jin gang jing



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Edit by Wang Tao, Hu Xuezhi

Section I. The Convocation of the Assembly
Thus have I heard. Upon a time Buddha sojourned in Anathapindika's Park by Shravastiwith a great company of bhikshus, even twelve hundred and fifty. One day, at the time for breaking fast, the Great Buddha enrobed, and carrying His bowl made His way into the great city of Shravasti to beg for His food. In the midst of the city He begged from door to door according to rule. This done, He returned to His retreat and took His meal. When He had finished He put away His robe and begging bowl, washed His feet, arranged His seat, and sat down.

Section II. Subhuti Makes a Request
Now in the midst of the assembly was the Venerable Subhuti. Forthwith he arose, uncovered his right shoulder, knelt upon his right knee, and, respectfully raising his hands with palms joined, addressed Buddha thus: the Great Buddha, if good men and good women seek the Consummation of Incomparable Enlightenment, by what criteria should their mind abides and how should they subdue their hearts?
Buddha said: Very good, Subhuti! Just as you say, the Tathagata is ever-mindful of all the Bodhisattvas, protecting and instructing them well. Now listen and take my words to heart: I will declare to you by what criteria good men and good women seeking the Consummation of Incomparable Enlightenment should abide, and how they should subdue their hearts.
Said Subhuti: Pray, do, our Great Buddha. With joyful anticipation we long to hear.

Section III. The Real Teaching of the Great Way
Buddha said: Subhuti, all the Bodhisattva-Heroes should discipline their heart as follows: All living creatures of whatever class, born from eggs, from wombs, from moisture, or by transformation whether with form or without form, whether in a state of thinking or exempt from thought-necessity, or wholly beyond all thought realms – all is led by me to the final nirvana for the extinction of reincarnation. Although immeasurable, uncountable and unlimitable numbers of living beings are thus led to (the final nirvana for) the extinction of reincarnation, it is true that not a living being is led there. The reason lies in that formerly they derived from constant emptiness and stillness and then returned to the original nothingness again. Why so, Subhuti? (Because) if a Bodhisattva still clings to the false notion of leading into the extinction of reincarnation all corporeal beings which are characterized with any an ego-entity, a personality, a being, or a separated individuality, he is not ( a true) Bodhisattva.

Section IV. The Most Beneficent Practices are Free of any Trace.
'Furthermore, Subhuti, a Bodhisattva's mind should not abide anywhere when cultivating Te; that is to say, he should cultivate Te without a mind abiding in corporeal form, or he should cultivate Te without a mind abiding in sound, or in smell, or in taste, or in touch or in things. Subhuti, thus a Bodhisattva should cultivate Te without a mind abiding in false notions of physical form.
'Why? Because if a Bodhisattva's mind does not abide in forms when practising Te, his merit will be inconceivable and immeasurable. Subhuti, what do you think? Can you think of and measure the space extending eastward?'
'I cannot, my Great Budda!'
'Subhuti, can you think of and measure all the space extending southward, westward and northward, or in any other direction, including the zenith and nadir?'
'I cannot, my Great Budda!'
'Subhuti, when a Bodhisattva cultivates Te without a mind abiding in any corporeal forms, his merit is equally inconceivable and immeasurable.'
'Subhuti, a Bodhisattva's mind should thus abide as taught.

Section V. Understanding the Ultimate Principle of Reality
'Subhuti, what do you think? Can the Tathagata be seen by means of adhering to corporeal existence?'
'No, my Great Buddha, the Tathagata cannot be seen by means of adhering to corporeal existence. Why? Because the corporeal existence the Tathagata speaks of, it is not real corporeal existence.'
The Buddha said to Subhuti: 'Everything with corporeal existence is unreal; when all forms with corporeal existence are seen as unreal, the Tathagata will be perceived.'

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