terrain and with peril. It was regarded as an opportunity for the novice to put his physical strength of character to the test, to develop presence of mind by overcoming unforeseen dangers, and, by meeting many different kinds of people in joyful as well as adverse circumstances, to ripen inwardly. In the prescribed equipage of a novice is a round straw hat with a very low brim. This directs the gaze of the pilgrim onto the path before him; it also prevents him from looking around, which would not be conducive to the mental concentration he is supposed to maintain during the entire pilgrimage. A black cloak, white woolen socks, and a straw sandals are also part of his outfit. On his chest, the monk carries a bundle with his summer and winter robes, his eating and begging bowls, a razor for shaving his head, and some sutra texts. On his back, he carries a rolled-up straw raincloak. When the monk has come through all the difficulties of the pilgrimage and arrived at the monastery, he is often refused in order to test the earnestness of his desire for spiritual training. If, after days of persistence outside the monastery, not rarely in rain and snow, or in the entrance hall of the monastery, he is finally let in, then he must provide a further proof of his seriousness through a week of sitting in a solitary cell under the most austere conditions before he is finally accepted into the monastic community.
568. Buddhism and Other Theories
First, Buddhism with Eschatological questions. In Buddhism, there are no ordinary eschatological questions because all beings are in the eternal flux of becoming. One should note, however, that birth incurs death, and death again incurs birth. Birth and death are two inevitable phenomena of the cycle of life which ever repeats its course. The end of self-creation is simply the realization of the Life-Ideal, that is, the undoing of all life-conditions, in other words, the attainment of perfect freedom, never more to be conditioned by causation in space-time. Nirvana is the state of perfect freedom. Second, the concept of homsexuality. Homosexuality means having sexual intercouse with the same sex. There is a wide range of opinions regarding homosexuality in various Buddhist groups. Buddhists do not encourage homosexuality, but in general, Buddhists are very tolerant towards all people. People aren’t to be judged or discriminated against if they are gay. Third, Buddhism is not culture-bound. It is not restricted to any particular society or race. In the contrary, it moves easily from one culture context to another because its emphasis is on internal pratice rather than external forms of religious behavior. According to Dr. Peter Della Santina in the Tree of Enlightenment, the most important thing in Buddhism is that each practitioner develops his or her own mind, not on how he dresses, the kind of food he eats, the way he wears his hair, and so forth.
569. Buddhist Festivals
Records of the ealry Buddhist monastic order indicate that festivals were discouraged, although there were numerous regularly held ceremonies, such as the fortnight recitaion of the Vinaya rules in the Posadha ceremony. As it became a religion with significant numbers of lay followers, however, regular festivals were developed. In contemporary Buddhism, there are numerous yearly and seasonal festivals, which serve a variety of functions, such as marking important occurences like the new year or the harvest. Others provide opportunities for merit-making, such as the robe-receivign ceremony (kathina), held annually in both Theravada and Mahayana traditions, or the Tibetan Monlam Chenmo festival. Buddhist festivals also serve the important function of promoting Buddhism to non-Buddhists, and they punctuate the year with religiously significant events. The most widely celebrated festival is the date commemorating the birth, awakening, and parinirvana of the Buddha. In Theravada countries, this is celebrated on the full-moon day in May. It is called Vesak in Sri Lanka, and Visakha Puja in Thailand. Other important Sri Lankan festivals include Poson, which commemorates the introduction of Buddhism to the island, and Esala Parahera, in which the Buddha’s tooth relic is paraded through the streets of Kandy. In Mahayana traditions, such as in China, Japan, Korea, Mongolia, Tibet and Vietnam, the Buddha’s Birth Day Festival is usually celebrated on April 8 or April 15, The Buddha’s Awakening Festival is celebrated on December 8, and the Buddha’s Nirvana Festival is celebrated on February 15. Another important Japanese festival is Setsubon (early February), which centers on driving away evil spirits. Other important festivals in Mahayana Buddhism include and annual “hungry ghost” (Preta) festival, in which offerings are given to placate these unhappy spirits. Some Important Buddhist Festivals such as the Birthday of Buddha Sakyamuni on the 15th of the Fourth month of Lunar calendar, the Festival of Hungry Ghosts or the Ullambana on the 15th of seventh month of Lunar calelndar, and the Festival of the Buddha’s Enlightenment Date on the 15th of the twelfth month of lunar calendar.
Celebration Days of some important Buddhas and Bodhisattvas. Festivals on the first month of lunar calendar include the Maitreya Bodhisattva’s Birthday (the first day of the first month Lunar calendar), and the Samadhi Light Buddha’s Birthday (the 6th of the first month Lunar calendar). Festivals on the second month of lunar calendar include the Sixth Patriarch’s Birthday (the 8th day of the second month Lunar calendar), the Kuan Shi Yin Bodhisattva’s Birthday (the 19th of the second month Lunar calendar), and the Universal Worthy Bodhisattva’s Birthday (the 21st day of the second month Lunar calendar). There is no festival on the third month of lunar calendar. Festival on the fourth month of lunar calendar include the Manjushri Bodhisattva’s Birthday (the 4th day of the 4th month Lunar calendar), the Birthday of Buddha Sakyamuni (the 15th of the Fourth month of Lunar calendar), and the Medicine King Bodhisattva’s Birthday (the 28th of the 4th month Lunar calendar). There is no festival on the fifth month of lunar calendar. There is one festival on the sixth month of lunar calendar, the celebration of Kuan Shi Yin Bodhisattva’s Enlightenment (the 13th of the 6th month and the 19th of the 6th month Lunar calendar). Festivals on the seventh month of lunar calendar include the Rain Retreat, which begins around the 15th of the fourth month and ends around the 15th of the seventh month of lunar calendar, the festival of hungry ghosts or the Ullambana on the 15th of seventh month of Lunar calelndar, Nagarjuna (Dragon Tree) Bodhisatva’s Birthday (the 24th day of the 7th month Lunar calendar), Earth Store Bodhisattva’s Birthday (the 30th day of the 7th month Lunar calendar), and Great Strength Bodhisattva’s Birthday (the 13th day of the 7th month Lunar calendar).
Festivals on the eighth month of lunar calendar include the Sixth Patriarch’s Entering Nirvana Day (the 3rd day of the 8th month Lunar Calendar), and (Dipankara Buddha) Burning Lamp Buddha of Antiquity’s Birthday (the 22nd of the 8th month Lunar calendar). Festivals on the ninth month of lunar calendar include Festival of Bodhisattva Avalokitesvara on the 19th of the ninth month of Lunar calendar, and Medicine Master Buddha’s Birthday (the 30th day of the 9th month Lunar calendar). Festivals on the tenth month of lunar calendar, the celebration of Venerable First Patriarch Bodhidharma’s Birthday (the 5th day of the 10th month Lunar calendar). There is one festival on the eleventh month of lunar calendar, the celebration of Amitabha Buddha’s Birthday (Festival of Amitabha Buddha on 17th of the 11th month Lunar calendar). Festivals on the twelfth month of lunar calendar include Festival of the Buddha’s Enlightenment Date on 15th of the twelfth month of luna calendar, and Avatamsaka Bodhisattva’s Birthday (29th day of the twelfth month Lunar calendar).
Besides, there are Ten fast days. The ten “fast” days of a month based on Lunar calendar are 1, 8, 14, 15, 18, 23, 24, 28, 29, 30. Eating flesh, hunting, fishing, execution, etc. are forbidden in those days. These are also ten Buddhas or Bodhisattvas connected with the ten “fast” days. First, the day of Samadhi Buddha, which is on the 1st day. Second, the day of Medicine Master Buddha, which is on the 8th day. Third, the day of Samantabhadra Bodhisattva, which is on the 14th day. Fourth, the day of Amitabha Buddha, which is on the 15th day. Fifth, the day of Avalokitesvara Bodhisattva, which is on the 18th day. Sixth, the day of Mahasthama-prapta Bodhisattva, which is on the 23rd day. Seventh, the day of Ksitigarbha (Earth-Store) Bodhisattva, which is on the 24th day. Eighth, the day of Vairocana Buddha, which is on the 28th day. Ninth, the day of Medicine King (Bhaisajya) Buddha, which is on the 29th day. Tenth, the day of Sakyamuni Buddha, which is on the 30th day.
570. Three Main Schools in Buddhism
The first school is the Southern School or Theravada. The Southern or Theravada (Teachings of the Elders), also known as the Hinayana, which arose in southern India, whence it spread to Ceylon, Burma, Thailand, Laos and Cambodia. The “Little or minor (small) Vehicle.” Name of the earliest system of Buddhist doctrine, opposed to the Mahayana. This is the term which the Mahayana utilizes to refer to the those who follow Theravada for they have own liberation goal rather than that of all beings. In fact, Hinayana developed between the death of Buddha and the 1st century BC and it represented the original and pure teaching as it was taught by the Buddha. The essence of the teaching is expressed in the four noble truths, the doctrine of dependent arising, the teaching of the ego, the law of karma and the eightfold noble path.
The second school is the North School or the Mahayana (Major Vehicle or the school of Mahayana). After the Buddha’s death, Buddhism was divided into many schools. The two main branches were Hinayana and Mahayana. Whoever seeks to become an arhat belongs to the Hinayana; while whoever seeks to become a Buddha belongs to the Mahayana. Right after the Buddha’ death the school of Mahayana, attributed to the rise in India of the Madhyamika (the school ascribed to Nagarjuna) and the Yoga; the rest of the sects belonged to the Hinayana. The Madhyamika and Yoga were called Tsan-Luan and Dharmalaksana in China. In Japan, only Kosa and Satyasiddhi belong to the Hinayana; the rest of other schools belong to the Mahayana. The Mahayana moved from northern India to Tibet, Mongolia, China, Vietnam, Korea, and Japan. Unlike Southern Buddhism, which tended to remain conservative and doctrinaire, the Mahayana adapted itself to the needs of peoples of diverse racial and cultural backgrounds and varying levels of understanding. The greater vehicle, one of the two great schools of Buddhism (Hinayana and Mahayana). The Mahayana arose in the first century BC. It is called Great Vehicle because its objective is the salvation of all beings. It opens the way of liberation to a great number of people and indeed, expresses the intentionto liberate all beings. One of the most critical in Mahayana is that it stresses the value on laypersons. It emphasizes that laypersons can also attain nirvana if they strive to free themselves from worldly bondages. Major Mahayana sects include Hua-Yen, T’ien T’ai, Zen and the Pure Land. It should be noted that Mahayana spread from India to Tibet, China, Korea and Viet Nam. We must recognize that the Mahayana has contributed a great deal to Buddhist thought and culture. It has produced a wonderful Path of Bodhisattvas. Sakyamuni Buddha set an example by his own career that people could emulate. The goal of this career was Enlightenment and Buddhahood, and the way was the way of the Bodhisattva. The Third Council was held during the reign of Emperor Asoka in the third century B.C., there were already at least eighteen schools, each with its own doctrines and disciplinary rules. Among them, two schools dominated the deliberations at the Third Council, an analytical school called Vibhajyavadins, and a school of realistic pluralism known as the Sarvastivadins. The Council decided in favor of the analytical school and it was the views of this school that were carried to Sri Lanka by Asoka’s missionaries, led by his son Mahendra. There it became known as the Theravada. The adherents of the Sarvastivada mostly migrated to Kashmir in the north west of India where the school became known for its popularization of the path of the perfections of the Bodhisattva. However, another Council (the Fourth Council) was held during the reign of King Kanishka in the first century A.D. in Kashmir; two more important schools emerged, the Vaibhashikas and the Sautrantikas. These two differed on the authenticity of the Abhidharma; the Vaibhashikas holding that the Abhidharma was taught by the Buddha, while the Sautrantikas held that it was not. By this time, Mahayana accounts tell us, a number of assemblies had been convened in order to compile the scriptures of the Mahayana tradition, which were already reputed to be vast in number. In the north and south west of India as well as Nalanda in Magadha, the Mahayana was studied and taught. Many of the important texts of the Mahayana were believed to have been related by Maitreya, the future Buddha and other celestial Bodhisattvas. The written texts of Mahayana as well as those of other schools began to appear about 500 years after the Buddha’s Nirvana. The earliest Mahayana sutras such as the Lotus Sutra and the Sutra of the Perfection of Wisdom are usually dated before the first century A.D. The essence of the Mahayana Buddhism is the conception of compassion for all living beings. The Mahayana, with its profound philosophy, its universal compassion and its abundant use of skillful means, rapidly began to attract the majority of people, not only in India, but in the newly Buddhist lands of central Asia. The origin of Mahayana may be traced to an earlier school known as Mahasanghika and earlier literary sources known as Mahayana Sutras. By the first century A.D., the formation of the Mahayana Buddhism was virtually complete, and most of the major Mahayana sutras were in existence. Theoretically speaking, Mahayana Buddhism is divided into two systems of thought: the Madhyamika and the Yogacara.
The third school is the Mantrayana. The esoteric method. The esoteric Mantra, or Yogacara sect, developed especially in Shingon, with Vairocana as the chief object of worship, and the Mandalas of Garbhadhatu and Vajradhatu. The esoteric teaching or Tantric Buddhism, in contrast with the open schools (Hiển giáo). The Buddhist tantra consists of sutras of a so-called mystical nature which endeavor to teach the inner relationship of the external world and the world of spirit, of the identity of Mind and universe. Among the devices employed in tantric meditational practices are the following. First, the contemplation of the Mandala. Mandala means “circle,” “assemblage,” “picture.” There are various kinds of mandala, but the most common in Esoteric Buddhism are of two types: a composite picture graphically portraying different classes of demons, deities, Buddhas and Bodhisattvas, representing various powers, forces, and activities, within symbolic squares and circles, and in the center of which is a figure of the Buddha Vairocana, the Great Illuminator; and a diagrammatic representation wherein certain sacred Sanskrit letters, called “bija” or “seeds” are substituted for figures. Second, the contemplation of the Mantra. Mantras are the sacred sounds, such as OM, for example, are transmitted from the master to his disciple at the time of initiation. When the disciple’s mind is properly attuned, the inner vibrations of this word symbol together with its associations in the consciousness of the initiate are said to open his mind to higher dimension. Third, mudra. Mudras are physical gestures, especially symbolical hand movements, which are performed to help evoke certain states of mind parallel to those of Buddhas and Bodhisattvas. The Esoteric School is divided into two divisions. First, the Miscellaneous Mystic Sect. What we designate as “Miscellaneous Mystic” of which mantras were translated early in the fourth century A.D. Srimitra of Kucha, a Central Asian state inhabited by a white race, translated some texts into Chinese. These were charms, cures, and other sorts of sorcery, often containing some matra prayers and praises of gods or saints of higher grades, but generally speaking they could not be regarded as expressing a high aspiration. Second, the Pure Mystic Sect. What we can designate as ‘Pure Mystic’ begins with some able Indian teachers who arrived in China during the T’ang period (713-765). First, Subhakarasimha (637-735), second, Vajrabodhi (663-723), third, Amoghavajra (705-774), and fourth, I-Hsing (683-727).
571. Seven Special Places After the Buddha’s Enlightenment
After Enlightenment, the Buddha is said to have bathed in the Sakra tank. The two tanks which now still exist, one in the Pipal Pati hamlet, south of Buddha Pokhara and the other is the Tikahigha hamlet, east of the former, seem to be the tanks, Sakra and Muchilinda respectively. After taking a bath in the Sakra tank, the Buddha sat cross-legged at the foot of the Bodhi Tree gazing at it for seven days, enjoying the bliss of Nirvana. He spent the second week in walking to and fro near the Bodhi Tree. The site the Buddha’s Promenade also known as “Shrine of the Jewel Walk,” is along the northern side of the Maha Bodhi Temple. The foot-steps of the Buddha are represented by lotus flowers on a narrow masonry platform about 53 feet long, 3.6 feet broad and a little more than 3 feet high. First, the Diamond Throne. The Diamond Throne or Vajrasana is situated between the Bodhi Tree and the Maha Bodhi temple. This seat is made of stone which is 7.6 feet long, 4.10 feet broad and 3 feet high, where Prince Siddharttha sat to become Buddha and which is the holiest of holy places to the Buddhist world. It is said that Diamond Throne is the immutable place for the Enlightenment of all the Buddhas and it is also the navel of the earth. No other place can support the weight of the Buddha’s Enlightenment and none can travel in the air immediately above it, not even Sakka or Indra. Second, the Animeshalochana Stupa. The Animeshalocana stupa is located within the courtyard of the Maha Bodhi Temple in Bodhgaya. This is a small stupa erected at the site where the Buddha stood during the third week, out of gratitude, stood gazing at the Bodhi Tree for giving him shelter, while he attained Supreme Enlightenment. The stupa was built in bricks, some of which are carved. It is square at the base and, tapering towards the top, the height being 55 feet. Third, the Chankramana Chaitya. The site is marked by a raised platform along the northern wall of the main temple of Maha Bodhi Temple at Bodhgaya. At this place, the Buddha spent one week walking up and down in meditation. The platform is 3 feet high and 60 feet long. The stumps of pillars, still existing, indicate that the walk was flanked with stone pillars which probably supported a roof over it. On the platform, there are lotuses to indicate the place where the Buddha’s feet rested while walking. Fourth, the Ratanagraha Chaitya. This is a small roofless shrine, marks the place where the Buddha spent the fourth week in meditation and recited to himself “Samants Pathana.” While in contemplation, the blue, yellow, red, white, and orange rays emanated from his body. The Buddhist Flag of India and Ceylon are designed with these colors. Fifth, the Rajayatana Tree. This is the tree under which the Buddha spent the seventh week after his Supreme Enlightenment. The actual site is not known yet. The Buddha is said to have sat on a stone seat which sprang up there from the ground and there he made his first converts, Tapussa and Balluka, two merchants from Utkala, modern Orissa. From the Rajayatana tree, the site of which has not been identified yet, the Buddha returned to the Bodhi Tree and, after sometime, thoughtfully proceeded to the Deer Park at Sarnath, modern Isipatana. Sixth, the Ajapala Nigrodha Tree. It was under this tree that Sujata offered milk-rice to the Buddha before he left for the Bodhi Tree. Here he is said to have spent the fifth week after His Supreme Enlightenment. The actual site of this tree has not been identified yet, but a place within the premises of a Hindu temple in the village of Bakraur on the eastern bank of Nerajara river is pointed out as the site where this tree stood. The site of Sujata Kutir is nearby. Seventh, the Mucalinda Lake. This is a famous lake at Bodhgaya, about 2 kilometers south to the Lotus Tank, is pointed out the spot where the Buddha spent the sixth week. While the Buddha was meditating near the lake, there broke out a severe thunder storm. Seeing that the Buddha was getting drenched and Naga king of the lake called “Calinda” came out from his abode and encircling the body of the Buddha, held his hood over him.
572. Buddhist Flag
According to Buddhist records, as the Buddha sat under the Bodhi Tree, six rays of light emitted from his body after his Enlightenment. Based on this, the Buddhist flag indicates that all the different races in the world can live happily under the shield of the Buddha’s wisdom. The Buddhist flag is made of five colors: blue, yellow, red, white, and orange, has been used in Sri Lanka since 1882. In 1950, at the first World Buddhist Conference, held in Colombo, a resolution was passed to accept the flag as the International Buddhist Symbol. The five colors of the flag represented the aura of the Buddha’s body which was seen on the day of his Enlightenment. Blue stands for devotion, yellow for intellect, red for love, white for purity and orange for energy.
573. Eight Aspects of Buddha’s Life
There are eight periods of Buddha’s life. First, descending from the Tushita Heaven Palace, or descend into and abode in the Tusita heaven. Second, abode at the Tushita and visibly preached to the devas. Third, entry into his mother’s womb (Queen Maha Maya). Fourth, birth from his mother’s side in Limbini. Fifth, leaving the home life (leaving home at the age of 29 as a hermit). Sixth, subduing mara and accomplishing the Way. After six years suffering, subduing mara and attaining enlightenment. Seventh, turning the Dharma wheel (rolling the Law-wheel or preaching). Eighth, entering nirvana (Parinirvana) at the age of 80.
574. Places That Are Related to the Buddha’s Life and Activities
According to Fa-Hsien in the Records of the Western Lands, there were a lot of stupas associated with some activities of the Buddha; however, he only mentioned some that attracted his attention, or some he thought they were important enough to record in his journal. They usually were stupas that were built over the places of commemoration of the Buddha. First, where Prince Siddhartha Gautama was born at Lumbini garden. Second, where Prince Siddhartha Gautama, having left the city by Eastern gate, saw a sick man and ordered His charioteer Channa to return to the palace at Kapilavastu. Third, where Prince Siddhartha Gautama dismissed His charioteer Channa and His white horse Kanthaka in the country of Ràmagràma. Fourth, where the Buddha practiced austerity for six years. Fifth, where the Buddha once bathed and a deity lowered a branch of a tree for Him to hold on and step out of the water. Sixth, where the maidens of Gramika offered milk and rice to the Prince. Seventh, where the Buddha sat facing east on a rock under a great tree and ate rice. Eighth, where Prince Siddartha Gautama attained Buddhahood at Gaya. Ninth, where the Buddha, seven days after His enlightenment looked at the Bodhi Tree and enjoyed the bliss of emancipation at Gaya. Tenth, where the Buddha walked from east to west for seven days under the Bodhi Tree at Gaya. Eleventh, where the deities raised a terrace made of seven precious substances to make offerings to the Buddha for seven days at Gaya. Twelfth, where the Buddha sat on a square rock facing east under a Nyagrodha tree when Brahma came to invite Him to preach the Dharma at Gaya. Thirteenth, where four celestial kings presented Him with an alms-bowl at Gaya. Fourteenth, where five hundred merchants offered Him flour and honey at Gaya. Fifteenth, where the Buddha sat facing east, preached the first sermon and converted Kaundinya and his companions at Varanasi in the Deer Park. Sixteenth, where he predicted the future of Maitreya Buddha at Varanasi in the Deer Park. Seventeenth, where the dragon Elàpattra asked the Buddha when he could be free from his dragon form at Varanasi in the Deer Park. Eighteenth, where the Buddha converted the three Kasyapa brothers and their thousand disciples at Gaya. Ninteenth, where the Buddha returned to see His father after His Enlightenment at Kapilavastu. Twentieth, where the earth quaked six times when five hundred princes of the Sakya clan worshipped Upali after having renounced their home at Kapilavastu. Twenty-first, where the Buddha preached the Dharma to the deities while the four celestial kings guarded the four gates of the half to prevent king Suddhodana from entering at Kapilavastu. Twenty-second, where the Buddha sat facing east under a nigrodha tree while Mahaprajapati offered Him a robe at Kapilavastu. Twenty-third, where gods Sakra and Brahma came down to earth from Trayastrimsa heaven along with the Buddha at Samkasya. Twenty-fourth, where nun Uptala was the first to worship the Buddha when He came down from Trayastrimsa at Samkasya. Twenty-fifth, where the Buddha expounded the Dharma to His disciples at Kanyakubja. Twenty-sixth, where the Buddha preached the Law, where He walked and where He sat at Hari village. Twenty-seventh, where the Buddha preached for the salvation of men, where He walked and where He sat at Sravasti city. Each stupa had a distinctive name. Twenty-eighth, where the Buddha stood by the roadside when king Virudhaka set out to attack the Sakya clan at Sravasti. Twenty-ninth, where king Virudhaka slaughtered the descendants of the Sakya Clan who had all attained to the first stage of Sainthood at Kapilavastu. Thirtieth, where the Buddha converted an evil demon, eight yojanas to the east of the garden of Ghoshira at Kausamba. Thirty-first, where the Buddha lived, where He walked at Champa. Thirty-second, where the Buddha left Vaisali with His disciples by the west gate and turning to the right looked back at the city and said: “This is the last place I have visited”. Thirty-third, where the Buddha lying in a golden coffin received homage for seven days at Kusinara. Thirty-fourth, where Vajrapanni laid down his golden mace at Kusinara. Thirty-fifth, where the Buddha entered into Nirvana at Kusinara.
575. The Buddha’s Nine Distresses
Nine distresses borne by the Buddha while he was still alive. First, He was badly slandered by Sundara. Second, Canca tried to dishonor him by pretending to pregnant and falsely accusing him. Third, Devadatta, his cousin, plotted to assassinate him by rolling stones down hill when he passed by the creek. Fourth, He wa pierced by an arrow accidentally. Fifth, son of King Prasenajit killed all people in the Sakya tribe. Sixth, due to his compassion, the Buddha accepted an invitation from a Brahman; however, when the Buddha and his order arrived, the Brahman refused to serve them. As a result, the Buddha and his order had to accept offering from the stable-keeper. Seventh, cold wind to cause back pain. Eighth, six years of ascetics. Ninth, entering the village for alms for three consecutive days without receiving any food (returning with empty bowl).
576. Four Way of Going Wrong
According to the Sangiti Sutta in he Long Discourses of the Buddha, there are four ways of going wrong. First, one goes wrong through desire. Second, one goes wrong through hatred. Third, one goes wrong through delusion. Fourth, one goes wrong through fear.
577. Four Things That May Not Be Treated Lightly
According to the Agama Sutra, there are four things that may not be treated lightly. First, a prince though young now, but he may become a king in the future, so not to treat him lightly. Second, a snake though small, but its venom can kill people, so not to treat it lightly. Third, a fire though tiny, but it may be able to destroy a big forest or meadow, so not to treat it lightly. Fourth, a novice though a beginner, but he may become an arhat, so not to treat him lightly.