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Dana - Giving
   

  In Praise of Dana (Giving)

  From Nagarjuna's Treatise on the Great Perfection of Wisdom (Dharmamitra Translation)

Question
  What benefits does dana bestow that the bodhisattva abiding in the prajnaparamita therefore fully perfects it?

Response
  Dana brings all manner of benefits. Dana serves as a treasury which constantly follows along with a person. Dana destroys suffering and bestows bliss upon people. Dana is a good guide which shows the way to the heavens. Dana is a storehouse of goodness for it draws in good people. ({Chinese Textual Note:} Giving draws in good people as a result of one's setting up causes and conditions {i.e. karmic affinities} with them. Hence the text reads "draws in.")

  Dana constitutes [a source of] peace and security. When one reaches the end of one's life one's mind is without fear. Dana is a mark of loving kindness. It is able to rescue everyone. Dana is able to gather together blisses and is able to rout the invaders of suffering. Dana is a great general which is able to defeat the enemy of miserliness.

  Dana is a marvelous fruit which is loved by gods and men. Dana is a path of purity travelled by the worthies and aryas. Dana is the entryway for the accumulation of goodness and meritorious qualities. Dana is a condition for the accomplishment of works and for the gathering together of a multitude. Dana is the seed of the treasured fruit of good actions. Dana is the mark of the good person endowed with meritorious karma.

  Dana destroys poverty and cuts one off from the three wretched destinies. Dana is able to preserve and protect the fruit of blessings and bliss. Dana is the primary condition for the realization of nirvana. It is the essential dharma for entry into the multitude of good people. It is the vast repository of good repute and praiseful commendation. It provides the quality of being free of difficulties in the midst of the multitudes. It is the cavernous mansion of the mind's freedom from regret. It is the origin of good dharmas and of one's cultivation of the Way. It is the dense forest of every manner of delight and bliss. It is the field of blessings for the reaping of wealth, nobility and peaceful security. It is the bridge across to the realization of the Way and entry into nirvana. It is traversed by the aryas, the great masters, and those possessed of wisdom. It is that which everyone else, those of minor virtue and lesser intelligence, should emulate.

Giving is like rescuing valuables from a fire
  Then again, it (dana) can be compared to [appropriate actions] when a house has caught fire. An intelligent person would clearly recognize the gravity of the situation and would hastily extricate his valuables before the fire reached them. Then, although the house might be burned to the ground, still, his valuables would be preserved so that he might rebuild his residence. A person who enjoys giving is just like this. Because he is aware of the fragility of the body and of the impermanence of material wealth he takes advantage of the opportunity to cultivate blessings. This is like removing one's possessions from the path of a fire. In a later life one is still able to experience bliss. This is like that person's work of rebuilding his house. One experiences comfort as a result of those blessings.

  The stupid and deluded person is concerned only with cherishing his house and so rushes about trying to save it. He proceeds madly and foolishly and, losing touch with common sense, fails to recognize the intensity of the blaze. In the fierce wind and towering flames even the earth and rocks are scorched. In a brief interval everything is utterly destroyed. Not only is the house not saved, but the wealth and valuables are all lost as well. To the end of his life he is tormented by hunger, cold, anguish and suffering.

  Miserly people are just like this. They do not realize that one's physical existence is impermanent, that one cannot guarantee even another moment of life. Nonetheless they dedicate themselves to amassing an accumulation [of possessions] which they protect and treasure. Death arrives unexpectedly and they suddenly pass away. One's physical form is of the same class with earth and wood. One's wealth, the same as withered goods, is entirely cast aside. They are also like a foolish man who experiences anguish and suffering as a result of errors in judgment.

Contemplatons to inspire the practice of giving
  Then again, if one is a person of great wisdom or a gentleman of fine mind, one will be able to awaken and realize that the body is like an illusion, that wealth can never be secure, that the myriad things are all impermanent, and that one can rely only upon one's merit. It has the capacity to pull a person forth from the river of suffering and open up the great Way

  Additionally, the great man of great mind is able to give greatly. He is able thereby to benefit himself. The petty man of petty mind is not only unable to benefit others but is also unable even to bestow liberal generosity upon himself.

  Then again, just as when a brave soldier spies an enemy he boldly and immediately vanquishes him utterly, so too, when an intelligent man of wise mind gains a deep realization of this principle, even though the thieves of miserliness may be powerful, he is nonetheless able to fell them and resolutely fulfill his determination. When he meets up with a good field of blessings, encounters the right time ("Time" here refers to the time when one ought to give. If one encounters it and yet does not give, this is referred to as "missing the time."), and realizes that the situation corresponds to his intentions, he is able to give greatly.

  Again, a person who takes pleasure in giving is respected by others. This is just as when the moon first emerges. There are none who do not cherish it. His fine name and good reputation are heard throughout the world. He is one who is relied upon and looked up to by others. Everyone trusts him. A person who delights in giving is borne in mind by those who are noble and respected by those of humble station. As his life draws to an end his mind is without any fearfulness.

  Such fruits gained in reward are obtained in this very life. An analogy can be made with fruit trees where, when the production of blossoms is great, countless fruits are produced. This describes the blessings received in future lives.

  As one turns about in the wheel of birth and death, going and coming in the five destinies, there are no relatives upon whom one can rely. There is only giving. Whether one is born in the heavens or among men, whenever one gains a pure result, it comes forth as a result of giving. Even among elephants, horses and other animals, their being given fine shelter and nourishment is also something they gain as a result of giving.

  The qualities gained on account of giving are wealth, nobility and bliss. Those who uphold the moral precepts succeed in being reborn in the heavens. Through dhyana and wisdom one's mind becomes pure and devoid of defiled attachment. Thus one gains the way of nirvana. The blessings gained as a result of giving constitute the provisions on that road to nirvana.

  When one brings giving to mind he experiences delight. On account of delight one develops unity of mind. With unity of mind one contemplates birth and death and impermanence. Because one contemplates birth, death and impermanence one is able to realize the Way.

  This is comparable to when a person plants trees because he seeks to have shade or perhaps plants trees because he seeks blossoms or seeks fruit. The aspiration for a reward in the practice of giving is just like this. The bliss acquired in this and future lives is comparable to the shade which is sought. The way of the hearers and pratyekabuddhas is analogous to the blossoms. The realization of buddhahood is analogous to the fruit. These are the various sorts of meritorious qualities associated with dana.

Pure giving versus impure giving
  Additionally, giving is of two types. There is that which is pure and that which is not pure. As for impure giving, it may involve a kind of superficial giving in which one takes no interest. Or perhaps it may be done for the sake of obtaining wealth. Perhaps one gives because of shame or perhaps one gives as a means of reproval or perhaps one gives out of terror or perhaps one gives out of a desire to draw favorable attention or perhaps one gives out of a fear of death, or perhaps one gives with the intention of manipulating someone into feeling pleased, or perhaps one gives out of a feeling of obligation because one is rich and noble, or perhaps one gives as a means of struggling for dominance, or perhaps one gives out of jealousy or hatred, or perhaps one gives out of arrogance or a desire to elevate oneself above others, or perhaps one gives for the sake of fame or reputation, or perhaps one gives out of an attempt to lend efficacy to incantations and prayers, or perhaps one gives in an attempt to do away with misfortune and gain good fortune, or perhaps one gives in order to gain a following, or perhaps one gives in a disrespectful fashion in order to slight someone and make them feel lowly. All of the various sorts of giving such as these are classified as impure giving.

  As for pure giving, any giving which stands in opposition to the above examples constitutes pure giving. Then again, giving for the sake of the Way is pure giving. When a pure mind arises which is devoid of any of the fetters and when one is not seeking for any reward in this or future lives, and when one does so out of reverence or sympathy, this qualifies as pure giving. Pure giving creates the provisions for moving on along the path to nirvana. Hence the reference to "giving for the sake of the Way."

  If one performs acts of giving at a time prior to the time when one might realize nirvana, it creates a cause for blissful retribution among gods and men. Pure giving is like a floral wreath when first made and not yet withered which is fragrant, pure, fresh and radiant. When one performs acts of pure giving for the sake of nirvana, one's [also] being able to experience the fragrance of karmic rewards occurs in this way.

  As the Buddha said, "There are two types of people who are rarely encountered in the world: The first, among those who have left the homelife, is a bhikshu who eats at the improper time and yet succeeds in gaining liberation. The second, among the white-robed householders, is one who is able to perform an act of pure giving." In life after life, the mark of this pure giving is never lost even after countless lifetimes. It is like a title deed which never loses its validity even to the very end.

The karmic fruits of giving
  This fruit of giving comes into being when the causes and conditions all come together. This is analogous to the fruit tree which when it encounters the right season then has flowers, leaves, fruit and seeds. If the season has not yet arrived, the cause still exists but there is not yet any fruit.

  As for this dharma of giving, if it is done in order to seek the Way, one is able [to gain it even] in the path of humans. How is this so? The destruction of the fetters is what is referred to as nirvana. Because when one is giving one's afflictions are slight, one is able to assist [one's progress towards] nirvana. Because one does not cling to the object which is given one gets rid of stinginess. On account of being respectfully mindful of the recipient one gets rid of jealousy. On account of giving with a straight mind, one gets rid of flattery and deviousness. On account of giving with a unified mind one gets rid of agitation. On account of giving with deep thoughts one gets rid of regretfulness. On account of contemplating the meritorious qualities of the recipient one gets rid of irreverence. On account of focusing one's own mind, one gets rid of a lack of a sense of shame. On account of becoming aware of another's fine meritorious qualities one gets rid of a lack of a sense of blame. On account of not being attached to objects of material wealth one gets rid of cherishing [such things]. On account of feeling loving-kindness and sympathy for the recipient one gets rid of hatefulness. On account of being respectful to the recipient one gets rid of arrogance. On account of learning to cultivate a wholesome dharma one gets rid of ignorance. On account of believing that there are resultant rewards one gets rid of erroneous views. On account of knowing that there will definitely be a retribution one gets rid of doubtfulness.

  All sorts of unwholesome afflictions such as these become scant when one cultivates the practice of giving. [At the same time] all manner of good dharmas are gained. When one gives, the six faculties (indriya) are pure and a thought characterized by wholesome zeal arises. On account of the arisal of a thought characterized by wholesome zeal, internally, ones mind is pure. On account of contemplating the meritorious qualities of the resultant retribution, thoughts of faith arise. On account of pliancy [developing] in the body and mind, delight arises. Because delight arises one achieves single-mindedness. Because one achieves single-mindedness, actual wisdom develops. All sorts of good dharmas such as these are gained.

  Moreover, when one gives, the mind develops a semblance of the eight-fold right path. Because one believes in the effects of giving, one gains right views. Because when one maintains right views one's thoughts are not confused, one gains right thought. Because one's speech is pure one gains right speech. Because one purifies one's physical actions one gains right action. Because one does not seek a reward, one gains right livelihood. Because one gives with a diligent mind, one gains right skillful means. Because one does not neglect being mindful of giving, one gains right mindfulness. Because one's mind dwells [in one place] and is not scattered, one gains right meditative absorption. In this same manner a semblance of the good dharmas of the thirty-seven wings [of enlightenment] develops within the mind.

  Moreover, there are those who say that giving generates the causes and conditions for the development of the thirty-two marks. . . .

  Furthermore, on account of making gifts of the seven precious things, workers, carriages, gold, silver, lamps, buildings, incense and flowers, one is able to become a wheel-turning monarch who possesses an abundance of the seven precious things. Additionally, on account of making gifts with timely appropriateness, one's karmic reward is increased. This is as stated by the Buddha, "If one gives to a person who is about to travel far, to a person who has come from far away, to a person who is sick, to a person who is treating the sick, or when there are manifold difficulties arising on account of winds or cold, this is what is meant by timely giving."

  Again, if when one gives in a way which accords with what is most needed in a particular place, one reaps from that an increased karmic reward.

  Also, if one performs an act of giving on the road in a wilderness area, one gains from that giving an increased measure of merit.

  If one continues giving constantly and without neglecting that practice, one gains an increased karmic reward thereby.

  If one gives a gift which accords with that which the solicitor desires, one gains from that an increased measure of merit.

  If one gives gifts which are valuable, one gains an increased measure of merit.

  If one gives monastic dwellings, parks, forests, bathing ponds and so forth, and if one gives them to good people, then, on account of that, one gains an increased karmic reward.

  If one gives to the Sangha, one gains on account of that an increased karmic reward.

  If both the giver and the recipient are possessed of virtue, an increased karmic reward is gained as a result of that. (The notes in red read, "For example, bodhisattvas and buddhas who give with a mind of compassion. This is what is intended by 'the giver.' Giving for example to buddhas, bodhisattvas, arhats or pratyekabuddhas is what is intended by 'the recipient.'")

  When one extends all manner of welcoming courtesies out of respect for the recipient, one gains from this an increased measure of merit.

  If one gives that which was difficult to come by one gains an increased amount of merit.

The painter's act of great giving
  If one is able to give all that one has one gains thereby an increased amount of merit. This is illustrated by the case of a painter by the name of Kar.na from the city of Pu.skaraavatii in the state of Greater Tokharestan. He had travelled to the east to the state of Tak.sa'silaa where he served as a painter to that court for a period of twelve years. He received payment of thirty double-ounces of gold for his work and took it back with him when he returned to the city of Pu.skaraavatii in his home state. [When he arrived there] he heard the sound of a drum beating to convene a great assembly. He went there and saw an assembly of the Sangha. With a mind of pure faith he asked the karmadana, "How much would be required to provide a day's food for this assembly?"

  The karmadana replied, "Thirty double-ounces of gold would be adequate to supply food for one day." He then immediately took the entire thirty double-ounces of gold and entrusted it to the karmadana saying, "Prepare on my behalf a day's food [for this assembly]. I will return here tomorrow." He then went back to his home empty-handed.

  His wife asked him, "What did you earn for your twelve years of work?" He replied, "I earned thirty double-ounces of gold." She immediately asked, "Where is the thirty double-ounces of gold now?" He replied, "It has already been planted in the field of merit." The wife asked, "What field of merit?" He replied, "I gave it to the assembly of the Sangha."

  His wife then had him bound and sent before a judge that his crime could be dealt with and the matter properly adjudicated. The grand judge asked, "On account of what matter [have you brought him here]?"

  The wife replied, "My husband has become crazy and deluded. He worked in royal service in a foreign country for twelve years and earned thirty double-ounces of gold. He had no compassionate regard for his wife or child and so gave it all away to other people. Thus I have relied on his being dealt through judicial decree. Hence I moved to have him swiftly bound and brought forth."

  The grand judge then asked her husband, "Why did you not share with your wife and child, preferring instead to give it away to others?

  He replied, "In previous lives I did not cultivate merit. In the present life I am poor and so have undergone all manner of bitter suffering. Now, in this life I have encountered the field of merit. If I do not plant merit, in later lives I will still be poor and so poverty will follow upon poverty continuously and there will be no time when I am able to escape it. I now wish to immediately relinquish this state of poverty. It is for this reason that I took all of the gold and gave it to the assembly of Sanghans."

  The grand judge was an upasaka who maintained a pure faith in the Buddha. When he heard these words he praised them, saying, "This is an extremely difficult thing to do. You applied yourself diligently and underwent suffering in order to obtain such a small material reward and then were able to take it all and give it to the Sangha. You are a good man." He then took off the string of pearls around his neck and then gave it to the poor man along with his horse and the income which he received from the taxes on an entire village. He then declared to him, "At the beginning when you had made the gift to the assembly of the Sangha but that assembly of sanghans had still not partaken of that food it was a case of the seed still not really having been planted. But now a sprout has already come forth from it. The great fruit [of your good deed] will come forth in the next life."

  It is for reasons such as this that it is said that one gains the most merit if one is able to give entirely of that which has been hard to come by.

Worldly giving versus supramundane giving
  What is meant by "worldly dana"? Worldly dana refers to giving carried out by common people and also refers to giving carried out by aryas when done with a mind subject to outflows. Then again, there are those who say that worldly dana refers to giving carried out by common people whereas, although an arya may give with a mind subject to outflows, because his fetters have been cut off, this [giving] is referred to as supramundane dana. How is this the case? Because this arya has realized the samadhi of wishlessness (apra.nihitasamadhi).

  Then again, worldly dana is impure. Supramundane dana is pure. There are two categories of fetters. One is subsumed under the category of craving and the other under the category of views. When one is under the influence of these two kinds of fetters this is worldly dana. When these two kinds of fetters are absent this is supramundane dana. When the three obstructions tie up the mind, this is worldly dana. How is this so? Dharmas which are the products of causes and conditions are actually devoid of a self. Thus if one says, "I give. He receives," that is therefore worldly dana.

  Additionally, "self" has no fixed location. That which I take to be "other," another person takes to be not so. That which another person takes to be "self" I take to be not so. On account of it's being unfixed, there is no actual self. That valuable object which is given exists through the coming together of causes and conditions. There is no single dharma which can by itself be gotten at. This is as exemplified by silk cloth or by [other] fabric. They are made through the coming together of manifold conditions. Apart from the silk filaments [on the one hand] and aside from the fibers [on the other], there is neither silk cloth or other fabrics. All dharmas are the same in this respect. Any single characteristic is devoid of any [individual] characteristic. Characteristics are eternally and inherently empty. That which people conceptualize and reckon to be existent is [a product of] inverted [views] and is not actual. [Giving based on such conceptions] is worldly dana.

Giving which is praised by the Aryas
  Where the mind is devoid of the three obstacles, where one actually knows the mark of dharmas and where one's mind is devoid of inverted [views], this is supramundane dana. Supramundane dana is that which is praised by the aryas. Worldly dana is that which is not praised by the aryas.

  Moreover, pure dana involves no intermixing with the defilement of the fetters. It is like the actual mark of all dharmas. It is that which is praised by the aryas. That which is not pure is intermixed with the fetters. It involves attachment by the inverted mind. It is that which is not praised by the aryas.

  Additionally, giving which occurs in conjunction with the wisdom which knows the reality mark is that which is praised by the aryas. If it is not of this sort, it is not praised by the aryas.

The giving of the hearers, Bodhisattvas Buddhas
  Moreover, if it is not done for the sake of beings, if it is not done for the sake of realizing the reality mark of all dharmas, and if it is done solely for the sake of gaining liberation from birth, old age, sickness and death, this is the dana of the hearers. If one gives for the sake of all beings and if one does so for the sake of realizing the reality mark of all dharmas, this is the dana of the buddhas and bodhisattvas. If one is unable to make one's giving replete with every manner of meritorious quality, but rather desires only to gain a minor measure thereof, this is the dana of the hearers. If one wishes to make it entirely replete with every manner of meritorious quality, this is the dana of the buddhas and bodhisattvas. If one gives out of a fear of old age, sickness and death, this is the dana of the hearers. If it is done to assist [the realization of] the buddha way, if it is done for the sake of transforming beings, and if it is not done out of fear of old age, sickness and death, this is the dana of the buddhas and bodhisattvas.

King Vaasava's marvelous offering
  As discussed in The Avadana Sutra, in the past, in Jambudvipa, there was a king named Vaasava. At that time there was a brahman bodhisattva named Velaama who served as the teacher of the king. He taught the king the method for becoming a wheel-turning sage king. Velaama's own wealth was immeasurable. He possessed an abundance of precious jewels. He had these thoughts: "People look upon me as a noble man possessed of immeasurable wealth. If I am to be of benefit to beings, now is precisely the right time. I should perform a great act of giving. Although being wealthy and noble is blissful, everything is impermanent. The tribute offered by the five houses causes a man's mind to be so scattered, agitated and unfocussed as to make it like a monkey which is unable to remain still. A person's life passes more quickly than the disappearance of a bolt of lightning. A person's body is impermanent and is a thicket of the manifold sufferings. On account of these things, one ought to practice giving."

  After having these thoughts he wrote out a personal declaration in which he announced to all of the brahmans and monastics throughout Jambudvipa, "We pray that each shall condescend to come and gather at our estate as we desire to present a great offering lasting for a period of twelve years during which boats will cruise on ponds of rice consomme banked with curds. There will be mountains made of rice and noodles and canals created of perilla oil. There will be robes, food, drink, bedding and medicines. Everything will be of the most supremely marvelous quality for over a dozen years during which we desire to make offerings in this way."

  There were eighty-four thousand white elephants girded in gold-adorned rhinoceros hide armor. Rare gems were strung together to create a huge gold pavilion ornamented with four kinds of precious things. There were eighty-four thousand horses also clad in gold-adorned rhinoceros hide armor and caparisoned with strands of the four kinds of precious things.

  There were eighty-four thousand carriages, each adorned with gold, silver, beryl and crystal, shaded with the skins of lions, tigers and leopards, draped with curtains of paa.ndukambala gems and ornamented with various embellishments.

  There were eighty-four thousand precious thrones fitted and adorned with multicolored cushions which were soft and smooth. Arranged at each end of the throne were crimson pillows and embroidered blankets. Marvelous garments and flowing robes were supplied in abundance.

  There were eighty-four thousand gold bowls filled with silver nuggets, silver bowls filled with gold nuggets, beryl bowls filled with crystals, and crystal bowls filled with beryl gems.

  There were eighty-four thousand dairy cattle. The cows each produced an abundant measure of milk. The horns of the bulls were adorned with gold. They were each dressed in white blankets.

  There were eighty-four thousand beautiful women of refined appearance endowed with merit and possessed of virtue. Their bodies were draped in strands of white pearls and precious gems.

  This represents only a summary recital of the main features. There were all manner of other arrangements which one could never succeed in detailing.

  At that time, King Vaasava and eighty-four thousand kings of lesser states together with their ministers, national heroes and those who served as elders each offered a contribution in encouragement and support which consisted of ten thousand pieces of gold.

  After this dharma offering had been arranged and completely set forth, [the god] Shakra Devaanaam Indra came forth and addressed the bodhisattva Velaama by uttering this verse, in which he said:

  "The most rarely encountered things in heaven and on earth Which are able to delight everyone, -- You have now already obtained them, And made gifts of them for the sake of the buddha way." At that time the gods of the Pure Dwelling Heaven showed themselves and offered praises through the utterance of this verse:

  "You have thrown open the gates of the greatest giving. That for which you have done this is, On account of having pity for [all] beings, And out of seeking for their sake the buddha way." At this time the gods all had this thought, "We should stop up his gold vase so as to prevent the water from flowing forth. Why? Because there is a benefactor but there is no one to serve as a field of merit."

  At that time the demon king said to the god of the Pure Dwelling Heaven, "All of these brahmans have left behind the home life. They uphold the moral precepts purely and have entered upon the Way. Why is it that you now say that there is no one to serve as a field of merit?"

  The gods of the Pure Dwelling Heaven said, "This bodhisattva is giving for the sake of the buddha way. All of these people who are now here are possessed of erroneous views. It is for this reason that we say that there is no one to serve as a field of merit."

  The demon king said to the gods, "How do you know that this man is giving for the sake of the buddha way?"

  At this time one of the Pure Dwelling gods manifest in the body of a brahman. Holding a gold vase and a branch made of gold, he went up to where the Bodhisattva Velaama was and said to him, "In this act of great giving where you are relinquishing what is hard to give up, what is it that you seek? Is it that you desire to become a wheel-turning sage king who has the seven precious things, a thousand sons and dominion over the entire world?"

  The Bodhisattva replied by saying, "I do not seek this situation." "Is it that you seek to become Shakra Devaanaam Indra that you might be lord to eight thousand nayutas of heavenly nymphs?" He replied, "No." "Are you seeking to become the lord of the Six Desire Heavens?" He replied, "No." Are you seeking to become the Brahma Heaven god who serves as lord over the great trichiliocosm and who is looked on as the patriarchal father of all beings?" He replied, "No." "What is it that you seek?"

  At this time the Bodhisattva spoke forth a verse, saying: "I seek that place which is without desire And which transcends birth, aging, sickness and death. I desire to bring deliverance to all beings. I seek the buddha way which is just like this." The transformationally-produced brahman said, "Benefactor, the buddha way is difficult to achieve. It is beset with great bitterness and suffering. Your mind is soft and accustomed to pleasures. It is certainly the case that you will be unable to seek out and accomplish realization of this way. As I suggested before: to become a wheel-turning sage king or Shakra Devaanaam Indra or King of the Six Desire Heavens or the King of the Brahma Heaven gods, -- these would be easily achievable. There would be nothing so good as to seek these."

  The Bodhisattva replied, saying, "Listen to my single minded vow:

  Even if one were to cause a wheel of hot steel To spin around atop my head, I shall single-mindedly seek the buddha way, And never cherish any regrets.

  Were I to be subjected to the three wretched destinies, And to the countless sufferings of the human realm, I would single-mindedly seek the buddha way, And would never be turned aside by this." The transformationally-produced brahman said, "Oh Benefactor, it is good indeed, good indeed that you seek buddhahood in this manner." He then uttered a praise, saying,

  "Your power of vigor is great. You show loving-kindness and pity for everyone. Your wisdom is detached and unobstructed. Your realization of buddhahood is not far off." At this time the gods rained down a profusion of blossoms as an offering to the Bodhisattva. The gods of the Pure Dwelling Heaven who had stopped up the water from the vase then disappeared from sight.

  At this time the Bodhisattva went before the most senior ranked among the brahmans and attempted to pour forth the water from the gold vase. The water was stopped up and would not flow out. The members of the assembly became overcome with doubt and consternation and wondered, "All of these various kinds of great giving are replete in every way and the benefactor's meritorious qualities are also great. Why now does the water fail to flow forth from the vase?"

  The Bodhisattva thought to himself, "This could be due to nothing other than these factors: Have I brought my mind to a state devoid of impurity? Have I achieved a situation where there are no deficiencies in the gifts? What has brought this about?" He personally contemplated the sixteen parts of The Classic on Giving and found that all preparations were pure and free of defects.

  At this time the gods spoke to the Bodhisattva, saying, "Do not become overcome by doubt and regret. There is nothing which you have failed to accomplish. It is because these brahmans are characterized by unwholesomeness, error and impurity." They then uttered a verse, saying,

  "These men are caught in the net of erroneous views. Afflictions have destroyed right wisdom. They have departed from purity in the observation of precepts. They've indulged in useless asceticism and fallen into unorthodox paths. It is for these reasons that the water is stopped up and will not pour forth." After they had said this they suddenly disappeared. At that time the gods of the six desire heavens emitted many different kinds of light which illuminated the entire assembly and then spoke to the Bodhisattva, saying in a verse:

  "Practices from within the sea of erroneousness and unwholesomeness Do not accord with your orthodox way. Among the recipients of your giving, There are none who compare to you." After they had spoken these words they suddenly disappeared. At this time, after the Bodhisattva had listened to this verse, he thought to himself, "If it were actually the case that there was no one in the assembly who can serve as my equal, the water would be stopped up and would not flow forth. Could it be that it is on account of this?" He then uttered a verse, saying:

  "If there are any in ten directions, either in the heavens or on earth, Who are good and pure people, I now take refuge in them and in reverence make obeisance.

  Holding the vase in the right hand, pouring an ablution on the right hand. And so now swear that I, this one person, May accept [on their behalf] such a great offering as this." At that time the water from the vase gushed forth into the air, descended from above and came down as an ablution upon his left hand.

  Then, when King Vaasava had witnessed this [miraculous] response, his mind became filled with reverence and he uttered a verse, saying:

  "Great lord of the brahmans, This clear beryl-hued water, Has flowed on down from above And, falling, has come to rest in your hand." At that time, there arose thoughts of reverence in the minds of those brahmans in the great assembly. They placed their palms together, made obeisance and took refuge in the Bodhisattva. At this time the Bodhisattva uttered this verse, saying:

  "That which I have now given Is not in quest of any blessings in the sphere of the three realms. It is for the sake of all beings, And is to be employed in seeking the way of the Buddhas." After he had spoken this verse, the entire earth with its mountains, rivers and trees quaked and moved in six ways. Velaama had originally been of the opinion that this assembly should be the recipient of the offering and so gave it. Even though he realized that there were none in the assembly who were worthy enough to accept it, he now, out of pity, gave to them [all] those things which he had himself accepted.

  It would be appropriate to discuss more extensively at this point all sorts of past-life causes and conditions of dana such as this. This is an example of external giving.

"Internal" (personal/subjective) giving
  What is meant by "internal" giving? [It refers] to not stinting in the giving to beings of [even] one's own physical life. It is as discussed in the past-life causes and conditions when Shakyamuni Buddha as a bodhisattva was serving as the king of a great country. The world was without a buddha, without the Dharma and without the bhikshu Sangha. This king searched in the four directions for the Dharma of the Buddha but was finally unable to find it. At that time there was a brahman who said, "I know a verse uttered by the Buddha. If an offering is made to me I will give it to you."

  The King then asked, "What sort of offering are you seeking." He replied, "If you are able to break open your flesh and turn it into a torch as an offering to me, then I shall give it to you."

  The King then thought to himself, "This body of mine is fragile and impure. The amount of suffering which I have undergone on its behalf in life after life is incalculable. It has never been for the sake of Dharma. Only now does it begin to be truly useful. This body is truly not to be cherished now.

  After having these thoughts, he called a ca.n.daalaa, and ordered him to scrape the surface of his entire body so that it might serve as a torch. Then he wrapped the King's flesh in white cloth, drenched it in ghee, and set fire to his entire body. The fire blazed up and only then did the brahman give that single verse.

  Additionally, in a previous life, Shakyamuni Buddha was a pigeon in the snowy mountains. One time there was a great blizzard. There was a man who had lost his way. He was poor and in miserable straits, undergoing bitterness and suffering. Hunger and cold were both upon him and at that moment his life hung in the balance. The pigeon saw this man and immediately flew in search of fire, piling up twigs and then lighting them. He then additionally cast his body upon the fire as a gift to this starving man. In a manner such as this he gave his head, eyes, marrow and brains to beings. It would be appropriate at this point to draw upon all sorts of cases from the Sutra on the Causes and Conditions of Previous Lives. All sorts of instances such as this illustrate what is meant by "internal" giving.

Dharma giving
  Question: What is meant by the giving of Dharma? Response: There are those who say that the giving of Dharma consists in being of benefit through the constant use of fine words. Then again there are those people who say that the giving of Dharma consists in proclaiming for people the marvelously good dharmas from the discourses of the Buddhas.

  Yet again, there are those people who say that the giving of Dharma consists in using three kinds of Dharma to teach people: 1) sutra; 2) vinaya; and 3) abhidharma. Then again, there are those people who say that the giving of Dharma consists in employing four kinds of Dharma treasuries to teach people: First, the sutra treasury; second, the vinaya treasury; third, the abhidharma treasury; and fourth, the "various topics" treasury.

  Additionally, there are people who say that, generally speaking, the giving of Dharma consists in employing two kinds of Dharma to teach people: 1) the Dharma of the Hearers; and 2) the Dharma of the Mahayana.

  Question: Individuals such as Devadatta, Hatthaka and others also employed the three treasuries, the four treasuries, the Dharma of the hearers, and the Dharma of the Mahayana to teach people and yet they themselves [fell] into the hells. Why did this situation develop?... Response: Devadatta was possessed of many offenses arising from erroneous views. Hatthaka was possessed of many offenses arising from false speech. It is not the case that this was pure giving done for the sake of the Way. It was done solely for the sake of seeking fame, self-benefit, reverence and offerings. On account of the offenses created by his unwholesome mind Devadatta entered the hells while still alive. When Hatthaka died he fell into the wretched destinies.

  Moreover, the giving of Dharma does not consist solely in words and speech. The giving of Dharma consists in constantly employing a pure mind and wholesome thoughts in the offering of instruction to everyone. Just as it is with the giving of material gifts where there is no measure of blessings or virtue associated with it if one fails to maintain a wholesome mind, so too it is with the giving of Dharma. If one fails to maintain a pure mind and wholesome thoughts, then it is not the case that this constitutes the giving of Dharma.

  Then again, if the speaker of Dharma is able to maintain a pure mind and wholesome thought as he praises the Three Jewels, opens the door to understanding offenses and blessings, explains the four truths, and so goes about teaching and transforming beings so that they are caused to enter the buddha way, this constitutes true and pure Dharma giving.

  Looked at another way, generally speaking, Dharma is of two kinds. The first consists in not tormenting beings while also maintaining a wholesome mind, loving-kindness and sympathy. This constitutes the causal basis for the buddha way. The second consists in contemplating and realizing that all dharmas are truly empty. This constitutes the causal basis for the way of nirvana. If, in the midst of the great assembly one lets flourish a deeply compassionate mind as one sets forth these two types of Dharma, and if in doing so it is not for the sake of garnering fame, offerings or expressions of reverence, this constitutes pure Dharma giving rooted in the buddha way.

The bhikshu with the fragrant breath
  This concept (Dharma giving) is illustrated in a story told in connection with King Ashoka who in a single day was responsible for the creation of eighty-thousand Buddha images. Although he had not yet achieved the stage of "seeing the Way", still, he did maintain a minor degree of faith and bliss in the Dharma of the Buddha. Every day he invited bhikshus to enter the palace to receive offerings. Every day he retained one Dharma Master in order of seniority to speak the Dharma.

  One day there was a young Dharma Master, a master of the Tripitaka, who was intelligent and handsome and next in order to speak the Dharma. He sat down next to the King. His mouth exuded an exotic fragrance. The King was filled with extreme doubt and suspicion. He was of the opinion that this constituted a deliberate impropriety arising from a desire to employ a fragrant scent to influence the retinue in the royal palace.

  The King asked the bhikshu, "What do you have in your mouth? Open your mouth so I can see into it." [The bhikshu] then opened his mouth for [the King] and it turned out that there was nothing whatsoever therein. He was ordered to rinse out his mouth with water after which the fragrance remained just as before. The King asked, "Venerable One, is this fragrance newly manifest or has it abided with you for a long time?"

  The bhikshu replied, saying, "It has been like this for a long time. It is not the case that it is just manifesting now."

  The bhikshu replied in verse, saying: It was at the time of Kaashyapa Buddha That I gathered the Dharma underlying this fragrance. It has remained so like this for a very long time, And has always been fresh as if newly arisen. The King said, "Venerable One, I do not yet understand this brief explanation. Pray, expound on it more extensively for me."

  He replied by saying, "The King should listen well and single-mindedly to my explanation. In the past, during the time of Kaashyapa Buddha's Dharma I was a Dharma-proclaiming bhikshu who, in the midst of the great assembly, constantly took pleasure in expounding on the immeasurable qualities of Kaashyapa, the World Honored One, on the reality mark of all dharmas, and on an incalculable number of methods to access Dharma. I conscientiously and earnestly set forth praises and offered instruction to everyone. From this time on forward to the present I have always had a marvelous fragrance coming forth from my mouth. This has been the case in life after life without cease. It has constantly been just as it is this very day." He then spoke forth a verse:

  The fragrance from the flowers on the shrubs and the trees Is utterly surpassed by this incense-like fragrance. It's able to pleasure the minds of all people. In life after life it abides without ceasing. At this time the King was filled with a mixture of shame and delight. He said to the bhikshu, "This is such as has never been before. The merit of speaking the Dharma brings such a great fruition as this."

  The bhikshu said, "This may be thought of as the blossom. It is not yet the fruit." The King asked, "What then is its fruit? Pray, expound upon this for my sake." He replied, "Briefly speaking, the fruits are tenfold. May the King listen earnestly." He then set forth a verse for his sake:

  There's a grand reputation and finely-formed features. One experiences bliss and is the object of reverence. There shines awesome brilliance like the sun and the moon. So thus one becomes a man loved by all people.

  There's eloquence and also there's prodigious wisdom. One's able to end then the grip of the fetters. One destroys all suffering and reaches nirvana. And so in this manner the count reaches to ten. The King said, "Venerable One, How is it that one gains such a reward as a result of praising the qualities of the Buddha?"

  At that time the bhikshu replied in verse, saying: If one praises the qualities possessed by the Buddha, And causes this to be heard everywhere by all people, On account of results which come forth as reward, One comes to be known by a grand reputation.

  If one praises the actual qualities of Buddha, And causes all people to experience delight, On account of the [force] which is born from this merit, In life after life features always are fine.

  If one explains for people offenses and blessings, Allowing them to reach a place of peace and delight, On account of the merit which is thus produced, One experiences bliss and is always content.

  The power of praising the merits of Buddha, Causes everyone hearing to have minds which are humbled. On account of the power produced by this merit, One eternally garners men's reverence as reward.

  When one displays forth the torch of the speaking of Dharma, And illumines and awakens then all of the people, On account of the power produced by this merit One's awesome bright brilliance shines forth like the sun.

  If in many a fashion one praises Buddha's merits, And delights thus the hearts of all [by those words], On account of the power produced by this merit, One is ever the object of people's affection.

  If with clever discourse one praises Buddha's merits, Which cannot be measured and can't be exhausted, On account of the power produced by this merit, One's eloquent speech is never brought to an end.

  If one praises the marvelous dharmas of Buddha, Which are such as no one can ever surpass, On account of the power produced by this merit, One possesses great wisdom which is pure in its nature.

  When one praises the qualities possessed by the Buddha, One causes afflictions of men to be scant. On account of the power produced by this merit, Fetters are cut off and defilements destroyed.

  Because both kinds of fetters are brought to an end, Nirvana in this body has already been achieved, As when torrents of rain pour down from the sky All fires are extinguished and no embers remain. Once again he addressed the King, saying, "If there still remains anything to which you've not awakened, now is the time to bring questions forth. The arrows of wisdom should be used to smash your armor of doubts."

  The King replied to the Dharma master, "My mind has been both delighted and awakened such that now there remain no more objects of doubt. The Venerable One is a blessed man well able to speak forth the praises of Buddha."

  When one speaks forth the Dharma in accord with the various causes and conditions discussed above and so brings about the deliverance of beings, this qualifies then as the giving of Dharma.

Material giving versus dharma giving
  Question: Which is supreme, the giving of material wealth or the giving of Dharma?... Response: According to the words of the Buddha, among the two kinds of giving, the giving of Dharma is supreme. Why is that? The reward resulting from the giving of material wealth is experienced within the desire realm. The reward resulting from the giving of Dharma may be experienced within the three realms or beyond the three realms.

  Moreover, if one's discourse is pure, if it reaches deeply into its principles, and if one's mind also realizes it, then, on that account one reaches beyond the three realms. Again, whereas the giving of material wealth is measurable, the giving of Dharma is measureless. Material giving is such as can be exhausted. The giving of Dharma is inexhaustible. It is analogous to throwing fuel onto a fire: its brightness becomes even greater.

  Then again, in the reward gained from the giving of material wealth there is less purity and more defilement. In the reward gained from the giving of Dharma, there is less defilement and more purity. Also, if one engages in the giving of material wealth, one depends on the power of many others. The giving of Dharma comes forth from the mind. It does not depend upon others.

  Additionally, the giving of material wealth is able to cause enhancement of the faculties associated with the four-element [body]. The giving of Dharma is able to bring about perfection of non-outflows in the [five] faculties, the [five] powers, the [seven limbs of] enlightenment and the [eight-fold] path.

  Also, as for the methods of giving material wealth, they remain in the world constantly, whether or not there is a buddha. As for the giving of Dharma, it can only exist in an era when there has been a buddha. Therefore one ought to realize that the giving of Dharma is extremely difficult. How is it that it is difficult? Even one who is a pratyekabuddha possessed of the marks [of a great man] is still unable to speak Dharma. It is only when he proceeds along on his alms round and flies up into the sky performing transformations, that he is able thereby to convert people.

  Then again, from the giving of Dharma, one is able to generate the giving of material wealth as well as reach to the position of a hearer, a pratyekabuddha, a bodhisattva and finally, to reach buddhahood.

  Moreover, in carrying out the giving of Dharma, one is able to distinguish all dharmas: outflow and non-outflow dharmas, form dharmas and formless dharmas, conditioned and unconditioned dharmas, wholesome, unwholesome and neutral dharmas, eternal dharmas and non-eternal dharmas, existent and non-existent dharmas, [recognizing that] all dharmas whatsoever, [from the standpoint of] the reality mark, are pure, irrefutable, and indestructible. All dharmas such as these, if one speaks in brief, constitute a treasury of eighty-four thousand dharmas. If one speaks of them extensively, they are countless. Distinguishing and completely understanding all of the different categories such as these comes from engaging in the giving of Dharma.

  These two kinds of giving together constitute what is known as dana. If one carries on these two kinds of giving as one seeks to become a buddha, then one will be able to cause people to succeed in reaching the buddha way. How much the more so will it be able to bring about any other result.

The meaning of dana paramita
  Question: What is meant by the fulfillment of dana paramita?... Response: The meaning of dana is as discussed above. As for "paara-" (In the language of Ch'in, this means "the other shore.") "-mitaa" (In the language of Ch'in, this means "to reach."), this means to cross the river of giving and to succeed in reaching the other shore.

  Question: What is meant by failing to reach the other shore?... Response: It is analogous to crossing over a river but returning before having arrived. This is what is meant by failing to reach the other shore. For example, Sariputra cultivated the bodhisattva way for a period of sixty kalpas, desiring to cross over the river of giving. At that time there was a beggar who came along and demanded that he give him one of his eyes. Sariputra said, "The eye would then be useless. What do you want it for? If you need to put my body to use or if you want any valuables I own, then I'll give those to you." The beggar replied, "I've got no use for your body and I don't want any valuables you might own. I just want an eye, that's all. If you were truly a cultivator of the practice of giving, then I'd receive an eye from you."

  At that time Sariputra pulled out one of his eyes and gave it to him. The beggar got the eye and then right there in front of Sariputra he sniffed it , cursed, "It stinks," spat, and then threw it down on the ground. Then, in addition, he smashed it beneath his foot.

  Sariputra thought to himself, "It's a difficult task to cross over such base people as this. He actually had no use for the eye and yet he forcefully demanded it. Having gotten it he not only threw it away, he even smashed it with his foot. How extremely base! People of this sort cannot be crossed over to liberation. Far better that I just concentrate on disciplining myself so as to gain an early liberation from the cycle of birth and death." Having thought this to himself he then turned from the bodhisattva way and directed himself to the lesser vehicle. This is what is meant by failing to reach the other shore. If one is able to advance directly and not retreat and thus complete the buddha way, this constitutes reaching to the other shore.

  Then again, to succeed in completing any endeavor is also referred to as "reaching to the other shore." (In the common parlance of India, whenever one takes up a task and then completes it, it is referred to as "reaching the other shore.") Additionally, [one may say that] "this shore" refers to being miserly, dana refers to being in the midst of the river, and "the other shore" refers to the buddha way.

  Also, [one may say that] holding a view which insists on "existence" or "nonexistence" is what is meant by "this shore." The wisdom which refutes views insisting on "existence" or "nonexistence" constitutes "the other shore" whereas the diligent cultivation of giving corresponds to being in the middle of the river. Then again, [one may also say that] there are two kinds of dana, the first being the dana of demons and the second being the dana of the buddhas. If [in the practice of giving] one is being robbed by the thieves of the fetters such that one is afflicted by worries and abides in fearfulness, this constitutes the dana of the demons and exemplifies what is meant by "this shore."

  Where there is pure giving in which there is an absence of the thieves of the fetters and in which there is nothing of which one is fearful, one succeeds thereby in arriving at the buddha way. This constitutes the dana of the buddhas and exemplifies what is meant by "reaching to the other shore." This is "paramita."

  By way of illustration, in The Buddha Speaks the Analogy of the Poisonous Snakes Sutra, there once was a man who had offended the King. The King ordered that he be required to carry around a basket and look after it. Inside the basket there were four poisonous snakes. The King ordered the criminal to look after them and raise them. This man thought to himself, "It's a difficult thing to have to draw close to four snakes. If one grows close to them they bring harm to a person. I could not raise even one of them, how much the less could I do that for four of them." And so he cast aside the basket and ran away.

  The King ordered five men carrying knives to chase after him. There was yet another man who tried to persuade him to obey. [This other man] had it in mind to bring him harm and so said to him, "Just raise them in a sensible fashion. There will be no suffering in that."

  But the man became wise to this and so ran off, fleeing for his life. When he came to an empty village there was a good man who assisted him by telling him, "Although this village is empty, it is a place that is frequented by thieves. If you now take up residence here you will certainly be harmed by the thieves. Be careful. Don't dwell here." At this point he took off again and next arrived at a great river. On the other side of the river there was a different country. That country was a peaceful, blissful and easeful place. It was a pure place devoid of any form of calamity or adversity. Then he gathered together a mass of reeds and branches and bound them into the form of a raft. He moved it along with his hands and feet. He exerted all of his strength in seeking to make a crossing. When he had reached the other shore he was at peace, happy and free of distress.

  The King represents the demon king. The basket represents the human body. The four poisonous snakes represent the four great elements. The five knife-wielding thieves represent the five aggregates. The man of fine speech but evil mind represents defiled attachment. The empty village represents the six sense faculties. The thieves represent the six sense objects. The one man who took pity on him and instructed him represents the good [spiritual] teacher. The great river represents love. The raft represents the eightfold right path. The hands and feet earnestly applied to making a crossing represent vigor. This shore represents this world. The other shore represents nirvana. The man who crossed over represents the arhat who has put an end to outflows. This is just the same in the dharma of the bodhisattva.

  If in giving there exist the three obstructions of an "I" who gives, an "other" who receives and a valuable object which is given, then one falls into a demonic mental state wherein one has not yet left behind multiple difficulties. In the case of giving as performed by the bodhisattva, it is characterized by three kinds of purity in which there is an absence of these three obstructions and in which one has succeeded in reaching to the other shore. It is such as is praised by the buddhas. This is what is meant by dana paramita. On account of this it is referred to as having reached the other shore. These six paramitas are able to cause a person to cross over the great sea of miserliness, over the other afflictions and beyond defiled attachment so that one reaches to the other shore. It is for this reason that they are referred to as "paramitas."

Sariputra turns from the bodhisattva path
  Question: What is meant by the fulfillment of dana paramita?... Response: The meaning of dana is as discussed above. As for "paara-" (In the language of Ch'in, this means "the other shore.") "-mitaa" (In the language of Ch'in, this means "to reach."), this means to cross the river of giving and to succeed in reaching the other shore.

  Question: What is meant by failing to reach the other shore?... Response: It is analogous to crossing over a river but returning before having arrived. This is what is meant by failing to reach the other shore. For example, Sariputra cultivated the bodhisattva way for a period of sixty kalpas, desiring to cross over the river of giving. At that time there was a beggar who came along and demanded that he give him one of his eyes. Sariputra said, "The eye would then be useless. What do you want it for? If you need to put my body to use or if you want any valuables I own, then I'll give those to you." The beggar replied, "I've got no use for your body and I don't want any valuables you might own. I just want an eye, that's all. If you were truly a cultivator of the practice of giving, then I'd receive an eye from you."

  At that time Sariputra pulled out one of his eyes and gave it to him. The beggar got the eye and then right there in front of Sariputra he sniffed it , cursed, "It stinks," spat, and then threw it down on the ground. Then, in addition, he smashed it beneath his foot.

  Sariputra thought to himself, "It's a difficult task to cross over such base people as this. He actually had no use for the eye and yet he forcefully demanded it. Having gotten it he not only threw it away, he even smashed it with his foot. How extremely base! People of this sort cannot be crossed over to liberation. Far better that I just concentrate on disciplining myself so as to gain an early liberation from the cycle of birth and death." Having thought this to himself he then turned from the bodhisattva way and directed himself to the lesser vehicle. This is what is meant by failing to reach the other shore. If one is able to advance directly and not retreat and thus complete the buddha way, this constitutes reaching to the other shore.

The "Other" Shore (paaramitaa / perfection)
  Then again, to succeed in completing any endeavor is also referred to as "reaching to the other shore." (In the common parlance of India, whenever one takes up a task and then completes it, it is referred to as "reaching the other shore.") Additionally, [one may say that] "this shore" refers to being miserly, dana refers to being in the midst of the river, and "the other shore" refers to the buddha way. Also, [one may say that] holding a view which insists on "existence" or "nonexistence" is what is meant by "this shore." The wisdom which refutes views insisting on "existence" or "nonexistence" constitutes "the other shore" whereas the diligent cultivation of giving corresponds to being in the middle of the river.

  Then again, [one may also say that] there are two kinds of dana, the first being the dana of demons and the second being the dana of the buddhas. If [in the practice of giving] one is being robbed by the thieves of the fetters such that one is afflicted by worries and abides in fearfulness, this constitutes the dana of the demons and exemplifies what is meant by "this shore."

  Where there is pure giving in which there is an absence of the thieves of the fetters and in which there is nothing of which one is fearful, one succeeds thereby in arriving at the buddha way. This constitutes the dana of the buddhas and exemplifies what is meant by "reaching to the other shore." This is "paramita."

  If in giving there exist the three obstructions of an "I" who gives, an "other" who receives and a valuable object which is given, then one falls into a demonic mental state wherein one has not yet left behind multiple difficulties. In the case of giving as performed by the bodhisattva, it is characterized by three kinds of purity in which there is an absence of these three obstructions and in which one has succeeded in reaching to the other shore. It is such as is praised by the buddhas. This is what is meant by dana paramita. On account of this it is referred to as having reached the other shore. These six paramitas are able to cause a person to cross over the great sea of miserliness, over the other afflictions and beyond defiled attachment so that one reaches to the other shore. It is for this reason that they are referred to as "paramitas."

The analogy of poisonous snakes
  By way of illustration, in The Buddha Speaks the Analogy of the Poisonous Snakes Sutra, there once was a man who had offended the King. The King ordered that he be required to carry around a basket and look after it. Inside the basket there were four poisonous snakes. The King ordered the criminal to look after them and raise them. This man thought to himself, "It's a difficult thing to have to draw close to four snakes. If one grows close to them they bring harm to a person. I could not raise even one of them, how much the less could I do that for four of them." And so he cast aside the basket and ran away.

  The King ordered five men carrying knives to chase after him. There was yet another man who tried to persuade him to obey. [This other man] had it in mind to bring him harm and so said to him, "Just raise them in a sensible fashion. There will be no suffering in that."

  But the man became wise to this and so ran off, fleeing for his life. When he came to an empty village there was a good man who assisted him by telling him, "Although this village is empty, it is a place that is frequented by thieves. If you now take up residence here you will certainly be harmed by the thieves. Be careful. Don't dwell here." At this point he took off again and next arrived at a great river. On the other side of the river there was a different country. That country was a peaceful, blissful and easeful place. It was a pure place devoid of any form of calamity or adversity. Then he gathered together a mass of reeds and branches and bound them into the form of a raft. He moved it along with his hands and feet. He exerted all of his strength in seeking to make a crossing. When he had reached the other shore he was at peace, happy and free of distress.

  The King represents the demon king. The basket represents the human body. The four poisonous snakes represent the four great elements. The five knife-wielding thieves represent the five aggregates. The man of fine speech but evil mind represents defiled attachment. The empty village represents the six sense faculties. The thieves represent the six sense objects. The one man who took pity on him and instructed him represents the good [spiritual] teacher. The great river represents love. The raft represents the eightfold right path. The hands and feet earnestly applied to making a crossing represent vigor. This shore represents this world. The other shore represents nirvana. The man who crossed over represents the arhat who has put an end to outflows. This is just the same in the dharma of the bodhisattva.

Why Arhats & Pratyekabuddhas fall shout of paramita
  Question: The arhat and the pratyekabuddha are also able to reach to the other shore. Why is that not referred to as paramita?... Response: The crossing over to the other shore achieved by the arhat and pratyekabuddha when compared to the crossing over to the other shore of the Buddha constitutes a case of the designation being the same whereas the reality is different. They take birth and death to constitute "this shore" and nirvana to constitute "the other shore", but are still unable to cross over to the other shore of dana. How is this the case? They are unable to perform giving of every thing at every time and in every way. In the event that they are able to engage in giving, they still lack the great mind in doing so. Perhaps they may employ a neutral mind in their giving, or perhaps a wholesome mind still abiding in the realm of outflows, or perhaps even a non-outflow mind. However, they still lack the mind of great compassion. They are unable to engage in giving which is done for the sake of all beings.

  As for that giving which is performed by the bodhisattva, it is done with the realization that the act of giving is neither produced nor destroyed. It is conducted in a state beyond outflows, is unconditioned and is characterized by being like nirvana. That giving is performed for the sake of all beings. This is what is referred to as dana paramita. Then again, there are those who say that when one performs giving of every thing of every sort, giving exhaustively of all internal and external resources without seeking any reward as a result, then this kind of giving is referred to as dana paramita.

  Moreover, it is because it is inexhaustible that it is referred to as dana paramita. How is this so? One knows that the thing which is given is ultimately empty and characterized by being like nirvana. Because one employs this kind of mind in giving to beings, the retribution accruing from it is inexhaustible and it is therefore referred to as dana paramita. This is analogous to a rishi possessed of the five superknowledges secreting a marvelous jewel in the midst of stone and then, desiring to protect this jewel, grinding up adamant and coating it therewith, thus causing it to be indestructible. The giving performed by the bodhisattva is just like this. He employs a kind of giving which is coated with nirvanic reality-mark wisdom and so causes it to be inexhaustible.

  Moreover, the bodhisattva gives for the sake of all beings. Because the number of beings is inexhaustible that giving too is inexhaustible. Then again the bodhisattva gives for the sake of the Buddha's Dharma. The Dharma of the Buddha is immeasurable and boundless. So too then is that giving immeasurable and boundless. It is for these reasons that, although the arhat and the pratyekabuddha reach to the other shore, it is not referred to as paramita.

Complete fulfillment of the perfection of giving
  Question: What is meant by "complete fulfillment" [of dana paramita]... Response: It is as explained before. The bodhisattva is able to give everything: the internal, the external, that which is major, that which is minor, that which is of greater quantity, that which is of lesser quantity, that which is coarse, that which is refined, that to which one is attached, that to which one is not attached, that which is to be utilized and that which is not to be utilized. He is able to relinquish every manner of object such as these.

  His mind has nothing to which it clings with fondness. He gives equally to all beings. He does not engage in such contemplations as this: "One should only give to great people and one should not give to lesser people. One should only give to those who have left the home life and one should not give to anyone who has not left the home life. One should only give to humans and one should not give to birds or beasts." In his giving he maintains an evenhanded and equitable mind towards all beings. When he gives he does not seek to gain any reward as a result. Moreover, he realizes the reality mark of giving. This is what is meant by "complete fulfillment."

  Additionally, he is not constrained by a regard for the time being right. For him there is no waiting till morning, till evening, till winter or till summer. There is no time which is auspicious or inauspicious. At all times he constantly engages in equitable giving employing a mind devoid of regrets or clinging fondness. He does so even to the point of sacrificing without stint his head, his eyes, his marrow and his brain. This is what is meant by "complete fulfillment" [of dana paramita].

  Then again, there are those who say that "complete fulfillment" of giving takes place as the bodhisattva progresses through the thirty-four mental stages between the initial resolve [to attain bodhi] and his finally sitting beneath the bodhi tree.

  Also, when the bodhisattva at the level of the seventh dwelling gains the wisdom [cognizing] the reality mark of all dharmas he adorns buddha lands and engages in the teaching and transformation of beings. He makes offerings to the buddhas and gains great superknowledges such that he is able to divide his one body so that he creates innumerable bodies. Each of those bodies rains down the seven jewels, flower blossoms, incenses, banners and canopies and transformationally creates a great lamp like Mount Sumeru. He makes offerings to the buddhas of the ten directions as well as to the bodhisattva sangha.

  Additionally, he employs a marvelous voice to make praises and verses about the virtue of the buddhas. He pays homage and makes offerings to them, takes care of their needs and welcomes them. Moreover, this bodhisattva rains down all sorts of drink, food, clothing and bedding in the immeasurable number of hungry ghost realms throughout the ten directions, thereby causing them to become full and satisfied. After they have gained complete satisfaction they all bring forth the resolve to gain anuttarasamyaksa.mbodhi.

  He also goes into the path of the animals, causing them to spontaneously become good and have no intentions of mutual harm, causing them to get rid of their fearfulness and, according to whatever they need, causing them each to be completely full and satisfied. After they have become full they all bring forth the resolve to gain anuttarasamyaksa.mbodhi.

  Within the immeasurable suffering of the hells he is able to cause the fires of the hells to go out, the soup [in the cauldrons] to grow cold, the offenses to be put to rest, and their minds to become good. He gets rid of their hunger and thirst and allows them to be reborn in the heavens and among humans. On account of these causes and conditions they all bring forth the resolve to gain anuttarasamyaksa.mbodhi.

  Where there are poverty-stricken people throughout the ten directions he supplies them with wealth. As for those who are wealthy and noble, he gives them exotic flavors and exotic forms which cause them to be delighted. On account of these causes and conditions they all bring forth the resolve to gain anuttarasamyaksa.mbodhi.

  If he goes among the desire realm gods he causes them to dispense with the desire-based pleasures of the heavens, gives them the marvelous jewel of Dharma bliss, and so causes them to be delighted. On account of these causes and conditions they all bring forth the resolve to gain anuttarasamyaksa.mbodhi.

  If he goes among the gods of the form realm he [causes them to] get rid of their blissful attachment and delights them with the dhyana dharma of the bodhisattva. On account of these causes and conditions they all bring forth the resolve to gain anuttarasamyaksa.mbodhi.

  It is like this on up to the tenth dwelling. This is what is meant by complete fulfillment of dana paramita. Additionally, the bodhisattva possesses two kinds of bodies. The first is the body produced from the karma of the fetters. The second is the Dharma body. Fulfillment of dana paramita in both of these bodies is what is intended by completely fulfilling dana paramita.

Perfection of giving in the body associated with the fetters
  Question: What is meant by fulfillment of dana paramita within the body produced from the karma of the fetters?... Response: This refers to when one has not yet gained the Dharma body and the fetters have not yet been brought to an end. One becomes able to give completely of all that one possesses, both internally and externally, including all manner of precious objects, one's head, eyes, marrow, brain, country, wealth, wives, and sons, and does so without one's mind moving or turning away. For instance, Prince Sudana (In the language of Ch'in, this means "fine fondness.") who made a gift of his two sons to a brahman. Next, he relinquished his wife and yet his mind [still] did not turn away from it.

  In ways such as this, and in all sorts of physical bodies, one gives even one's own wives and sons and yet does not stint at all, treating it as if it were only setting aside grass or trees. One contemplates those things which are given and realizes that they exist on the basis of conditions. When one pursues this and seeks to find their reality, it can never be found. Everything is characterized by being pure and like nirvana. And so this proceeds until one realizes the patience resulting from seeing dharmas as unproduced. This is what is meant by fulfillment of dana paramita while abiding in a body produced from the karma of the fetters.

The giving of King Sarvada
  This is also exemplified by King Sarvada (In the language of Ch'in, this means "giving everything.") who was vanquished by an enemy country and who then fled and hid in the furthest reaches of the forests. He encountered a brahman from a faraway country who sought to receive alms from him. As for himself, his country had been crushed, his family had been wiped out and he had been forced to flee alone and go into hiding. Because he felt pity for [the brahman's] hardship in having come from afar and yet having gotten nothing, he said to the brahman, "I am King Sarvada. The new king has sent men out who are trying very hard to find me." He then immediately tied himself up and gave himself to [the brahman] who then gave him over to the new king and received great wealth and valuables [in reward].

The giving of Price Candraprabha
  This is also illustrated by [the story of] Prince Candraprabha who had gone out sightseeing when a leper noticed him, presented himself at the carriage and addressed him, saying, "My body has come down with a serious disease which causes intense suffering and causes me to be grievously tormented. The prince is traveling about for pleasure. Will he only bring happiness to himself? May he bring forth great loving-kindness and bring pity to mind. Pray, may I receive a cure that will rescue me?" When the Prince heard him, he asked the physicians about this matter. The physician replied, "It would be necessary to obtain the blood and marrow of a man who from the time of birth had grown up without any hatred. It would be topically applied and also drunk. If one proceeded in this fashion, then he could be cured."

  The Giving of Prince Candraprabha From Nagarjuna's Treatise on the Great Perfection of Wisdom (Dharmamitra Translation) This is also illustrated by [the story of] Prince Candraprabha who had gone out sightseeing when a leper noticed him, presented himself at the carriage and addressed him, saying, "My body has come down with a serious disease which causes intense suffering and causes me to be grievously tormented. The prince is traveling about for pleasure. Will he only bring happiness to himself? May he bring forth great loving-kindness and bring pity to mind. Pray, may I receive a cure that will rescue me?" When the Prince heard him, he asked the physicians about this matter. The physician replied, "It would be necessary to obtain the blood and marrow of a man who from the time of birth had grown up without any hatred. It would be topically applied and also drunk. If one proceeded in this fashion, then he could be cured."

  The Prince thought to himself, "If there is such a person, he is desirous of living and cherishes his own life. How could such a person be obtained? Aside from myself, there is no place where he could be found." He then issued an order for a ca.n.daala to come and instructed him to strip away flesh from his body, break his bones, extract his marrow, smear it on the body of the sick man, and then take his blood and provide it as a drink for him.

The perfection of giving in the dharma body
  How does the Dharma body bodhisattva cultivate to fulfillment dana paramita? In his very last fleshly body the bodhisattva achieves the patience resulting from seeing dharmas as unproduced. He relinquishes the fleshly body and gains the Dharma body. In the six paths and throughout the ten directions he transformationally creates bodies in response to what is appropriate, and thereby goes about transforming beings. He provides all sorts of precious jewels, clothing, drink and food as gifts to everyone and additionally gives exhaustively of everything he personally or objectively possesses including his head, his eyes, his marrow, his brain, his country, wealth, wives and sons.

  Additionally, the Dharma-body bodhisattva, in a single moment, can transformationally produce countless bodies with which he makes offerings to the buddhas of the ten directions. He is able in a single moment to transformationally create an immeasurable number of valuable jewels with which he supplies in abundance to beings. He is able in a single moment, in accordance with all of the different superior, middling and inferior voices, to universally speak Dharma for them. And so forth until we come to [being able also] to sit beneath the Buddha's tree. All sorts of examples such as these constitute what is meant by the Dharma-body bodhisattva's fulfillment of the practice of dana paramita.

The six-tusked white elephant
  A case in point is that of Shakyamuni Buddha who once was a six-tusked white elephant. A hunter had ambushed him and shot him with poison arrows. The herd of elephants stampeded towards him with the intention of trampling the hunter to death. The white elephant used his own body to defend him, protecting that man and having pity upon him just the same as if he was his own son. He ordered the herd of elephants away and then calmly asked the hunter, "Why did you shoot me?"

  He replied, "I need your tusks." Immediately then, blood and flesh spontaneously pushed forth all six tusks from their sockets. He then used his trunk to pick up the tusks and give them to the hunter. Although it is described as the body of an elephant, in a case where the mind is used in this manner one should know that this elephant did not exist on account of retribution for the actions of an animal. Nowhere in the Dharma of the arhat is there a mind of this sort. One should realize that this is a Dharma body bodhisattva.

The elephant, the monkey, and the kapinjala bird
  There once was a time when people in Jambudvipa did not know enough to render proper reverence and respect to those who are older and those who are virtuous. At that time the use of words alone as a method for teaching them had not yet been able to succeed in converting them [to this understanding]. At that time a bodhisattva transformed himself into a kapi~njala bird. This bird had two close friends. The first was a great elephant and the second was a monkey. They all lived together around the base of a pippala tree. They were inquiring of one another, wondering, "We don't know who among us ought to be accorded the status of 'elder.'"

  The elephant said, "In the past I viewed this tree when it was shorter than the height of my belly. Now it is so huge. From this we can deduce that I ought to be known as the eldest." The monkey said, "In the past I've squatted down and plucked with my hand at the top of the tree. From this we can deduce that I should be recognized as the eldest." The bird said, "In the past I fed on the fruit of such trees in the pippala forest. The seed then passed out with my feces and as a result this tree was born. It can be deduced from this that I ought to be recognized as the eldest." The bird continued, saying, "As a matter of propriety, the first born, being the eldest, ought to be the recipient of offerings."

  The great elephant immediately took the monkey on his back and the bird then rode on the back of the monkey. They traveled all around in this fashion. When all of the birds and beasts observed this they asked them, "Why are you going about like this?" They replied, "We mean by this an expression of reverence and offerings to the one who is the eldest." The birds and the beasts all accepted this teaching and all practiced such reverence. They no longer invaded the fields of the people and no longer brought harm to the lives of other animals. The people were all amazed that all of the birds and beasts no longer engaged in harmful activities.

  The hunters went into the forest and observed that the elephant bore the monkey on his back, that the monkey carried along the bird, and that they cultivated respectfulness and so transformed the creatures that the creatures all cultivated goodness. They passed this on to the people of the country. The people all celebrated this and remarked, "The times are growing peaceful. Though they are but birds and beasts, still they are possessed of humanity." And so the people too modeled themselves on this. They all cultivated propriety and respectfulness. From ancient times until the present this transformative teaching has flowed down through a myriad generations. One should know that this was a Dharma body bodhisattva.

Three types of giving
  Then again, dana is of three varieties: The first is the giving of material objects. The second is giving which consists of offerings of reverence. The third is the giving of Dharma.

  What is meant by the giving of material objects? It refers to jewels, precious things, robes, food, one's head, eyes, marrow and brain. One gives exhaustively of such things as these, giving all that one owns whether internally or externally. This is what is meant by the giving of material objects.

  As for the giving of reverence, it refers to having a mind of faith which is pure as one reverently performs acts of obeisance. It refers to offerings which consist of looking after, seeing off, welcoming, making expressions of praise, and circumambulating. All sorts of actions such as these constitute what is referred to as the giving of reverence.

  As for the giving of Dharma, [it refers to actions performed] for the sake of virtue associated with the Way such as speaking, dialectical discussion, reciting, reading, lecturing, dispelling doubts, answering questions, transmitting the five precepts to people and all sorts of other acts of giving such as these which are performed for the sake of the buddha way. This is what is meant by the giving of Dharma. When these three kinds of giving are fulfilled this is what is meant by fulfilling dana paramita.

Three factors involved in giving
  Moreover, the causes and conditions associated with three factors are what produce dana: The first is a believing mind which is pure. The second is a valuable object. The third is a field of merit.

  As for the mind [associated with giving], there are three types: that which is characterized by sympathy; that which is characterized by reverence; and that which is characterized by both sympathy and reverence. If one gives to those who are poverty-stricken, those of low social station or those who inhabit the animal world, this is sympathetic giving. If one gives to buddhas, Dharma-body bodhisattvas or others of this sort, this is reverential giving. If one gives to elderly, sick, or destitute arhats or pratyekabuddhas, this constitutes both reverential and sympathetic giving.

  The object which is given is to be pure. It has neither been stolen nor seized by force. It is given at the right time. It is not given because one seeks to gain a reputation from it or because one seeks profit or sustenance.

  One may at times gain great merit which arises on account of the quality of the mind. Perhaps one may gain great merit which arises on account of the quality of the field of merit. Or perhaps one may gain great merit which arises on account of having given a marvelous object.

  As for the first, where it arises on account of the quality of the mind, it is exemplified by the four equally-directed minds (= the four limitless minds), by the mindfulness of the Buddha samadhi, and by [the Buddha's] having given his body to the tigress. Examples such as these indicate what is meant by gaining great merit on account of the quality of the mind.

  As for the field of merit, it is of two types: The first is the field of merit associated with sympathy. The second is the field of merit associated with reverence. The field of merit associated with sympathy is such that it is able to inspire the arisal of a sympathetic mind. The field of merit associated with reverence is such that it is able to inspire the arisal of a reverential mind. This is illustrated by the case of King Ashoka (In the language of Ch'in this means "devoid of worry.") who [as a child in an earlier life] had made an offering to the Buddha fashioned from mud.

Have nothing whatsoever which is relinquished
  Question: Dana refers to the relinquishing of valuable things. Why does it state [in the text] that one perfects the dharma of having nothing which is relinquished?... Response: Dana is of two types: The first is that which transcends the world. The second is that which does not transcend the world. We are now discussing dana which transcends the world and which is devoid of characteristics. Because it is devoid of characteristics there is nothing which is relinquished. Hence it speaks of perfecting the dharma of having nothing whatsoever which is relinquished.

  Moreover, because valuable things cannot be gotten at it is referred to as having nothing which is relinquished. In both the future and the past these things are empty. When they are analyzed in the present there is not a single dharma which is fixed. For this reason it is said that there is nothing which is relinquished. Additionally, when the practitioner relinquishes valuable things, he is apt to think to himself, "This act of giving is greatly meritorious" and then, relying on this, may bring forth such fetters as pridefulness and [self] love. For this reason, it states that there is nothing which is relinquished. Because there is nothing which is relinquished, there is no pridefulness. Because there is no pridefulness, other fetters such as craving, [self] love and so forth are not brought forth. Additionally, there are two types of people who give: The first is the worldly person. The second is the person who has transcended the world. The worldly person is able to relinquish valuable things but is not able to relinquish his giving. The person who has transcended the world is able to relinquish valuable things and is also able to relinquish his giving. Why? Because neither valuable things nor the mind which gives can be gotten at. It is for this reason that it speaks of perfecting the dharma of having nothing which is relinquished. What's more, in the dana paramita, it explains that the three factors of valuables, giver and recipient cannot be gotten at.

Three factors in giving which cannot be gotten at
  What's more, in the dana paramita, it explains that the three factors of valuables, giver and recipient cannot be gotten at. Question: It is the conjunction of the three factors which constitutes dana. Now, it is said that the three factors cannot be gotten at. How then can one refer to fulfillment of dana paramita? We do now have something which is valuable, the act of giving and someone who receives. How is it that the three factors cannot be gotten at? For example, the cloth which is given actually exists. How is this so? If the cloth has a name then there is the dharma of cloth. If there were no dharma of cloth then there would not be the name "cloth," either. Because there is the name then it ought to be the case that cloth actually does exist.

  Furthermore, pieces of cloth may be long, short, coarse, fine, white, black, yellow or red. There are causes, there are conditions, there is a creation, there is a destruction, and there is a result in the realm of effects whereby a thought is produced which corresponds to the given dharma. A piece which is ten feet in length is long and one which is five feet in length is short. When the thread is large, it is coarse. When the thread is small it is fine. In accordance with the dye it has a color. The existence of thread constitutes the cause. The loom constitutes the condition. Because of the conjunction of this cause and condition it becomes cloth. A person's effort brings about its creation. A person's damaging of it brings about its destruction. Its management of cold and heat and its covering up of the body is the reward in the realm of [causal] effects. When a person gains it there is great delight and when he loses it there is great distress. Because one uses it as a gift one gains blessings which assist the way. If one steals it from someone or takes it by force he undergoes public punishment and then, on dying, enters the hells. On account of all sorts of reasons such as these one knows that this cloth does exist. This is what is meant by the dharma of cloth. How can one claim that the thing which is given cannot be gotten at?

  Response: You say that because there is a name this entity exists. This is not the case. How does one know this? Names are of two kinds: those which are real and those which are not real. As for those names which are not real, they are like a type of grass known as caurii. (In the language of Ch'in, this means "thief.") For its part the grass does not steal. It does not take things by force. In truth, it is not the case that it is a thief and yet it is referred to as "thief." This is just like the case of the hare which has horns and the turtle which has fur. In those cases as well they possess only a name with no corresponding reality. Although cloth is not nonexistent in the same fashion as the horns of the hare or the fur of the turtle, still, it is on account of the coming together of causes and conditions that it exists and on account of the scattering of causes and conditions that it becomes nonexistent. It is like a forest and like an army. These each possess a name but are devoid of any reality.

  This is like a wooden man. Although it possesses the name "man," one ought not to seek there for its dharma of humanity. Although cloth possesses a name, still, one ought not to seek for a cloth's true actuality.

  Cloth is able to bring about causes and conditions associated with people's thoughts. When they obtain it they are delighted. When they lose it they become distressed. These constitute causes and conditions associated with thought. When thoughts arise there are two types of causes and conditions. It may be that they arise from that which is real. It may be that they arise from what is not real.

  This is just like that which is seen in a dream, like the moon reflected in water, and like seeing a bare tree trunk at night and being of the opinion that it is a person. Names such as these are cases of the mind being caused to arise on account of what is not real. These conditions are not fixed. One should not say that because thought arises it therefore exists. If it were the case that something exists because of the arisal of thought, then one should not seek for any valid existence beyond that. Take for instance when the eye sees the moon reflected in the water and a thought arises which takes it to be the moon. If it were the case that the cause of the mind's arisal was the moon, then there would be no actual moon aside from that.

  Moreover, existence is of three types. The first is interdependent existence. The second is existence based on false names. The third is existence based on dharmas. As for that which is interdependent, it refers to long and short, that and this and so forth. In reality there is no long or short nor is there that or this. It is on account of interdependency that there exists a designation. Long exists because of short and short exists because of long. That exists because of this and this exists because of that. If one is to the east of something then one takes it to be westerly. If one is to the west of it then one takes it to be easterly. It is a single entity which has not changed and yet it possesses distinctions of east and west. These are all cases of possessing a name but being devoid of reality. Cases such as these are referred to as being interdependently existent. There is no actual dharma herein. It is not as with forms, smells, tastes, touchables and so forth. As for existence based on false names, it refers for example to such things as yoghurt which does possess the four factors of forms, smells, tastes and touchables. It is on account of the coming together of causes and conditions that it is given the false name of yoghurt. Although it does exists, its existence is one which consists in different causal and conditional dharmas. Although it is nonexistent, still it is not nonexistent in the same way that the horns of the hare and the fur of the turtle are nonexistent. It is only on account of the coming together of causes and conditions that there is this existence which relies on false names. Yoghurt and cloth are both the same in this respect.

  Moreover, it is on account of the most minute elements of forms, smells, tastes and touchables that there exist the components of a hair. It is on account of the causes and conditions inherent in the components of a hair that a hair exists. It is on account of the causes and conditions of hairs that there exists a mass of hairs. It is on account of the causes and conditions of a mass of hairs that there exists thread. It is on account of the causes and conditions of threads that there exists cloth. It is on account of the causes and conditions of cloth that there exists a robe. If it is the case that the causes and conditions of the extremely subtle elements of forms, smells, tastes and touchables do not exist, then the components of a hair do not exist either. Because the components of a hair do not exist, then a hair does not exist either. Because a hair does not exist then a mass of hairs does not exist either. Because a mass of hairs does not exist then thread does not exist either. Because thread does not exist, then cloth does not exist either. Because cloth does not exist, then a robe does not exist either.

  Question: Still, it's not necessarily the case that everything exists on account of the coming together of causes and conditions. For instance, because tiny motes of dust are the most extremely minute, they have no constituent components. Because they have no components they have no combining [from which they are produced]. It is because cloth is coarse that it can be broken down [into constituent components]. But there are no components within tiny motes of dust. How then can they be broken down [into constituent components]? Response: "The most extremely minute" entity has no reality to it. It is a designation which is forced. Why? Because coarse and subtle are interdependent. It is on account of coarseness that there is subtlety. This entity which is subtle should additionally have that which is comparatively more subtle.

  Moreover, if this most extremely minute form exists, then it has spatial divisions corresponding to the ten directions. If it has divisions corresponding to the ten directions then this can not be referred to as "the most extremely minute" entity. If it does not have divisions corresponding to the ten directions then it cannot be referred to as "form." Moreover, if this most extremely minute entity exists, then it ought to have boundaries which divide it off from empty space. If it has that by which it can be divided then it cannot be referred to as "the most extremely minute" entity. Moreover, if this most extremely minute entity exists, there exist within it the constituent parts of forms, smells, tastes or touchables. If it possesses constituent parts consisting in forms, smells, tastes or touchables, then it cannot be referred to as "the most extremely minute" entity. If one pursues analysis in this manner as one seeks to find a most extremely minute particle, then one is unable to find it. This corresponds to a statement in a sutra, "Forms, whether coarse or whether subtle, whether subject-related or whether object-related (lit. "internal," "external.") are all inclusively contemplated as impermanent and devoid of self." It does not state therein that there exists a most extremely minute entity. [The above reductionist method of analysis] constitutes what is known as "emptiness reached by breaking into parts."

  In addition to this there is also "emptiness reached through contemplation." This cloth comes into existence in accordance with the mind. In the case of the person who sits in dhyana [absorption], as he contemplates a piece of cloth he may make it into earth or make it into water or make it into fire or make it into wind. Or he may make it blue or yellow or white or red or entirely empty, entering contemplation thereby in accordance with the ten universals (k.rtsnaayatana). This is exemplified by one time when the Buddha was at Mount G.rdhrakuu.ta. He went together with the bhikshu sangha into the city of Kings' Abode. They came upon a large pool of water in the road. The Buddha spread out his sitting cloth on the surface of the water and sat down. He told the bhikshus, "When a bhikshu's entry into dhyana reaches the point where his mind gains a state of sovereign independence, he is able to cause a great body of water to turn into earth so that it then immediately becomes solid ground. How is this so? Because within this water there exists a portion which is earth. It is the same for water, fire or wind. In this case the gold, silver and other precious things [within the water] all become solid. How is this so? It is because portions of all of them exist within the water."

  This is also exemplified by a particular beautiful form. When a lustful person sees it, he is of the opinion that it is pure and marvelous and so his mind develops a defiled attachment. When a person who practices the contemplation of impurity sees it, he perceives all manner of disgusting discharges and finds that there is not a single part of it that is pure. When one who is the same by virtue of being a woman sees it, she may be jealous and hateful to the point where she is filled with disgust, cannot bear to look upon it, and is of the opinion that it is impure. The lustful person contemplates this and takes it as pleasurable. The jealous person contemplates this and takes it as a cause of bitterness. The yogin contemplates this and gains the Way. A person with no particular interest contemplates this and finds nothing either attractive or repellant. For him it is the same as if he were looking at earth or trees. If this beautiful form was actually pure, when these four types of people contemplated it, they should all perceive purity. If it was actually impure, when the four kinds of people contemplated it they should all see it as impure. On account of this one knows "fine" and "ugly" abide in the mind. Objectively, there is nothing which is fixed. When one pursues the realization of emptiness through contemplation the situation is much the same.

  Moreover, because the characteristics of the eighteen kinds of emptiness exist in this piece of cloth, when one contemplates it, one finds it to be empty. Because it is empty, it cannot be gotten at. On account of all sorts of causal bases such as these, material wealth is empty. It most definitely cannot be gotten at. How is it that the person who gives cannot be gotten at? It is just as with the piece of cloth which exists on account of the coming together of causes and conditions, and which cannot be gotten at through analysis of constituent parts. It is just the same with one who gives. The four great elements surrounding empty space define the body. This body's consciousness, movements, comings and goings, sitting and rising are artificially designated as a person. When, part by part, one seeks to locate him, he too cannot be gotten at. Additionally, the self cannot be found among any of the aggregates, sense realms, or sense bases. Because the self cannot be gotten at, the person who gives cannot be gotten at. How is this so? The self has all manner of designations: human, god, male, female, person who gives, person who receives, person who experiences suffering, person who experiences bliss, animal, and so forth. These only possess a designation and thus an actual dharma cannot be found there.

An extensive discussion of the absence of an inherently existent SELF
  Question: If the person who gives cannot be gotten at, how can there exist a bodhisattva who practices dana paramita?... Response: It is on account of the coming together of causes and conditions that a name exists. It is just as with a building or a cart wherein actual dharmas cannot be found.

  Question: How is it that the self cannot be found?... Response: This is as discussed above in the explanation of " Thus I have heard at one time...". Now we shall discuss it further. In the Buddha's discussion of the six consciousnesses, he indicated that the eye consciousness as well as dharmas belonging to eye consciousness together condition form. They do not condition all sorts of names such as "building," "house," "city," and "outlying neighborhood." The consciousnesses of ear, nose tongue and body are the same in this respect. The mind consciousness and the dharmas associated with the mind consciousness are aware of the eye, aware of form, aware of eye consciousness, and so forth until we come to are aware of the mind, are aware of dharmas and are aware of the mind consciousness. Those dharmas which are conditioned by this consciousness are all empty on account of their being devoid of a self, on account of their being produced and destroyed, and on account of their not being inherently existent. Nor does one reckon the existence of a self among the unconditioned dharmas. This is because there is no experiencing therein of either suffering or bliss. If one insists on the existence of a self herein, it ought to be the case then that there is a seventh consciousness which is conscious of a self. But that is not now the case. For this reason we know that there is no self.

  Question: How can one know that there is no self? Everyone gives rise to the idea of a self with respect to their own bodies. They do not give rise to such an idea with respect to the bodies of others. If there is no self associated with one's own body and yet one erroneously perceives that it constitutes a self, one ought to also erroneously perceive the existence of the self in other people's bodies where there is no self either. Furthermore, if it is the case that subjectively there is no self, given that consciousness of forms is newly produced and destroyed in every thought-moment, how could one distinguish and know that these colors are blue, yellow, red or white? Moreover, if it were the case that there were no self, since the human consciousnesses are now [constantly] being newly produced and destroyed, when the physical lifespan is cut off that would also put an end to the offenses and merits associated with one's actions. Who then would there be to follow along with and undergo [retribution for karmic deeds]? Who then would experience [subsequent] suffering or bliss? Who would obtain liberation? On account of all of these subject-related conditions, one knows that a self does exist... Response: These ideas all have problems. If it were the case that one reckoned the existence of a self in the body of someone else, then we ought to next ask, "Why is it that one does not then reckon the existence of a self in one's own body?" Moreover, because the five aggregates are produced from causes and conditions, they are empty and devoid of a self. The twenty views associated with the body are produce from the causes and conditions of ignorance. This view which perceives a self therein naturally arises through the continuity of the five aggregates. Because it is produced from the conditions associated with these very five aggregates, one straightaway reckons that these five aggregates are what constitute the self. This does not occur with respect to another person's body on account of the specificity of individual habituation. Furthermore, if there did exist a spiritual soul (lit. "spirit" = aatman), it could be that one reckoned the existence of one's self in the body of another. You have not yet understood about the existence or nonexistence of your own spiritual soul and yet you inquire about reckoning the existence of one's self in the body of another person. This is like being asked by someone about the horns of a hare and then replying to him that they are like the horns of a horse based on the assumption that if the horns of a horse actually do exist, then they may be used as a basis for proving the existence of the horns of a hare. And so one proceeds in this manner, not yet having understood about the existence of the horns of a horse, yet still desiring to take them as proof for the existence of the horns of a hare. Moreover, as for your idea that it is because one naturally generates the idea of a self with respect to one's own body that one then holds the opinion that a spiritual soul exists, since you claim that the spiritual soul is all-pervading, one ought indeed to reckon the existence of a self in another person's body. For this reason one should not say that one gives rise to the idea of a self with respect to one's own body but does not give rise to it in relation to another person's body and that therefore one knows that a spiritual soul exists.

  Then again, there are people who do have the idea of a self arise in relation to other phenomena. For instance, certain non-buddhists who sit in dhyana absorption and who, when they employ the universal pervasion of the earth element to enter a contemplative state, develop the view that, "The earth is me and I am the earth." There are similar cases in relation to water, fire, wind and space. It may also be the case that, on account of inverted views, one reckons that one's self also inhabits another person's body.

  Additionally, there are times where someone generates the idea of one's self inhabiting another person's body. Take for example the case of a man who had been given a mission whereby he was compelled to travel a great distance. He spent the night alone in a vacant dwelling. In the middle of the night a ghost carried in a man's corpse and laid it down in front of him. Then there was another ghost who chased along behind and angrily castigated the first ghost, yelling, "This corpse is mine! Why did you carry it in here?" The first ghost said, "It belongs to me! I carried it in here myself!" The second ghost retorted, "The fact of the matter is, I am the one who carried this corpse in here!" Then each of the ghosts grabbed one of the hands of the corpse and tried to pull it away from the other. Thereupon the first ghost said, "There's a man here. We can ask him to settle this." The ghost who had come in later then asked the traveler, "Well, who was it that carried this corpse in here?"

  The traveler thought to himself, "Both of these ghosts are very strong. If I report the facts, I'm bound to die. If I lie, I'm also bound to die. So, since I can't avoid being killed in either case, what's the point in lying about it?" And so he replied, "It was the first ghost who carried in the corpse."

  The second ghost flew into a rage, tore off one of the traveler's hands and then threw it down on the ground. At this, the first ghost pulled off one of the arms from the corpse and attached it as a replacement. They then proceeded in this fashion with both arms, both feet, the head, the two sides, and so forth until the traveler's entire body had been switched. The two ghosts then proceeded to devour the body which they had gotten from the exchange. When they had finished, they wiped off their mouths and departed.

  At that point the traveler thought to himself, "With my very own eyes I saw those two ghosts entirely devour the body born of my mother! This body which I now have here is composed entirely of someone else's flesh! Do I really still have a body now? Or is it the case that I have no body at all? If I hold the view that I do indeed have a body,--that body is actually somebody else's entirely. If I hold that I don't have one,--still, there is a body here right now! He continued to ponder like this until his mind became so confused and distressed that he became like a man gone mad.

  The next morning, he went off down the road. When he reached the neighboring country he saw that there was a Buddha stupa and a group of monks. He couldn't talk about anything else. He could only keep asking whether his body was existent or nonexistent. The bhikshus asked him, "Just who are you, anyway?" The traveler replied, "Well, as for me, I don't know myself whether I'm a person or a non-person." He then described in detail the events which had transpired.

  The bhikshus remarked, "This man has a natural understanding of the nonexistence of a self. He could easily gain deliverance." And so they offered an explanation, saying, "From its origin on up until the present, your body has always naturally been devoid of a self. It's not something that just happened now. It is merely on account of an aggregation of the four great elements that one conceives of it as 'my' body. In this respect, your original body and this one you now have are no different." Thus the bhikshus succeeded in bring about the traveler's deliverance to the Way, whereupon he cut off all afflictions and immediately realized arhatship. This is a case of there being times when one reckons the existence of oneself in the body of another person.

  One cannot hold the view that a self exists based on its being there or here. Moreover, the actual nature of the "self" most definitely cannot be gotten at. And whether it be the characteristic of permanency, the characteristic of being impermanent, the characteristic of being inherently existent, the characteristic of not being inherently existent, the characteristic of being compounded, the characteristic of not being compounded, the characteristic of being form or the characteristic of being formless, all such characteristics as these cannot be gotten at.

  If a characteristic exists then a dharma exists. If there is no characteristic then there is no dharma. Because it is now the case that this "self" is devoid of any characteristics, one knows consequently that there is no self. If the self were permanent, then there should be no such thing as the offense of killing. Why is this so? The body can be killed because it is impermanent. The self could not be killed on account of its being permanent.

  Question: Although one could not kill the self on account of its being permanent, even if one only killed the body one would thereby incur the offense of killing... Response: As for incurring the offense of killing from the killing of the body, it says in the vinaya that if one commits suicide there is no killing offense per se. Offense on the one hand or merit on the other derives from either afflicting someone else or alternately, from extending someone else's life. It is not the case that if one makes offerings to one's own body or kills one's own body one will have either offense or merit.. It is for this reason that it says in the Vinaya that in the event that one kills one's own body there is no offense of killing per se. However, the faults of stupidity, greed and hatred are present in such a case.

  If the spiritual soul were eternal, then one should not be born and should not die. Why is this the case? According to the dharma of those such as yourself, the spiritual soul is eternal. It pervades everywhere filling up the five paths of rebirth. How could there be death or birth? Death is defined by disappearing from this place. Birth is defined by coming forth in another place. For this reason one cannot say that the spiritual soul is eternal. If it were the case that the spiritual soul were eternal, it should also be the case that one does not experience either suffering or bliss. How is this the case? If suffering comes, then one is distressed. If bliss comes, then one is delighted. If it is the case that it is changed by distress or delight then it is impermanent. If it were permanent then it should be like empty space which cannot be moistened by rain nor dried by heat. Nor would there be either present or future lifetimes. If it were the case that the spiritual soul were eternal, then it is manifestly the case that one should not have either birth into a later existence or a dying in the present existence.

  If it were the case that the spiritual soul were eternal then one would constantly have a view of a self and one should not then be able to realize nirvana. If the spiritual soul were eternal then there would be no arisal and no destruction. There should then be no forgetting and no errors. On account of there being no consciousness on the part of this spiritual soul and on account of its being impermanent, there is forgetting and there is also error. Therefore it is not the case that the spiritual soul is eternal. On account of all sorts of reasons such as these one can know that the spiritual soul is not characterized by permanence. If on the other hand the spiritual soul were characterized by impermanence there would be neither offenses nor merits. If the body were impermanent then the spiritual soul too would be impermanent. If the two phenomena were both destroyed then one would fall into the extreme view known as annihilationism. If one falls into this annihilationism, then that carries as a consequence that there would be no arriving at a later lifetime wherein one would undergo retribution for offenses or merits. If annihilation were the case then in gaining nirvana it would not be necessary to cut off the fetters nor would there be any function in later lives for the causes and conditions of offense and merit. On account of all sorts of reasons such as these one can know that it is not the case that the spiritual soul is impermanent either.

  If it were the case that the spiritual soul were characterized by being sovereignly independent or characterized by having that which it does, then it ought to be the case that no matter what it desired it would gain it in every case. Now however, there are cases where one desires something but, on the contrary, one does not gain it while in other cases where there is something which one does not desire but, contrary to one's wishes, one gains precisely that. If the spiritual soul were sovereignly independent then it should not be the case either that one has the creation of evil conduct and the falling into the wretched destiny of birth among the animals. Moreover, it is the case that all beings are displeased by suffering. Who then would take pleasure in bliss and yet, contrary to those inclinations, deliberately procure suffering? On account of these factors one knows that the spiritual soul is not sovereignly independent. Nor does it involve itself in actions.

  Again, take for instance when people force themselves to practice goodness out of fear of punishments. If it were the case that [the spiritual soul] is sovereignly independent, why would they force themselves to cultivate merit out of fear of punishments? Furthermore, beings do not succeed in having things happen in accordance with their intentions. They are constantly dragged about by the bonds of afflictions and affection. For all sorts of reasons such as these one should know that the spiritual soul is not sovereignly independent nor does it involve itself in actions. If it is the case that the spiritual soul is not sovereignly independent and does not involve itself in actions, this constitutes the mark of there being no spiritual soul. When one speaks of a self, this is just the six consciousness. Beyond that there are no additional factors.

  Then again, if [the spiritual soul] does not involve itself in actions, why is it that when King Yama asks the person with [karmic] offenses, "Who ordered you to commit these offenses?" that the person with the offenses replies by saying, "They were done by me myself."? On account of this one knows that it is not the case [either] that it does not involve itself in actions. As for the spiritual soul being characterized by form, this case is not so either. Why? Because all forms are impermanent.

  Question: Why do people say that the self is characterized by a form?... Response: There are those who say that the spiritual soul resides in the heart, is as tiny as a mustard seed, is pure and is referred to as the pure form body. There are other people who say that it is the size of a grain of wheat. There are those who say it is in size like a bean. There are those who say that it is a half inch in size. There are those who say it is an inch in size and that in the beginning, when one takes on a body, it is taken on as the very first thing. It is supposed to be [in shape] like the skeleton of an elephant and when one's body matures it becomes like an elephant which has already grown. There are those who say its size corresponds to that of the given person's body and that when one undergoes destruction at death it is the first to go then as well. All cases such as these do not correspond to the truth. Why? All forms are created from the four great elements. On account of their being produced from causes and conditions, they are impermanent. If it were the case that the spiritual soul were form, because form is impermanent, the spiritual soul too would be impermanent. If it is the case that it is impermanent, then [the inherent fallacies] are such as have already been discussed previously.

  Question: There are two kinds of bodies, the gross body and the minute body. The gross body is impermanent. The minute body is the spiritual soul. In life after life it constantly goes along entering into the five paths of rebirth... Response: This minute body cannot be found. If a minute body does exist then there ought to be a location in which it can be found such as in the five organs or the four limbs. However, one can look for it in every single place but it still cannot be found.

  Question: This minute body is extremely minute. When one first dies, it has already gone. When one is alive, one cannot search for and find it. How could you be able to view it? Additionally, this minute body is not such as the five sense faculties would be able to perceive or would be able to be aware of. Only if one were a sage possessed of the superknowledges would one then be able to succeed in seeing it. Response: If that were the case then it would be no different from being nonexistent. And as for when a person dies, relinquishing the aggregates of this life and entering the intermediary aggregates, at this time, when the body of the present life dies and one receives the body of the intermediary aggregates, this has no earlier and later. When one dies one is immediately born. This is analogous to using a seal made of wax to stamp an impression in the mud. When the impression is received in the mud the seal is immediately ruined. The creation and destruction occur at a single moment in which there is no prior and later. At this time one takes on the intermediary existence in the intermediary aggregates. When one relinquishes these intermediary aggregates one takes on existence in the aggregates of the next life.

  As for your saying that the minute body is just these intermediary aggregates, the body of the intermediary aggregates has no going on forth and it has no entering [the next incarnation]. This process is analogous to the lighting of a lamp. The continuity involved in being born and dying is neither eternal nor cut off. The Buddha said that every constituent of the form aggregate, whether past, future or present, whether subject-related, whether object-related, whether gross or whether minute,-- all are utterly impermanent. This extremely minute form which this spiritual soul of yours takes ought also to be impermanent and destroyed through being cut off. On account of all sorts of reasons such as these one can know that it is not the case that it has the attribute of form. Nor is it characterized by being formless. As for that which is formless, it is comprised of the four [non-form] aggregates and the unconditioned. Because those four aggregates in question are impermanent, because they are not inherently existent, and because they are subsumed within causes and conditions, it should not be the case that they constitute the "spiritual soul." Within the three unconditioned dharmas, there is no reckoning of the existence of a spiritual soul. This is because there is nothing which is experienced. On account of all sorts of reasons such as these, one knows that it is not the case that the spirit is characterized by being formless.

  In this manner, one looks for a self throughout heaven and earth and no matter whether one looks among that which is subject-related or that which is object-related, or whether one looks throughout the three periods of time or the ten directions, it cannot be found. There is only a coming together of the twelve sense bases generating the six consciousnesses. Where these three factors come together it is referred to as "contact." "Contact" generates feeling, perception, consideration and other dharmas associated with the mind. In the midst of these dharmas, on account of the power of ignorance, a view of the body as constituting the self (satkaayad.r.s.ti) arises. On account of the arisal of the view of a body, one is of the opinion that a spiritual soul exists. As for this "view of a body constituting a self," it is cut off when one experiences the seeing of the truth of suffering (du.hkhasatyadar'sana) and gains the Dharma wisdom associated with suffering (du.hkhe dharmajnaana)+and+the+comparative+wisdom+associated+with+suffering+(du.hkhe+'nvayajnaana). When it is cut off one does not then perceive the existence of a spiritual soul.

  As for your earlier question which asked, "If there was no subject-related spiritual soul or related form, since consciousness is newly produced and destroyed in every instant, how could one distinguish and know the colors of blue, yellow, red and white?", if it were the case that you had such a spiritual soul, it too would be unable to be aware [of these colors] on its own. It must rely upon eye consciousness in order to be aware of them. If this is the case then the spiritual soul has no function. The eye consciousness is aware of the production and extinction of [visual] forms [by way of] a facsimile of production and a facsimile of extinction. Afterwards, a dharma arises in the mind known as mindfulness. This mindfulness is a characteristic occurring in relation to conditioned dharmas. Although this [event of a particular] extinction is already in the past, this mindfulness is able to remain aware of it.

  This is comparable to the arya who, through the power of wisdom, is able to know matters having to do with future time. He is equally able in each successive thought moment to be aware of past dharmas. When an earlier [instance of] eye consciousness is extinguished one gives rise to a subsequent [instance of] eye consciousness. The later [instances of] eye consciousness transform in their acuity so that they possess a power. Although the [visual] forms exist only temporarily and so do not abide, on account of the acuity of the power of mindfulness one is able to remain aware of them. It is on account of this factor that, although there is impermanence by virtue of the production and extinction which takes place in each successive thought-moment, one is still able to distinguish and be aware of [visual] forms.

  Again, as for your saying that the consciousness of people in the present is continuously being newly produced and destroyed such that when the lifespan is cut off, it too is cut off, and [as for your asking], who then accords with and who experiences [retribution for] offenses and merits, who experiences suffering and bliss and who gains liberation,-- I shall now reply to you. Now, when a person has not yet gained the actual way, afflictions cover over his mind. He engages in karmic actions which serve as the causes and conditions for being born. When he dies, following upon these five aggregates there is a subsequent production of five aggregates.

  This is analogous to one lamp then lighting another lamp. It is also like the production of grain. There are three causes and conditions: earth, water and seed. The birth of the body in the later life is just like this: there is the body, there is karmic activity characterized by outflows, and there are the fetters. It is on account of these three factors that the subsequent body is produced. Herein the causes and conditions associated with the karma of the body are such that they cannot be cut off and cannot be destroyed. Only the fetters can be cut off. When the fetters are cut off, although there exists a residual body and residual karma, one is able to succeed in gaining liberation.

  Just as when one has a seed, has soil, but because one has no water, it is unable to grow, so too, although one may have the body and have the karma, if there is no moistening by the water of affection-related fetters, one is not reborn. This is how one is still able to gain liberation even though there is no "spirit soul." It is on account of ignorance that one is bound up. It is on account of wisdom that one is released. If this is the case then the "self" serves no function.

  Then again, it is the coming together of this "name and form" that is artificially referred to as a "person." This person is tied up by the fetters. When one gains the "claw" of non-outflow wisdom, then one unties all of these fetters. At this time this is a case of a person having gained liberation. It is analogous to the tying up and untying of a rope. The rope is just the fetters. There are no other dharmas involved in this bondage.. In worldly parlance one speaks of the tying up done with a rope and the untying of a rope. Name and form (naamaruupa, i.e. the five aggregates) are just like this. The two dharmas of name and form are together artificially referred to as "a person." These fetters are no different from name and form. They are simply referred to as "name and form" or as "the fetters." The untying of [the knot of] name and form or the undergoing of [retribution for] offenses and merits are just like this. Although there is no single dharma by which a "person" is real, on account of name and form, there is the experiencing of the fruit resulting from offenses or from merit. Thus it is that a "person" becomes so named.

  This is analogous to a cart's carrying of goods. If one analyzes according to each and every part, then there is finally no actuality found to the term "cart." But "cart" is the name for that which takes on a load of goods. A person's taking on of offenses and blessings is just the same as this. Name and form take on offenses and blessings and so a "person" receives that name. The taking on of suffering and bliss is just like this. On account of all sorts of causes and conditions such as these, a "spiritual soul" cannot be found. The "spiritual soul" is just the one who performs the giving. The one who is the recipient is just the same. You take it that it is a "spiritual soul" which constitutes a "person." [But], for all of these reasons a person who performs the giving cannot be found. A person who receives [the gift] cannot be found either. It is on account of all sorts of causes and conditions such as these that it is said that the valuable object, the person who gives, and the person who receives [all] cannot be found.

  Question: If the giving as well as the other dharmas correspond to the reality mark whereby there is nothing which is demolished through reductive analysis, nothing which is extinguished, nothing which is produced and nothing which is created, why is it said that, when subjected to reductive analysis, the three factors cannot be gotten at? Response: Those who are like the common man do perceive [the existence of] a donor, a recipient and a valuable object. This constitutes an inverted and false view. When one is born into the world one [may] experience bliss. When the merit is exhausted, one then experiences a reversal [of fortunes]. It is on account of this that the Buddha wished to cause the bodhisattva to practice the way of reality and gain the real resultant retribution. The real resultant retribution is just the way of the Buddha. It was in order to demolish false views through reductive analysis that the Buddha said that the three factors cannot be gotten at. In actuality there is nothing which is demolished through reductive analysis. How is this the case? It is because all dharmas from their origin until the present are and always have been ultimately empty. The incalculable number of other such causes and conditions cannot be gotten at either. It is on the basis of this that one speaks of the perfect fulfillment of dana paramita.

The traveller and the ghosts
  Then again, there are people who do have the idea of a self arise in relation to other phenomena. For instance, certain non-buddhists who sit in dhyana absorption and who, when they employ the universal pervasion of the earth element to enter a contemplative state, develop the view that, "The earth is me and I am the earth." There are similar cases in relation to water, fire, wind and space. It may also be the case that, on account of inverted views, one reckons that one's self also inhabits another person's body.

  Additionally, there are times where someone generates the idea of one's self inhabiting another person's body. Take for example the case of a man who had been given a mission whereby he was compelled to travel a great distance. He spent the night alone in a vacant dwelling. In the middle of the night a ghost carried in a man's corpse and laid it down in front of him. Then there was another ghost who chased along behind and angrily castigated the first ghost, yelling, "This corpse is mine! Why did you carry it in here?" The first ghost said, "It belongs to me! I carried it in here myself!" The second ghost retorted, "The fact of the matter is, I am the one who carried this corpse in here!" Then each of the ghosts grabbed one of the hands of the corpse and tried to pull it away from the other. Thereupon the first ghost said, "There's a man here. We can ask him to settle this." The ghost who had come in later then asked the traveler, "Well, who was it that carried this corpse in here?"

  The traveler thought to himself, "Both of these ghosts are very strong. If I report the facts, I'm bound to die. If I lie, I'm also bound to die. So, since I can't avoid being killed in either case, what's the point in lying about it?" And so he replied, "It was the first ghost who carried in the corpse."

  The second ghost flew into a rage, tore off one of the traveler's hands and then threw it down on the ground. At this, the first ghost pulled off one of the arms from the corpse and attached it as a replacement. They then proceeded in this fashion with both arms, both feet, the head, the two sides, and so forth until the traveler's entire body had been switched. The two ghosts then proceeded to devour the body which they had gotten from the exchange. When they had finished, they wiped off their mouths and departed.

  At that point the traveler thought to himself, "With my very own eyes I saw those two ghosts entirely devour the body born of my mother! This body which I now have here is composed entirely of someone else's flesh! Do I really still have a body now? Or is it the case that I have no body at all? If I hold the view that I do indeed have a body,--that body is actually somebody else's entirely. If I hold that I don't have one,--still, there is a body here right now! He continued to ponder like this until his mind became so confused and distressed that he became like a man gone mad.

  The next morning, he went off down the road. When he reached the neighboring country he saw that there was a Buddha stupa and a group of monks. He couldn't talk about anything else. He could only keep asking whether his body was existent or nonexistent. The bhikshus asked him, "Just who are you, anyway?" The traveler replied, "Well, as for me, I don't know myself whether I'm a person or a non-person." He then described in detail the events which had transpired.

  The bhikshus remarked, "This man has a natural understanding of the nonexistence of a self. He could easily gain deliverance." And so they offered an explanation, saying, "From its origin on up until the present, your body has always naturally been devoid of a self. It's not something that just happened now. It is merely on account of an aggregation of the four great elements that one conceives of it as 'my' body. In this respect, your original body and this one you now have are no different." Thus the bhikshus succeeded in bring about the traveler's deliverance to the Way, whereupon he cut off all afflictions and immediately realized arhatship. This is a case of there being times when one reckons the existence of oneself in the body of another person.

How giving gives rise to all of the six perfections
  Then again, if the bodhisattva practices dana paramita, he is able thereby to give rise to [all of] the six paramitas. It is at this time that it is referred to as complete fulfillment of dana paramita.

  How can giving bring forth dana paramita? Dana may be of lesser, middling or superior quality. From the lesser is born the middling. From the middling is born the superior. If one employs drink, food or coarse things and employs therein a lax mind in giving, this is what is known as lesser giving. If one practices giving and it transforms and increases such that one is able to take clothing or precious goods and use them in one's giving, this constitutes bringing forth the middling from the lesser. When the mind of giving transforms and increases such that there is nothing whatsoever which one cherishes as too dear, so that one is then able to employ one's head, eyes, blood, flesh, country , wealth, wives and sons, exhaustively using them in one's giving, this constitutes bringing forth the superior from the middling.

  Take for example when Shakyamuni Buddha first brought forth the aspiration [to achieve buddhahood]. He was the king of a great country who was named "Brilliance." In seeking after the buddha way, he performed a lesser or greater amount of giving. When he transformed and took on his next body he became a potter who was able to make gifts of bathing implements and rock honey condiments to a different Shakyamuni Buddha and his bhikshu sangha. Subsequently, he changed bodies and next became the daughter of a great elder who made offerings of lamps to Kaundinya Buddha. All sorts of instances such as these constitute what is meant by the bodhisattva's practice of lesser giving.

  [Next], take for instance when Shakyamuni Buddha in a former life as the son of an elder made offerings of robes to Great Voice Buddha. After that buddha crossed into extinction, he erected ninety stupas. Afterwards he changed bodies again and became the king of a great country who made an offering to Lion Buddha of a canopy composed of the seven precious things. Afterwards, he then took on a body wherein he became a greater elder who made an offering to Marvelous Eyes Buddha of supremely fine buildings and marvelous flowers created from the seven precious things. All sorts of instances such as these constitute what is known as the bodhisattva's practice of middling giving.

  Take for example when Shakyamuni Buddha in a former life was a rishi. On seeing Kaundinya Buddha who was handsome, upright, and exceptionally marvelous, he threw himself down off of a mountain in front of that buddha. His body remained unharmed and he then stood off to one side. Again, take for example He Who Beings Delight in Seeing Bodhisattva who used his own body as a lamp in making offerings to Sun and Moonlight Virtue Buddha. All sorts of examples such as these of not cherishing one's own body and life in making offerings to the buddhas constitute the bodhisattva's practice of superior giving.

  This is what is meant by the bodhisattva's three kinds of giving. If there is a being who has just brought forth the aspiration to achieve buddhahood who takes up the practice of giving, he too may be just like this. First he may use drink and food in his giving. When the mind of giving transforms so that it increases, he will be able to take even the flesh of his own body and give it. First he may use all manner of fine condiments in his giving. Later, when the mind transforms and increases in its strength, he may be able to give even the blood from his own body. At first he may employ paper, ink and scriptures in his giving while also making offerings to the masters of Dharma of robes, drink, food and the four kinds of offerings. And then finally, when he has gained the Dharma body, for the sake of an incalculable number of beings, he may speak many varieties of Dharma and so carry forth the giving of Dharma. All sorts of cases such as these illustrate the development of dana paramita from within [the practice of] dana paramita.

  How is it that the bodhisattva's practice of giving can generate sila paramita? The bodhisattva reflects, "Beings become poor and destitute in later lives on account of not practicing giving. On account of becoming poor and destitute, the thought of stealing arises in them. On account of engaging in stealing, the harm of killing then arises. On account of being poor and destitute, one may be sexually unsatisfied. On account of being sexually unsatisfied, one may engage in sexual misconduct. Additionally, on account of being poor and destitute one may be treated as of low social station by others. On account of the fearfulness associated with being of low social station one may engage in false speech. On account of causes and conditions such as these which are associated with being poor and destitute one courses along the path of the ten unwholesome deeds. If one practices giving, then when one is born one possesses valuable goods. Because one has valuable goods one does not engage in that which is not Dharma. Why is this the case? It is because the five objects of the senses are abundant and there is nothing which one lacks."

  [This principal] is illustrated by the case of Devadatta in a previous life when he was a snake who dwelt together with a frog and a turtle in a pond. They had all become close friends. Later, the water of the pond dried up. They were hungry, poor, in desperate straits and lacking in any other resources. At that time the snake dispatched the turtle to call forth the frog. The frog then sent back the turtle by uttering a verse:

  If one encounters poverty and destitution one loses one's original mind. One doesn't consider one's original principals for eating has become foremost. You take what I tell you and so inform the snake. That this frog will never come and arrive at your side. If, however, one cultivates giving, in later lives one will possess merit and have nothing which one lacks. If this is the case then one will be able to uphold the precepts and will be free of these manifold ills. This is how giving is able to bring forth sila paramita. Additionally, when one gives one is able to bring about a scarcity of all of the fetters associated with the breaking of precepts while also being able to inhance the mind devoted to upholding the precepts, thereby causing it to become solid. This constitutes the causal bases associated with giving bringing about an increase in the cultivation of the precepts.

  Moreover, when the bodhisattva practices giving he constantly brings forth thoughts of loving-kindness and compassion for the recipient. He is not attached to valuables and does not cherish his own goods. How much the less would he engage in stealing. When one feels loving-kindness and compassion for the recipient, how could one maintain ideas intent on killing? In ways such as these he is able to block off the breaking of precepts. This constitutes giving bringing forth precepts. If one is able to carry out giving employing a mind which destroys miserliness, then afterwards he will easily succeed in practicing the upholdance of precepts, patience, and so forth.

  This [principal] is illustrated by the case of Manjushri when, long ago in the past in a far distant kalpa he was a bhikshu who went into the city to seek alms. He received a bowl full of "hundred-flavored delightful dumplings." In the city there was a small child who followed along after him, begging. He did not immediately give anything to him. When they reached a mural depicting the Buddha he picked up two of the dumplings with his hand and required [of the child], "If you are able to eat only one of the dumplings yourself while taking one of the dumplings and giving it to the Sangha, I will give them to you." [The child] immediately responded with assent and then took one of the delightful dumplings and presented it to the assembled Sangha [in the mural]. Afterwards he obtained Manjushri's consent to receive the precepts and brought forth the aspiration to become a buddha. In this fashion the practice of giving is able to cause one to take on the precepts and bring forth the aspiration to become a buddha. This constitutes the practice of giving bringing forth sila paramita.

  Furthermore, it is as a reward for giving that one receives offerings of the four things, lives in a fine country, finds a good [spiritual] master and nothing in which he is lacking. One is therefore able to uphold the precepts. Additionally, it is as a reward for giving that one's mind is regulated and supple. Because one's mind is regulated and supple one is able from birth to uphold the precepts. Because one is able to uphold the precepts from birth one is able to control one's own mind even from within the midst of unwholesome dharmas. All sorts of causes and conditions such as these constitute the bringing forth of the sila paramita on the basis of the practice of giving.

  How is it that giving is able to bring forth ksanti paramita? When the bodhisattva performs an act of giving and the recipient subjects him to verbal abuse or has much which he seeks to obtain or seeks to get it at an inopportune time, or perhaps seeks to obtain what he should not seek, the bodhisattva thinks to himself at this time, "Now, as I am giving, I am desirous of seeking the buddha way. It is not the case that anyone ordered me to do this giving. As I am doing it at my own behest, why should I become angry?" After he has thought to himself in this manner he cultivates patience. This is a case of giving producing ksanti paramita.

  Then again, when the bodhisattva gives, if the recipient is hateful and abusive, he then thinks to himself, "As I now cultivate giving both subject-related and object-related things, I am able to relinquish even that which is difficult to relinquish, how much the less should I be unable to have patience with what is merely an empty sound? If I am not patient with it, then that which I am able to give will be impure. It would be just as when a white elephant enters into a pool, bathes, and then having gotten out, returns again and covers himself with dust. To give and yet be impatient would be just like this." Having thought like this he carries on with the practice of patience. All sorts of such causes and conditions associated with giving bring forth ksanti paramita.

  How is it that giving brings forth virya paramita? When the bodhisattva engages in the practice of giving he constantly cultivates vigor. Why is this? When the bodhisattva first brings forth the thought [directed towards buddhahood], his merit is not yet vast. At that time he is desirous of cultivating the two kinds of giving in order to fulfill the aspirations of all beings. Because of a shortage of things [to give] he earnestly seeks for valuables and Dharma in order to be able to adequately supply them.

  This is illustrated by the case of Shakyamuni Buddha in a previous lifetime when he was a great physician king who worked to cure every manner of disease without any concern for fame or profit. It was done out of pity for all beings. The sick were extremely many. His powers were inadequate to rescue everyone. He was concerned about and mindful of everyone and yet matters did not correspond [in their outcome] to his mind's aspirations. He became so distressed and agitated that he died.

  He was then reborn in the Traayastri.m'sa Heaven. He thought to himself, "Now I've been reborn in the heavens. All I'm doing is consuming my reward of blessings without any sort of long term benefit arising thereby. " He then used a skillful means to put an end to that personal existence. Having relinquished this long life in the heavens he was reborn as a dragon prince in the palace of Saagara, the dragon king. His body grew to full maturity. His parents were extremely attached in their love for him. He desired to die and so went to the king of the golden-winged [garu.da] birds. The bird then immediately seized this young dragon and devoured him in the top of a 'saalmalii tree. The father and mother wailed and cried in grief-stricken distress.

  Having died, the young dragon was then reborn in Jambudvipa as a prince in the house of the king of a great country. He was named "Able to Give." From the moment he was born he was able to speak. He asked all of the retainers, "Now, what all does this country contain. Bring it all forth so that it can be used to make gifts. Everyone became amazed and fearful. They all withdrew from him and ran off. His mother felt kindness and love for him and so looked after him by herself. He said to his mother, "I am not a raa.k.sasa [ghost]. Why has everyone run off? In my prevous lives I have always taken pleasure in giving. I have been a donor to everyone."

  When his mother heard his words she reported them to everyone else. The other people all returned. The mother took pleasure in raising him. By the time he had grown older he had given away everything he owned. He then went to his father, the king, and requested things to give. His father gave him his share. Again, he gave it all away. He observed that the people of Jambudvipa were all poverty-stricken and ever subject to bitter suffering. He thought to supply them with gifts but the valuables were inadequate. He then began to weep and inquired of everyone, "By what means may I cause everyone to become entirely replete with valuables?"

  The wise elders said, "We have heard of the existence of a precious wish-fulfilling pearl. If you were able to obtain this pearl then no matter what your heart desired there would be noting which would not be obtained with certainty."

  When the Bodhisattva had heard this words he spoke to his mother and father, saying, "I desire to go out upon the great sea and seek for the precious wish-fulfilling pearl worn on the head of the dragon king."

  His father and mother replied, "We have only you, our one son. If you go out upon the great sea the many difficulties will be difficult to overcome. If there should come a morning when we have lost you, what use would we have for living? It's not necessary for you to go. We still have things in our treasury which we can supply you with." The son said, "There is a limit to the contents of the treasury. My intentions are measureless. I wish to bestow enough wealth to satisfy everyone so that they will never be found wanting. I pray that you will give your permission so that I may succeed in according with my original aspiration to cause everyone in Jambudvipa to be completely provided for."

  His parents knew that his determination was immense. They did not dare to restrain him and so subsequently relented and allowed him to go. At that time there were five hundred merchants who, because his meritorious qualities were vast, took pleasure in following him wherever he went. They knew the day when he was due to depart and so gathered at the port. The Bodhisattva had previously heard that Saagara, the dragon king, had a precious wish-fulfilling pearl. He inquired of everyone, "Who knows the route across the sea to his dragon palace?" There was a blind man named Daasa who had been to sea seven times and who knew all of the sea routes. The Bodhisattva ordered him to travel with him. He replied, "As I have grown old both of my eyes have lost their acuity. Although I have been to sea many times, I cannot go this time."

  The Bodhisattva said, "In going forth this time I do not do it for my own sake. I seek the precious wish-fulfilling pearl for the universal benefit of everyone. I desire to completely supply all beings so that they are caused to never again be found wanting. Then I wish to instruct them in the causes and conditions of the dharma of the Way. You are a wise man. How can you withdraw? How, in the absence of your powers, could my vow possibly succeed?"

  When Daasa had heard his entreaty he happily and with identical aspiration said to the Bodhisattva, "I'll now go out with you onto the great sea. I most certainly will not survive. You should lay my body to rest on the island of gold sands in the midst of the ocean."

  When the provisions for the journey had all been loaded they loosened the last of the seven lines. The ship took off like a camel and arrived at the island of numerous gems. The host of merchants all tried to outdo each other in gathering up the seven precious jewels. When they had all satisfied themselves they asked the Bodhisattva, "Why do you not gather them?"

  The Bodhisattva replied, "It is the precious wish-fulfilling pearl which I seek. I have no use for these things of finite value. You all should know when enough is enough and should know too what is an appropriate amount so that the ship will not become overloaded and so that you won't fail to avoid disaster."

  At this time the group of merchants said to the Bodhisattva, "Venerable, invoke a spell for us to insure our safety." They then withdrew. At this point Daasa instructed the Bodhisattva, "Hold aside the dinghy. We will want to go off on this other route. When we have been driven by the wind for seven days we will arrive at a treacherous place on the southern shore of the vast sea. There should be a steep cliff with branches from a date tree forest overhanging the water. If a strong wind blows the ship will be overturned and capsized. By reaching up and grabbing hold of the date branches you may be able to save yourself. As I have no sight I will likely die at that point. Beyond this precipitous shoreline there will be the isle of gold sand. You can take my body and lay it to rest in the midst of those sands. Those gold sands are pure. This is my desire.

  And so it was just as he had foretold. The wind came and they set off. Having come to the steep cliffs, it was just as Daasa had described. The bodhisattva reached up, grabbed onto the date branches and so avoided disaster. He interred Daasa's body in the ground of gold. From this point he went on alone according to his earlier instructions. He floated in deep water for seven days. He then walked for seven days in water the depth of his throat. Then he moved for seven days through water up to his waist. After that he walked for seven days through water up to his knees. Then he walked through mud for seven days. Then he came upon marvelous lotus flowers which were fresh and pure and soft. He thought to himself, "These blossoms are soft and fragile. I should enter into the empty space samadhi." And so he made his body light and walked upon the lotus blossoms for another seven days. Then he came upon poisonous snakes and thought to himself, "These poisonous serpents are extremely fearsome." He then entered the samadhi of loving kindness. He then walked upon the heads of the poisonous snakes for seven days. The snakes all extended their heads up to receive the bodhisattva and so allowed him to tread upon them as he passed. After he had passed through this difficulty he saw that there was a jeweled city with seven barriers. There were seven successive moats. Each of the moats was filled with poisonous snakes and had three huge dragons guarding the gate.

  The dragons saw that the bodhisattva was possessed of a handsome and fine appearance, that he was a bearer of refined features and solemn deportment, and that he had been able to successfully pass through numerous difficulties in arriving at this place. They thought to themselves, "It is not the case that this is an ordinary man. It is certainly the case that he is a bodhisattva, a man possessed of much merit." They then immediately allowed him to advance directly to enter the palace. It had not been so long from the time when the mate of the dragon king had lost her son and so she continued as before to grieve and weep. She observed the arrival of the Bodhisattva. The mate of the dragon king possessed superknowledges and so knew that this was her son. [She was so affected by this realization that] milk flowed forth from her two breasts. She gave the order allowing him to sit down and then asked him, "You are my son. After you left me and you died, where were you reborn?"

  The Bodhisattva was also able to know his previous lives. He knew that these were his parents and so replied, "I was reborn on the continent of Jambudvipa as a prince to the king of a great country. On account of feeling pity for the poverty-stricken people afflicted by the intense sufferings of hunger and cold who are therefore unable to enjoy their own freedom I have come here seeking the precious wish-fulfilling pearl." His mother replied, "Your father wears this precious pearl as a crown. It would be difficult to acquire it. Surely he will take you into the treasury of jewels where he will certainly desire to give you whatever you desire. You should reply by saying, 'I have no need of any of the other various jewels. I only desire the precious pearl atop the head of the Great King. If I may receive such kindness I pray that you will bestow it upon me.' It may be that you can acquire it in this way." He then went to see his father. His father was overcome with nostalgia and delight and experienced boundless rejoicing. He thought with pity on his son's coming from afar, having to undergo extreme difficulties and now arriving at this place. He showed him his marvelous jewels and said, "I will give you whatever you want. Take whatever you need."

  The Bodhisattva said, "I came from afar wishing to see the Great King. I am seeking to obtain the precious wish-fulfilling pearl on the King's head. If I may receive such kindness, may it be that you will bestow it upon me. If I am not given that then I have no need of any other thing." The Dragon King replied, saying, "I have only this single pearl which I always wear as crown. The people of Jambudvipa possess only scant merit and are of such base character that they should not be allowed to see it." The Bodhisattva replied, "It is on account of this that I have come from afar undergoing extreme difficulties and risking death. It is for the sake of the people of Jambudvipa who have only scant merit, who are poverty-stricken and possessed of base character. I wish to use the precious wish-fulfilling pearl to provide for them all that they desire so that I may then use the causes and conditions of the buddha way to teach and transform them." The dragon king gave him the pearl and placed a condition on it by saying, "I will now give you this pearl. But when you are about to depart from the world you must first return it to me." He replied, "With all respect, it shall be as the King instructs." When the Bodhisattva had acquired the pearl he flew up into space and with the ease of extending and withdrawing his arm, he instantly arrived in Jambudvipa.

  When the human royal parents observed his auspicious return they were delighted and danced about with joy. They hugged him and then asked, "Well, what did you acquire?" He replied, "I have gotten the precious wish-fulfilling pearl." They asked, "Where is it now?" He told them, "It's in the corner of my robe." His parents said, "How could it be so small?" He explained, "It's [power] resides in its supernatural qualities. It is not a function of its size." He told his parents, "It should be ordered that, both inside and outside of the city, the grounds are to be swept clean and incense is to be burned. Banners should be hung and canopies set up. Everyone should observe the standards of pure diet and take on the moral precepts."

  The next morning at dawn he used a tall wooden pole as a monument and attached the pearl on the top of it. At that time the Bodhisattva swore an oath, "If it is the case that I am to be able to complete the Buddha path and bring everyone to deliverance then this pearl should, in accordance with my vow, bring forth all kinds of precious things so that whatever anyone needs, it will manifest in utter repletion." At that time dark clouds covered the entire sky and rained down every type of precious thing including clothes, drink, food, bedding, and medicines. Whatever people needed was amply available. This was constantly the case, never ceasing until the end of his life. Instances such as this illustrate what is meant by a bodhisattva's practice of giving serving to bring forth the paramita of vigor.

  How is it that the bodhisattva's practice of giving generates the paramita of dhyana? When the bodhisattva gives he is able to eliminate stinginess. Having gotten rid of stinginess he is [further] able on account of this giving to devote himself single-mindedly to the gradual elimination of the five coverings. When one is able to eliminate the five coverings this itself is what is meant by dhyana. Then again, it is on account of giving that the mind enters into the first dhyana on up to the dhyana of the extinction samadhi. How is it that it is "on account of" giving? Perhaps when one gives to a practitioner of dhyana, one reflects, "It is on account of this person's cultivation of dhyana absorption that I make an offering with a pure mind. Why do I settle for only a vicarious experience of dhyana?" And so one then looks into the mind and considers taking up the cultivation of dhyana oneself. Or perhaps on giving to a poverty-stricken person one reflects upon this person's previous lives in which he engaged in all manner of unwholesomeness, did not seek single-mindedness, did not cultivate works which generate blessings and so, as a result, in this life is poverty-stricken. And so on account of this one encourages himself to takes up the practice of wholesome single-mindedness and thereby enters into the dhyana absorptions.

  This is as described [in the story of] Sudar'sana, the cakravartin king. Eighty-four thousand of the lesser kings came to his court, all bringing marvelous things made of the seven precious things which they had brought as offerings. The King declared, "I do not need them. You may each use them to cultivate blessings."

  The [lesser] kings thought to themselves, "Although the great King cannot bring himself to take them, still, it wouldn't be appropriate for us to take them for our own use." And so together they constructed a seven-jeweled pavilion. They planted rows of seven-jeweled trees and created bathing pools made of the seven jewels. Within the great pavilion they built eighty-four thousand multi-storied halls of the seven jewels. Within each of the multi-storied halls there was a seven-jeweled throne with multi-colored cushions at each end of the throne. Decorated canopies were suspended above and the ground was sprinkled with fragrances. After all of these preparations had been made they addressed the King, saying, "We pray that his majesty will accept this Dharma pavilion with its bejewelled trees and bathing pools." The King indicated his acceptance by remaining silent and then thought to himself, "I ought not to indulge myself with the pleasure of being the first to dwell within this new pavilion. I should invite good people such as the 'srama.nas and brahmans to first enter here to receive offerings. Afterwards I may dwell in it." He then gathered together those good personages and had them be the first to enter the jeweled pavilion where they were provided an abundance of all manner of fine and marvelous offerings. After those people had all left the King entered the jeweled pavilion and ascended into the multi-storied hall of gold and sat down upon the silver throne. There he reflected upon giving, dispensed with the five coverings, withdrew the six sense faculties , did away with the six sense objects, and, experiencing joy and bliss, entered into the first dhyana.

  Next he ascended into the multi-storied hall of silver, sat down upon the throne of gold and entered into the second dhyana. Next he ascended into the multi-storied hall of beryl, sat down upon the crystal throne and entered into the third dhyana. And then, finally, he ascended into the multi-storied jeweled hall of crystal, sat down upon the beryl throne and entered into the fourth dhyana. He sat there alone in contemplation for a total of three months. The jade ladies, the precious queen and eighty-four thousand female retainers all draped their bodies in strands of pearls and rare jewels and then came to see the King, saying, "As his majesty has for so long now withdrawn from intimate audiences, we have dared to come and offer our greetings." The King announced to them, "Sisters, each of you should maintain a mind imbued with correctness. You should serve me as friends. Don't act as my adversaries." The jade ladies and the precious queen began to weep and, as their tears streamed down, they asked, "Why does the Great King now refer to us as 'sisters'? Surely he thinks [of us] differently now. Pray, may we hear his intent? Why do we now receive the remonstrance: 'You should serve me as friends. Don't act as my adversary.'?" The King instructed them, saying, "If you find delight in seeing me as a worldly object with which to engage in the affairs of desire, this amounts to acting as my adversary. If, however, you are able to awaken to that which is beyond the ordinary and, realizing that the body is like an illusion, cultivate blessings, practice goodness and cut away desire-laden affections, this amounts to serving me as a friend." The jade ladies responded, "We shall adhere respectfully to the dictates of the King." After they had spoken these words they were sent back to their quarters.

  After the women had gone the King ascended into the multi-storied hall of gold and sat down upon the silver throne where he immersed himself in the samadhi of loving-kindness. He then ascended into the multi-storied hall of silver and sat down upon the throne of gold and immersed himself in the samadhi of compassion. Next he ascended into the multi-storied hall of beryl and sat down upon the crystal throne where he immersed himself in the samadhi of sympathetic joy. Finally, he ascended into the multi-storied jeweled hall of crystal and sat down upon the throne of beryl where he immersed himself in the samadhi of evenmindedness. This is an instance of the bodhisattva's practice of giving generating the paramita of dhyana.

  How does the bodhisattva's giving bring about prajna paramita? When the bodhisattva gives he knows that this giving will definitely have a resulting reward and so he is not beset by the delusions of doubt and he is able to shatter erroneous views and ignorance. This constitutes giving bringing forth prajna paramita

  Furthermore, when the bodhisattva engages in giving he is able to distinguish and know the circumstances of the person who does not uphold the precepts. If someone whips, strikes, beats up, flogs, confines or ties up others, or if he circumvents the law and so obtains valuables and then proceeds to do acts of giving, he is reborn among elephants, horses or cattle. Although he takes on the form of an animal who carries heavy burdens, who is whipped and prodded, who is restrained by halters and fetters, and who is ridden, still he always obtains good living quarters and fine food, is prized by people and is provided for by people

  Additionally he knows about the circumstances of evil people who are much obsessed with hatefulness and anger, whose minds are devious and not upright, and yet who practice giving. He knows that they will fall into [rebirth in] the palaces of the dragons where they will obtain a palace composed of the seven precious things, and will have fine food and marvelous sensual pleasures.

  He also knows that people who are arrogant and who engage in giving with a mind beset with conceit and hatefulness will fall into [rebirth] among the golden-winged [garu.da] birds where they will always experience sovereign independence and will have a necklace made of precious "as-you-wish-it" pearls. All sorts of things which they require will all be obtained without need for restraint and there will be nothing which will not be in accordance with their wishes. They will be able to perform [magical] transformations of a myriad sorts and there will be no matter which they will be unable to bring to completion.

  He also knows of the circumstances of high government officials who circumvent the law and indulge in unscrupulous excesses at the expense of the people, and who do not follow along with regulatory laws and so take valuable goods. If they use them to perform acts of giving they fall [into rebirth] among ghosts and spirits where they become kumbhaa.n.da ghosts who are able to perform all sorts of transformations and please themselves with the five objects of the senses.

  He also knows of the circumstances of those people who are beset with much hatred, who are tyrannical, who are much obsessed in their fondness for liquor and meat and who then perform acts of giving. They fall [into rebirth] among the earth-coursing yak.sa ghosts where they always obtain all sorts of pleasures, music, drink and food.

  He also knows of the existence of those people who are obstinate and stubborn and who are unruly and defiant, and yet who are able to perform acts whereby they make gifts of carriages and horses as substitutes for foot travel. They fall [into rebirth] among the space-coursing yak.sas who are possessed of great strength and who arrive at their destinations [with speed] like the wind.

  He also knows of the existence of those people who have jealous minds and who enjoy disputation, but who are able, on account of making gifts of fine dwellings, bedding, clothing, drink and food, to be reborn among the flying yak.sas who abide in palaces and Taoist temples. They possess all sorts of pleasurable things which provide personal convenience. In all sorts of cases such as these, when they are about to give, he is able to make distinctions and know about them. This constitutes the bodhisattva's practice of giving producing prajna.

  Furthermore, when one makes offerings of drink and food one gains strength, physical attractiveness, long life and admiration. If one makes gifts of clothes one gains from birth an awareness of a sense of shame and a sense of blame. One's awesome virtue is upright and correct. In body and mind one enjoys peace and bliss. If one makes gifts of dwellings then one obtains all manner of palaces and towers composed of the seven precious things. One naturally comes to have the five objects of desire with which to bring oneself pleasure. If one makes gifts of the waters of wells, ponds and springs, and of all sorts of fine condiments, then wherever one is born one will succeed in being without hunger or thirst and will possess a complete supply of the five objects of desire. If one gives bridges, boats or shoes, then from birth one will have an abundance of all sorts of carriages and horses. If one gives parks and forests then one will achieve the honor of aristocratic social station and will become one to whom everyone looks in reliance. One will take on a body which is handsome and one's mind will be blissful and devoid of worries. All sorts of causes and conditions such as these within the realm of people constitute what is gained through giving. If a person gives as a way of cultivating meritorious qualities and does not find the life of conditioned karmic activity to be agreeable, then he succeeds in being reborn in the dwelling place of the four heavenly kings.

  If in one's giving a person supplements it by making offerings to his father and mother as well as to his uncles, brothers and sisters, and if he gives without hatefulness and without enmity, and if he does not like to engage in disputation and also does not delight in seeing disputatious people, he then succeeds in being born in the Traayastri.m'sa heaven or in the Yaama, Tu.sita, Nirmaa.narati or Paranirmitava'savartin [heavens]. In all sorts of ways such as this he makes distinctions regarding giving. This constitutes the bodhisattva's practice of giving bringing forth prajna. If there is no defiled attachment associated with one's mind of giving and if one is disgusted with and distressed by the world and so seeks nirvana, this constitutes the giving of the arhat and pratyekabuddha. If one gives for the sake of beings and for the sake of the buddha way, this constitutes the giving of the bodhisattva. Within all sorts of giving such as these, he makes distinctions and knows. This constitutes the practice of giving bringing forth the prajna paramita.

  Then again, when the bodhisattva gives, he considers the reality mark of the three factors as discussed above. When one is able to know in this way, this constitutes giving bringing forth prajna paramita. Moreover, the causes and conditions of all wisdom and merit all come from giving, just as with the thousand buddhas who, when they first brought forth the intention [to achieve buddhahood], they used all kinds of valuable things to make gifts to the buddhas. Perhaps they used flowers and incense or perhaps they used clothing. Perhaps they used willow branches as gifts and so brought forth the mind [intent on buddhahood] in that way. All sorts of giving like this constitutes the bodhisattva's practice of giving bringing forth the prajna paramita.

Devadatta as a snake in a previous life
  On account of causes and conditions such as these which are associated with being poor and destitute one courses along the path of the ten unwholesome deeds. If one practices giving, then when one is born one possesses valuable goods. Because one has valuable goods one does not engage in that which is not Dharma. Why is this the case? It is because the five objects of the senses are abundant and there is nothing which one lacks."

  [This principal] is illustrated by the case of Devadatta in a previous life when he was a snake who dwelt together with a frog and a turtle in a pond. They had all become close friends. Later, the water of the pond dried up. They were hungry, poor, in desperate straits and lacking in any other resources. At that time the snake dispatched the turtle to call forth the frog. The frog then sent back the turtle by uttering a verse:

  If one encounters poverty and destitution one loses one's original mind. One doesn't consider one's original principals for eating has become foremost. You take what I tell you and so inform the snake. That this frog will never come and arrive at your side. If, however, one cultivates giving, in later lives one will possess merit and have nothing which one lacks. If this is the case then one will be able to uphold the precepts and will be free of these manifold ills.

Manjusri teaches a beggar-child to give
  Moreover, when the bodhisattva practices giving he constantly brings forth thoughts of loving-kindness and compassion for the recipient. He is not attached to valuables and does not cherish his own goods. How much the less would he engage in stealing. When one feels loving-kindness and compassion for the recipient, how could one maintain ideas intent on killing? In ways such as these he is able to block off the breaking of precepts. This constitutes giving bringing forth precepts. If one is able to carry out giving employing a mind which destroys miserliness, then afterwards he will easily succeed in practicing the upholdance of precepts, patience, and so forth.

  This [principal] is illustrated by the case of Manjushri when, long ago in the past in a far distant kalpa he was a bhikshu who went into the city to seek alms. He received a bowl full of "hundred-flavored delightful dumplings." In the city there was a small child who followed along after him, begging. He did not immediately give anything to him. When they reached a mural depicting the Buddha he picked up two of the dumplings with his hand and required [of the child], "If you are able to eat only one of the dumplings yourself while taking one of the dumplings and giving it to the Sangha, I will give them to you." [The child] immediately responded with assent and then took one of the delightful dumplings and presented it to the assembled Sangha [in the mural]. Afterwards he obtained Manjushri's consent to receive the precepts and brought forth the aspiration to become a buddha. In this fashion the practice of giving is able to cause one to take on the precepts and bring forth the aspiration to become a buddha. This constitutes the practice of giving bringing forth sila paramita.

Shakyamuni Buddha as the bodhisattva "Able to Give"
  When the bodhisattva first brings forth the thought [directed towards buddhahood], his merit is not yet vast. At that time he is desirous of cultivating the two kinds of giving in order to fulfill the aspirations of all beings. Because of a shortage of things [to give] he earnestly seeks for valuables and Dharma in order to be able to adequately supply them.

  This is illustrated by the case of Shakyamuni Buddha in a previous lifetime when he was a great physician king who worked to cure every manner of disease without any concern for fame or profit. It was done out of pity for all beings. The sick were extremely many. His powers were inadequate to rescue everyone. He was concerned about and mindful of everyone and yet matters did not correspond [in their outcome] to his mind's aspirations. He became so distressed and agitated that he died.

  He was then reborn in the Traayastri.m'sa Heaven. He thought to himself, "Now I've been reborn in the heavens. All I'm doing is consuming my reward of blessings without any sort of long term benefit arising thereby. " He then used a skillful means to put an end to that personal existence. Having relinquished this long life in the heavens he was reborn as a dragon prince in the palace of Saagara, the dragon king. His body grew to full maturity. His parents were extremely attached in their love for him. He desired to die and so went to the king of the golden-winged [garu.da] birds. The bird then immediately seized this young dragon and devoured him in the top of a 'saalmalii tree. The father and mother wailed and cried in grief-stricken distress.

  Having died, the young dragon was then reborn in Jambudvipa as a prince in the house of the king of a great country. He was named "Able to Give." From the moment he was born he was able to speak. He asked all of the retainers, "Now, what all does this country contain. Bring it all forth so that it can be used to make gifts. Everyone became amazed and fearful. They all withdrew from him and ran off. His mother felt kindness and love for him and so looked after him by herself. He said to his mother, "I am not a raa.k.sasa [ghost]. Why has everyone run off? In my prevous lives I have always taken pleasure in giving. I have been a donor to everyone."

  When his mother heard his words she reported them to everyone else. The other people all returned. The mother took pleasure in raising him. By the time he had grown older he had given away everything he owned. He then went to his father, the king, and requested things to give. His father gave him his share. Again, he gave it all away. He observed that the people of Jambudvipa were all poverty-stricken and ever subject to bitter suffering. He thought to supply them with gifts but the valuables were inadequate. He then began to weep and inquired of everyone, "By what means may I cause everyone to become entirely replete with valuables?"

  The wise elders said, "We have heard of the existence of a precious wish-fulfilling pearl. If you were able to obtain this pearl then no matter what your heart desired there would be noting which would not be obtained with certainty." When the Bodhisattva had heard this words he spoke to his mother and father, saying, "I desire to go out upon the great sea and seek for the precious wish-fulfilling pearl worn on the head of the dragon king." His father and mother replied, "We have only you, our one son. If you go out upon the great sea the many difficulties will be difficult to overcome. If there should come a morning when we have lost you, what use would we have for living? It's not necessary for you to go. We still have things in our treasury which we can supply you with." The son said, "There is a limit to the contents of the treasury. My intentions are measureless. I wish to bestow enough wealth to satisfy everyone so that they will never be found wanting. I pray that you will give your permission so that I may succeed in according with my original aspiration to cause everyone in Jambudvipa to be completely provided for."

  His parents knew that his determination was immense. They did not dare to restrain him and so subsequently relented and allowed him to go. At that time there were five hundred merchants who, because his meritorious qualities were vast, took pleasure in following him wherever he went. They knew the day when he was due to depart and so gathered at the port. The Bodhisattva had previously heard that Saagara, the dragon king, had a precious wish-fulfilling pearl. He inquired of everyone, "Who knows the route across the sea to his dragon palace?" There was a blind man named Daasa who had been to sea seven times and who knew all of the sea routes. The Bodhisattva ordered him to travel with him. He replied, "As I have grown old both of my eyes have lost their acuity. Although I have been to sea many times, I cannot go this time."

  The Bodhisattva said, "In going forth this time I do not do it for my own sake. I seek the precious wish-fulfilling pearl for the universal benefit of everyone. I desire to completely supply all beings so that they are caused to never again be found wanting. Then I wish to instruct them in the causes and conditions of the dharma of the Way. You are a wise man. How can you withdraw? How, in the absence of your powers, could my vow possibly succeed?"

  When Daasa had heard his entreaty he happily and with identical aspiration said to the Bodhisattva, "I'll now go out with you onto the great sea. I most certainly will not survive. You should lay my body to rest on the island of gold sands in the midst of the ocean."

  When the provisions for the journey had all been loaded they loosened the last of the seven lines. The ship took off like a camel and arrived at the island of numerous gems. The host of merchants all tried to outdo each other in gathering up the seven precious jewels. When they had all satisfied themselves they asked the Bodhisattva, "Why do you not gather them?" The Bodhisattva replied, "It is the precious wish-fulfilling pearl which I seek. I have no use for these things of finite value. You all should know when enough is enough and should know too what is an appropriate amount so that the ship will not become overloaded and so that you won't fail to avoid disaster."

  At this time the group of merchants said to the Bodhisattva, "Venerable, invoke a spell for us to insure our safety." They then withdrew. At this point Daasa instructed the Bodhisattva, "Hold aside the dinghy. We will want to go off on this other route. When we have been driven by the wind for seven days we will arrive at a treacherous place on the southern shore of the vast sea. There should be a steep cliff with branches from a date tree forest overhanging the water. If a strong wind blows the ship will be overturned and capsized. By reaching up and grabbing hold of the date branches you may be able to save yourself. As I have no sight I will likely die at that point. Beyond this precipitous shoreline there will be the isle of gold sand. You can take my body and lay it to rest in the midst of those sands. Those gold sands are pure. This is my desire.

  And so it was just as he had foretold. The wind came and they set off. Having come to the steep cliffs, it was just as Daasa had described. The bodhisattva reached up, grabbed onto the date branches and so avoided disaster. He interred Daasa's body in the ground of gold. From this point he went on alone according to his earlier instructions. He floated in deep water for seven days. He then walked for seven days in water the depth of his throat. Then he moved for seven days through water up to his waist. After that he walked for seven days through water up to his knees. Then he walked through mud for seven days. Then he came upon marvelous lotus flowers which were fresh and pure and soft. He thought to himself, "These blossoms are soft and fragile. I should enter into the empty space samadhi." And so he made his body light and walked upon the lotus blossoms for another seven days. Then he came upon poisonous snakes and thought to himself, "These poisonous serpents are extremely fearsome." He then entered the samadhi of loving kindness. He then walked upon the heads of the poisonous snakes for seven days. The snakes all extended their heads up to receive the bodhisattva and so allowed him to tread upon them as he passed. After he had passed through this difficulty he saw that there was a jeweled city with seven barriers. There were seven successive moats. Each of the moats was filled with poisonous snakes and had three huge dragons guarding the gate.

  The dragons saw that the bodhisattva was possessed of a handsome and fine appearance, that he was a bearer of refined features and solemn deportment, and that he had been able to successfully pass through numerous difficulties in arriving at this place. They thought to themselves, "It is not the case that this is an ordinary man. It is certainly the case that he is a bodhisattva, a man possessed of much merit." They then immediately allowed him to advance directly to enter the palace. It had not been so long from the time when the mate of the dragon king had lost her son and so she continued as before to grieve and weep. She observed the arrival of the Bodhisattva. The mate of the dragon king possessed superknowledges and so knew that this was her son. [She was so affected by this realization that] milk flowed forth from her two breasts. She gave the order allowing him to sit down and then asked him, "You are my son. After you left me and you died, where were you reborn?"

  The Bodhisattva was also able to know his previous lives. He knew that these were his parents and so replied, "I was reborn on the continent of Jambudvipa as a prince to the king of a great country. On account of feeling pity for the poverty-stricken people afflicted by the intense sufferings of hunger and cold who are therefore unable to enjoy their own freedom I have come here seeking the precious wish-fulfilling pearl." His mother replied, "Your father wears this precious pearl as a crown. It would be difficult to acquire it. Surely he will take you into the treasury of jewels where he will certainly desire to give you whatever you desire. You should reply by saying, 'I have no need of any of the other various jewels. I only desire the precious pearl atop the head of the Great King. If I may receive such kindness I pray that you will bestow it upon me.' It may be that you can acquire it in this way." He then went to see his father. His father was overcome with nostalgia and delight and experienced boundless rejoicing. He thought with pity on his son's coming from afar, having to undergo extreme difficulties and now arriving at this place. He showed him his marvelous jewels and said, "I will give you whatever you want. Take whatever you need."

  The Bodhisattva said, "I came from afar wishing to see the Great King. I am seeking to obtain the precious wish-fulfilling pearl on the King's head. If I may receive such kindness, may it be that you will bestow it upon me. If I am not given that then I have no need of any other thing." The Dragon King replied, saying, "I have only this single pearl which I always wear as crown. The people of Jambudvipa possess only scant merit and are of such base character that they should not be allowed to see it." The Bodhisattva replied, "It is on account of this that I have come from afar undergoing extreme difficulties and risking death. It is for the sake of the people of Jambudvipa who have only scant merit, who are poverty-stricken and possessed of base character. I wish to use the precious wish-fulfilling pearl to provide for them all that they desire so that I may then use the causes and conditions of the buddha way to teach and transform them." The dragon king gave him the pearl and placed a condition on it by saying, "I will now give you this pearl. But when you are about to depart from the world you must first return it to me." He replied, "With all respect, it shall be as the King instructs." When the Bodhisattva had acquired the pearl he flew up into space and with the ease of extending and withdrawing his arm, he instantly arrived in Jambudvipa.

  When the human royal parents observed his auspicious return they were delighted and danced about with joy. They hugged him and then asked, "Well, what did you acquire?" He replied, "I have gotten the precious wish-fulfilling pearl." They asked, "Where is it now?" He told them, "It's in the corner of my robe." His parents said, "How could it be so small?" He explained, "It's [power] resides in its supernatural qualities. It is not a function of its size." He told his parents, "It should be ordered that, both inside and outside of the city, the grounds are to be swept clean and incense is to be burned. Banners should be hung and canopies set up. Everyone should observe the standards of pure diet and take on the moral precepts."

  The next morning at dawn he used a tall wooden pole as a monument and attached the pearl on the top of it. At that time the Bodhisattva swore an oath, "If it is the case that I am to be able to complete the Buddha path and bring everyone to deliverance then this pearl should, in accordance with my vow, bring forth all kinds of precious things so that whatever anyone needs, it will manifest in utter repletion." At that time dark clouds covered the entire sky and rained down every type of precious thing including clothes, drink, food, bedding, and medicines. Whatever people needed was amply available. This was constantly the case, never ceasing until the end of his life. Instances such as this illustrate what is meant by a bodhisattva's practice of giving serving to bring forth the paramita of vigor.

Sudarsana, the Cakravartin King
  Or perhaps on giving to a poverty-stricken person one reflects upon this person's previous lives in which he engaged in all manner of unwholesomeness, did not seek single-mindedness, did not cultivate works which generate blessings and so, as a result, in this life is poverty-stricken. And so on account of this one encourages himself to takes up the practice of wholesome single-mindedness and thereby enters into the dhyana absorptions.

  This is as described [in the story of] Sudar'sana, the cakravartin king. Eighty-four thousand of the lesser kings came to his court, all bringing marvelous things made of the seven precious things which they had brought as offerings. The King declared, "I do not need them. You may each use them to cultivate blessings."

  The [lesser] kings thought to themselves, "Although the great King cannot bring himself to take them, still, it wouldn't be appropriate for us to take them for our own use." And so together they constructed a seven-jeweled pavilion. They planted rows of seven-jeweled trees and created bathing pools made of the seven jewels. Within the great pavilion they built eighty-four thousand multi-storied halls of the seven jewels. Within each of the multi-storied halls there was a seven-jeweled throne with multi-colored cushions at each end of the throne. Decorated canopies were suspended above and the ground was sprinkled with fragrances. After all of these preparations had been made they addressed the King, saying, "We pray that his majesty will accept this Dharma pavilion with its bejewelled trees and bathing pools."

  The King indicated his acceptance by remaining silent and then thought to himself, "I ought not to indulge myself with the pleasure of being the first to dwell within this new pavilion. I should invite good people such as the 'srama.nas and brahmans to first enter here to receive offerings. Afterwards I may dwell in it." He then gathered together those good personages and had them be the first to enter the jeweled pavilion where they were provided an abundance of all manner of fine and marvelous offerings.

  The King indicated his acceptance by remaining silent and then thought to himself, "I ought not to indulge myself with the pleasure of being the first to dwell within this new pavilion. I should invite good people such as the 'srama.nas and brahmans to first enter here to receive offerings. Afterwards I may dwell in it." He then gathered together those good personages and had them be the first to enter the jeweled pavilion where they were provided an abundance of all manner of fine and marvelous offerings.

  After those people had all left the King entered the jeweled pavilion and ascended into the multi-storied hall of gold and sat down upon the silver throne. There he reflected upon giving, dispensed with the five coverings, withdrew the six sense faculties , did away with the six sense objects, and, experiencing joy and bliss, entered into the first dhyana. Next he ascended into the multi-storied hall of silver, sat down upon the throne of gold and entered into the second dhyana. Next he ascended into the multi-storied hall of beryl, sat down upon the crystal throne and entered into the third dhyana. And then, finally, he ascended into the multi-storied jeweled hall of crystal, sat down upon the beryl throne and entered into the fourth dhyana. He sat there alone in contemplation for a total of three months.

  The jade ladies, the precious queen and eighty-four thousand female retainers all draped their bodies in strands of pearls and rare jewels and then came to see the King, saying, "As his majesty has for so long now withdrawn from intimate audiences, we have dared to come and offer our greetings." The King announced to them, "Sisters, each of you should maintain a mind imbued with correctness. You should serve me as friends. Don't act as my adversaries." The jade ladies and the precious queen began to weep and, as their tears streamed down, they asked, "Why does the Great King now refer to us as 'sisters'? Surely he thinks [of us] differently now. Pray, may we hear his intent? Why do we now receive the remonstrance: 'You should serve me as friends. Don't act as my adversary.'?" The King instructed them, saying, "If you find delight in seeing me as a worldly object with which to engage in the affairs of desire, this amounts to acting as my adversary. If, however, you are able to awaken to that which is beyond the ordinary and, realizing that the body is like an illusion, cultivate blessings, practice goodness and cut away desire-laden affections, this amounts to serving me as a friend." The jade ladies responded, "We shall adhere respectfully to the dictates of the King." After they had spoken these words they were sent back to their quarters.

  After the women had gone the King ascended into the multi-storied hall of gold and sat down upon the silver throne where he immersed himself in the samadhi of loving-kindness. He then ascended into the multi-storied hall of silver and sat down upon the throne of gold and immersed himself in the samadhi of compassion. Next he ascended into the multi-storied hall of beryl and sat down upon the crystal throne where he immersed himself in the samadhi of sympathetic joy. Finally, he ascended into the multi-storied jeweled hall of crystal and sat down upon the throne of beryl where he immersed himself in the samadhi of evenmindedness. This is an instance of the bodhisattva's practice of giving generating the paramita of dhyana.

  

  

  From Nagarjuna's Treatise on the Great Perfection of Wisdom (Dharmamitra Translation)

  Copyright 2000. Bhikshu Dharmamitra. All rights reserved.



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