Legacy YM

Sutra 1, Chapter 6 - The Lankavatara Sutra - Transcendental Intelligence


THEN SAID MAHAMATI: Pray tell us, Blessed One, what constitutes Transcendental Intelligence?

The Blessed One replied: Transcendental Intelligence is the inner state of self-realisation of Noble

Wisdom. It is realised suddenly and intuitively as the "turning-about" takes place in the deepest seat of

consciousness; it neither enters nor goes out-it is like the moon seen in water. Transcendental Intelligence

is not subject to birth nor destruction; it has nothing to do with combination nor concordance; it is devoid

of attachment and accumulation; it transcends all dualistic conceptions.

When Transcendental Intelligence is considered, four things must be kept in mind: words, meanings,

teachings and Noble Wisdom (Arya-prajna). Words are employed to express meanings but they are

dependent upon discriminations and memory as cause, and upon the employment of sounds or letters by which a

mutual transference of meaning is possible. Words are only symbols and may or may not clearly and fully

express the meaning intended and, moreover, words may be understood quite differently from what was intended

by the speaker. Words are neither different nor not different from meaning and meaning stands in the same

relation to words.

If meaning is different from words it could not be made manifest by means of words; but meaning is


illumined by words as things are by a lamp. Words are just like a man carrying a lamp to look for his

property, by which he can say: this is my property. Just so, by means of words and speech originating in

discrimination, the Bodhisattva can enter into the meaning of the teachings of the Tathagatas and through the

meaning he can enter into the exalted state of self-realisation of Noble Wisdom, which, in itself, is free

from word discrimination. But if a man becomes attached to the literal meaning of words and holds fast to the

illusion that words and meaning are in agreement, especially in such things as Nirvana which is un-born and

un-dying, or as to distinctions of the Vehicles, the five Dharmas, the three self-natures, then he will fail

to understand the true meaning and will become entangled in assertions and refutations. Just as varieties of

objects are seen and discriminated in dreams and in visions, so ideas and statements are discriminated

erroneously and error goes on multiplying.

The ignorant and simple-minded declare that meaning is not otherwise than words, that as words are, so is

meaning. They think that as meaning has no body of its own that it cannot be different from words and,

therefore, declare meaning to be identical with words. In this they are ignorant of the nature of words,

which are subject to birth and death, whereas meaning is not; words are dependent upon letters and meaning is

not; meaning is apart from existence and non-existence, it has no substratum, it is un-born. The Tathagatas

do not teach a Dharma that is dependent upon letters. Anyone who teaches a doctrine that is dependent


upon letters and words is a mere prattler, because Truth is beyond letters and words and books.

This does not mean that words and books never declare what is in conformity with meaning and truth, but it

means that words and books are dependent upon discriminations, while meaning and truth are not; moreover,

words and books are subject to the interpretation of individual minds, while meaning and truth are not. But

if Truth is not expressed in words and books, the scriptures which contain the meaning of Truth would

disappear, and when the scriptures disappear there will be no more disciples and masters and Bodhisattvas and

Buddhas, and there will be nothing to teach. But no one must become attached to the words of the scriptures

because even the canonical texts sometimes deviate from their straightforward course owing to the imperfect

functioning of sentient minds. Religious discourses are given by myself and other Tathagatas in response to

the varying needs and faiths of all manner of beings, in order to free them from dependence upon the thinking

function of the mind-system, but they are not given to take the place of self-realisation of Noble Wisdom.

When there is recognition that there is nothing in the world but what is seen of the mind itself, all

dualistic discriminations will be discarded and the truth of imagelessness will be understood, and will be

seen to be in conformity with meaning rather than with words and letters.

The ignorant and simple-minded being fascinated with their self-imaginations and erroneous reasonings,

keep on dancing and leaping about, but are unable to


understand the discourse by words about the truth of self-realisation, much less are they able to

understand the Truth itself. Clinging to the external world, they cling to the study of books which are a

means only, and do not know properly how to ascertain the truth of self-realisation, which is Truth unspoiled

by the four propositions. Self-realisation is an exalted state of inner attainment which transcends all

dualistic thinking and which is above the mind-system with its logic, reasoning, theorising, and

illustrations. The Tathagatas discourse to the ignorant, but sustain the Bodhisattvas as they seek

self-realisation of Noble Wisdom.

Therefore, let every disciple take good heed not to become attached to words as being in perfect

conformity with meaning, because Truth is not in the letters. When a man with his finger-tip points to

something to somebody, the finger-tip may be mistaken for the thing pointed at; in like manner the ignorant

and simple-minded, like children, are unable even to the day of their death to abandon the idea that in the

finger-tip of words there is the meaning itself. They cannot realise Ultimate Reality because of their intent

clinging to words which were intended to be no more than a pointing finger. Words and their discrimination

bind one to the dreary round of rebirths into the world of birth-and-death; meaning stands alone and is a

guide to Nirvana. Meaning is attained by much learning, and much learning is attained by be coming conversant

with meaning and not with words; therefore, let seekers for truth reverently approach


those who are wise and avoid the sticklers for particular words.

As for teachings: there are priests and popular preachers who are given to ritual and ceremony and who are

skilled in various incantations and in the art of eloquence; they should not be honored nor reverently

attended upon, for what one gains from them is emotional excitement and worldly enjoyment; it is not the

Dharma. Such preachers, by their clever manipulation of words and phrases and various reasonings and

incantations, being the mere prattle of a child, as far as one can make out and not at all in accordance with

truth nor in unison with meaning, only serves to awaken sentiment and emotion, while it stupifies the mind.

As he himself does not understand the meaning of all things, he only confuses the minds of his hearers with

his dualistic views. Not understanding himself, that there is nothing but what is seen of the mind, and

himself attached to the notion of self-nature in external things, and unable to know one path from another,

he has no deliverance to offer others. Thus these priests and popular preachers who are clever in various

incantations and skilled in the art of eloquence, themselves never being emancipated from such calamities as

birth, old age, disease, sorrow, lamentation, pain and despair, lead the ignorant into bewilderment by means

of their various words, phrases, examples, and conclusions.

Then there are the materialistic philosophers. No respect nor service is to be shown them because their

teachings, though they may be explained by using hundreds of thousands of words and phrases, do not


go beyond the concerns of this world and this body and in the end they lead to suffering. As the

materialists recognise no truth as existing by itself, they are split up into many schools, each of which

clings to its own way of reasoning. '

But there is that which does not belong to materialism and which is not reached by the knowledge of the

philosophers who cling to false-discriminations and erroneous reasonings because they fail to see that,

fundamentally, there is no reality in external objects. When it is recognised that there is nothing beyond

what is seen of the mind itself, the discrimination of being and non-being ceases and, as there is thus no

external world as the object of perception, nothing remains but the solitude of Reality. This does not belong

to the materialistic philosophers, it is the domain of the Tathagatas. If such things are imagined as the

coming and going of the mind-system, vanishing and appearing, solicitation, attachment, intense affection, a

philosophic hypothesis, a theory, an abode, a sense-concept,. atomic attraction, organism, growth, thirst,

grasping,--these things belong to materialism, they are not mine. These are things that are the object of

worldly interest, to be sensed, handled and tasted; these are the things that attract one, that bind one to

the external world; these are the things that appear in the elements that make up the aggregates of

personality where, owing to the procreative force of lust, there arise all kinds of disaster, birth, sorrow,

lamentation, pain, despair, disease, old age, death. All these things concern worldly interests and

enjoyment; they lie along the path of the philosophers, which is not the


path of the Dharma. When the true egolessness of things and persons is understood, discrimination ceases

to assert itself; the lower mind-system ceases to function; the various Bodhisattva stages are followed one

after another; the Bodhisattva is able to utter his ten inexhaustible vows and is anointed by all the

Buddhas. The Bodhisattva becomes master of himself and of all things by virtue of a life of spontaneous and

radiant effortlessness. Thus the Dharma, which is Transcendental Intelligence, transcends all

discriminations, all false-reasonings, all philosophical systems, all dualism.

THEN MAHAMATI SAID to the Blessed One: In the Scriptures mention is made of the Womb of Tathagatahood and

it is taught that that which is born of it is by nature bright and pure, originally unspotted and endowed

with the thirty-two marks of excellence. As it is described it is a precious gem but wrapped in a dirty

garment soiled by greed, anger, folly and false-imagination. We are taught that this Buddha-nature immanent

in every one is eternal, unchanging, auspicious. Is not this which is born of the Womb of Tathagatahood the

same as the soul-substance that is taught by the philosophers? The Divine Atman as taught by them is also

claimed to be eternal, inscrutable, unchanging, imperishable. Is there, or is there not a difference?

The Blessed One replied: No, Mahamati, my Womb of Tathagatahood is not the same as the Divine Atman


as taught by the philosophers. What I teach is Tathagatahood in the sense of Dharmakaya, Ultimate Oneness,

Nirvana, emptiness, unbornness, unqualifiedness, devoid of will-effort. The reason why I teach the doctrine

of Tathagatahood is to cause the ignorant and simple-minded to lay aside their fears as they listen to the

teaching of egolessness and come to understand the state of non-discrimination and imagelessness. The

religious teachings of the Tathagatas are just like a potter making various vessels by his own skill of hand

with the aid of rod, water and thread, out of the one mass of clay, so the Tathagatas by their command of

skillful means issuing from Noble Wisdom, by various terms, expressions, and symbols, preach the twofold

egolessness in order to remove the last trace of discrimination that is preventing disciples from attaining a

self-realisation of Noble Wisdom. The doctrine of the Tathagata-womb is disclosed in order to awaken

philosophers from their clinging to the notion of a Divine Atman as transcendental personality, so that their

minds that have become attached to the imaginary notion of "soul" as being something self-existent, may be

quickly awakened to a state of perfect enlightenment. All such notions as causation, succession, atoms,

primary elements, that make up personality, personal soul, Supreme Spirit, Sovereign God, Creator, are all

figments of the imagination and manifestations of mind. No, Mahamati, the Tathagata*s doctrine of the Womb of

Tathagatahood is not the same as the philosopher's Atman.

The Bodhisattva is said to have well grasped the teachings of the Tathagatas when, all alone in a



place, by means of his Transcendental Intelligence, he walks the path leading to Nirvana. Thereon his mind

will unfold by perceiving, thinking, meditating, and, abiding in the practise of concentration until he

attains the "turning about" at the source of habit-energy, he will thereafter lead a life of excellent deeds.

His mind concentrated on the state of Buddhahood, he will become thoroughly conversant with the noble truth

of self-realisation; he will become perfect master of his own mind; he will be like a gem radiating many

colors; he will be able to assume bodies of transformation; he will be able to enter into the minds of all to

help them; and, finally, by gradually ascending the stages he will become established in the perfect

Transcendental Intelligence of the Tathagatas.

Nevertheless, Transcendental Intelligence (Arya-jnana) is not Noble Wisdom (Arya-prajna)

itself; it is only an intuitive awareness of it. Noble Wisdom is a perfect state of imagelessness; it is the

Womb of "Suchness"; it is the all-conserving Divine Mind (Alaya-vijnana) which in its pure Essence

forever abides in perfect patience and undisturbed tranquility.

Sutra1 Chapter1 - The Lankavatara Sutra - Discrimination
Sutra1 Chapter2 - The Lankavatara Sutra - False-Imagination and Knowledge of Appearances
Sutra1 Chapter3 - The Lankavatara Sutra - Right Knowledge or Knowledge of Relations
Sutra1 Chapter4 - The Lankavatara Sutra - Perfect Knowledge, or Knowledge of Reality
Sutra1 Chapter5 - The Lankavatara Sutra - The Mind System
Sutra1 Chapter6 - The Lankavatara Sutra - Transcendental Intelligence
Sutra1 Chapter7 - The Lankavatara Sutra - Self-Realisation
Sutra1 Chapter8 - The Lankavatara Sutra - The Attainment of Self- Realisation
Sutra1 Chapter9 - The Lankavatara Sutra - The Fruit of Self- Realisation
Sutra1 Chapter10 - The Lankavatara Sutra - Discipleship: Lineage of the Arhats
Sutra1 Chapter11 - The Lankavatara Sutra - Bodhisattvahood and Its Stages
Sutra1 Chapter12 - The Lankavatara Sutra - Tathagatahood Which Is Noble Wisdom
Sutra1 Chapter13 - The Lankavatara Sutra - Nirvana
Sutra2 Chapter1 - The Diamond Sutra - The Diamond Scripture
Sutra3 Chapter1 - Sutra of Transcendental Wisdom - Sutra of Transcendental Wisdom
Sutra4 Chapter1 - Sutra of the Sixth Patriarch - Autobiography of Hui-Neng
Sutra4 Chapter2 - Sutra of the Sixth Patriarch - Discourse on Prajna
Sutra4 Chapter3 - Sutra of the Sixth Patriarch - Discourse on Dhyana and Samadhi
Sutra4 Chapter4 - Sutra of the Sixth Patriarch - Discourse on Repentance
Sutra4 Chapter5 - Sutra of the Sixth Patriarch - Discourse on the Three-Bodies of Buddha
Sutra4 Chapter6 - Sutra of the Sixth Patriarch - Dialogues Suggested by Various Temperaments and Circumstances
Sutra4 Chapter7 - Sutra of the Sixth Patriarch - Sudden Enlightenment and Gradual Attainment
Sutra4 Chapter8 - Sutra of the Sixth Patriarch - Royal Patronage
Sutra4 Chapter9 - Sutra of the Sixth Patriarch - Final Words and Death of the Patriarch

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