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Pure Heart, Pure Mind, Pure Land

In the Diamond Sutra - Commentary Part IV refers to Commentary on Chapter 10 "The Adornment of Pure Lands".

In Chapter 10 of the Diamond Sutra, it is written:

The Buddha said to Subhuti, "What do you think? Was there any dharma which the Tathagata obtained while with Burning Lamp Buddha?"

"No, World Honored One, there was actually no dharma which the Tathagata obtained while with Burning Lamp Buddha."

"Subhuti, what do you think, does a Bodhisattva adorn Buddhalands?"

"No, World Honored One. And why? The adornment of Buddhalands is no adornment, therefore it is called adornment."

"Therefore, Subhuti, the Bodhisattva, Mahasattva, should thus produce a pure heart. He should produce that heart without dwelling in forms. He should produce that heart without dwelling in sounds, smells, tastes, tangible objects, or dharmas. He should produce that heart without dwelling anywhere."

"Subhuti, suppose a person had a body like Sumeru, King of Mountains. What do you think, would that body be big?"

Subhuti said, "Very big, World Honored One. And why? It is said by the Buddha to be no body. Therefore it is called a big body."

Bdhisattvas and Buddhas have conquered attachment to Dharma or phenomena such as "sounds, smells, tastes, tangible objects or dharmas". Thus, they are not unlike the sages of arhatship

For arhats, bodhiattvas. and Buddhas have attained nirvana.

Likewise, a Mahasattva, being a bodhisattva who has reached the eighth stage out of the ten stages of the bodhisattva, produces the pure heart by not being attached to forms.

Nor should he have attachment to the formless, which is depicted as the big body of Sumeru. Being very big, the Buddha calls it "no body".

"Being the King of Dharma, the Bodhisattva can perfect the beings in a chosen part of the world, and gradually transform into a Pure Land by the adornment of his merit and virtues. Pure Land is developed by pure mind; pure mind is developed when it does not abide in anything."

"King of Dharma" refers to the bodhisattva, an awakened being who has conquered attachment to forms, and thus is "not abiding in anything". Thus, he is free to perfect the sentient beings who dwell in his Pure Land, which is gradually transformed "by the adornment of his merit and virtues."

By conquering attachment to forms, the bodhisattva develops the pure mind that is able to develop the Pure Land into which she shall be reborn as Buddha.

In Buddhism, this world of birth-life-death is due to Karma. Since the spiritual maturity of sentient beings determines their living conditions, the Buddhaland, i.e. the Pure Land is forged through willpower and the result of the Bodhisattva's Karma. It offers the perfect conditions for quick spiritual progress.

When a Bodhisattva neither thinks nor says "I adorn Buddhalands", he truly realizes the emptiness of self and Dharma.

Unattached to any thought of self, and unattached to the Dharma of Buddhalands, the bodhisattva who adorns Buddhalands has no thought of adorning Buddhalands. Since the adornment of Buddhalands is but a name and lacks substance, a Bodhisattva such as a Mahasattva should produce pure heart.

Free from attachment with no mark, he produces that pure heart without dwelling in the Six Dusts, which are the Worldly Dusts — form, sound, scent, taste, touch, dharmas (external opinions and views). These dusts correspond to the five senses and the discriminating, everyday mind (the sixth sense, in Buddhism).

"He should produce that heart without dwelling in forms" summarizes the entire meaning of Diamond Sutra. When he heard of this sentence, the famous Sixth Patriarch Hui Neng experienced sudden enlightenment, resulting in his teaching of "no-thought", the "pure and unattached mind" which "comes and goes freely and functions fluently without any hindrance".

Consider the following doubt: "If there is no adornment of Buddha Lands, where would the Buddha's Retribution Body abide or dwell?" In Zen, the Retribution Body is the Sambhogakaya, which along with Nirmanakaya (transformation body) and Dharmakaya (Truth body) are metaphors for future good thoughts, discriminative thinking and the true Buddha. On this point, Master Hui Neng writes, "The successive thoughts that forever involve good are thus the Sambhogakāya."

In the Commentary, it is written:

"Shakyamuni Buddha cut off this doubt by declaring that the Dharma Body was not a body. His idea was that the land of no-land was permanently pure and illuminating and that the body of no-body was the Dharma Body. Both of them has no form. As the body could not be perceived by means of form, how then could the land be adorned?"

Likewise, Truth itself has no form, yet its marks are clearly seen in the Diamond Sutra.

"It is said by the Buddha to be no body, a body without comparison, a body without measurement, thus it is truly big body. No matter how big the physical body is, it is finite and measurable. The No body of Buddha is his Dharma Body as the result of his teachings, his wisdom and his merits, which is, of course, infinite immeasurable and incomparable. The Dharma Body is the true Buddha, while the Reward Body and the Transformation Body are not."

Thus the truth of the Buddha's teachings, his wisdom and his merits are immeasurable and incomparable.

When thinking discriminatively of the true Buddha, successive thoughts that forever involve good are truly future thoughts which are always good.

Original post: October 16, 2003 0153H
Update posted: March 6, 2013 2249H



Diamond Sutra: Commentary Part IV:

Dipankara Buddha:

Hui Neng:


In the Platform Sutra of the Sixth Patriarch, Chan Master Huineng describes the Samboghakaya as a state in which the practitioner continually and naturally produces good thoughts:

Think not of the past but of the future. Constantly maintain the future thoughts to be good. This is what we call the Sambhogakāya.

Just one single evil thought could destroy the good karma that has continued for one thousand years; and just one single good thought in turn could destroy the evil karma that has lived for one thousand years.
If the future thoughts are always good, you may call this the Sambhogakāya. The discriminative thinking arising from the Dharmakāya (法身↔fashen "Truth body") is called the Nirmanakāya (化身↔huashen "transformation body"). The successive thoughts that forever involve good are thus the Sambhogakāya

Worldly Dusts: Thich Thien Tâm, Buddhism of Wisdom and Faith, p. 335

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