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Vajra Chredika Prajnaparamita Sutra

The diamond-cutter perfection of wisdom sutra

1.

Thus have I heard. One time the Buddha was residing at the Anathapindada retreat in the Jeta Grove near Sravasti, with a great bhiksu congregation of 1,250 people. At meantime the World Honored One at donned robes and took his alms bowl into the great city of Sravasti to beg for alms. In the midst of that city, he begged successively and then returned to his personal dwelling to eat his meal. Having put away his robes and bowl, and washed his feet, he prepared his seat and sat.

2.

At that time, the venerable Subhuti was amidst the great congregation. He then rose from his seat, adjusted his robes from his right shoulder, and upon his right knee kneeled to the ground. With palms joined in reverence, he addressed the Buddha, "Extraordinary, World Honored One, is the Tathagata's skillful mindfulness of the bodhisattvas, and his skillful entrustment to the bodhisattvas. World Honored One, in what should good sons and good daughters initiating the supremely unexcelled bodhicitta dwell? How should they regulate their thoughts?"

The Buddha replied, "Excellent, excellent! Subhuti, as you have said, the Tathagata is skillfully mindful of the bodhisattvas, and skillful in entrusting to the bodhisattvas. If you now listen closely, I shall explain for you in what good sons and good daughters launching the supremely unexcelled bodhicitta should thus abide, and how thus they should regulate their thoughts."

"Yes, World Honored One. Gladly, I shall listen."

3.

The Buddha told Subhuti, "bodhisattva-mahasattvas should thus regulate their thoughts: 'Where there is every single sort of being -- whether womb-born, egg-born, water-born, or born of transformation; whether possessing form or without form; whether possessing thought or being without thought; whether neither possessing thought nor being without thought -- I will cause all to enter the non-residual Nirvana, liberating them. Thus liberating the immeasurably boundless beings, in reality there are no beings attaining that liberation.' What is the reason? Subhuti, if a bodhisattva has the view of a self, the view of a person, the view of beings, or the view of a soul; then he is not a bodhisattva.

4.

"Furthermore, Subhuti, a bodhisattva in the Dharma should nowhere dwell while acting charitably. That is to say, not dwelling in the forms of charity: not dwelling in the sound, odor, taste, sensation, or idea of charity. Subhuti, a bodhisattva should thus be charitable, not dwelling in such appearances. Why? If a bodhisattva does not dwell in the appearances of charity, his blessed virtue cannot be calculated.

"Subhuti, what do you think? To the East, the empty space can be calculated, no?"

"No, World Honored One."

"Subhuti, to the South, West, North, the four directions between, zenith and nadir, the empty space can be calculated, no?"

"No, World Honored One."

"Subhuti, the blessed virtue of a bodhisattva not dwelling in the appearances of charity is also, again, so. It cannot be calculated. Subhuti, bodhisattvas should only in this teaching dwell."

5.

"Subhuti, what do you think? One can by means of the bodily signs see the Tathagata, no?"

"No, World Honored One. One cannot by means of the bodily signs attain sight of the Tathagata. What is the reason? The Tathagata has explained that the bodily signs are not bodily signs [of the Tathagata]."

The Buddha told Subhuti, "The signs possessed by mortals are all vacant and delusive. If one sees that these signs are not signs [of the Tathagata], then one may see the Tathagata."

6.

Subhuti said to the Buddha, "World Honored One, isn't it doubtful that there are beings in whom, having hear thusly the words spoken in this lecture, there will be born a genuine faith?"

The Buddha told Subhuti, "Do not say that. In the final five hundred year [age of the Dharma] after the Tathagata's death, those upholding precepts and cultivating the blessed will be able from these passages to give birth to the faithful mind, because they are true. It should be known that these people [of that age] would not have been with one buddha, two buddhas, three, four, or five buddhas when sowing their good roots. They will have completed, with immeasurable tens of millions of buddhas, the sowing of good roots. Hearing these passages, even for a single recitation, they shall give birth to a pure faith. Subhuti, the Tathagata fully knows and fully sees this of every being attaining thusly such immeasurably blessed virtue. Why? These beings will not return to the views of a self, a person, sentient beings, or a soul. They would be devoid of the view of Dharmas and also devoid of the view of non-dharmas. Why? If these beings' minds were to apprehend appearances, it would then create the clinging to a self, a person, sentient beings, and a soul. If they were to take up the appearances of dharmas, it would then create the clinging to a self, a person, beings, and a soul. Why? If they were to take up the appearances of non-dharmas, it would then create the clinging to a self, a person, beings, and a soul. This is why one should not apprehend Dharmas, why one should not apprehend non-dharmas. This is the meaning of the Tathagata when he says, 'You monks! Know that my expounded Dharma is like the bamboo raft. The honored Dharma must be relinquished, how much more so what is not the Dharma?'

7.

"Subhuti, what do you think? Has the Tathagata attained the supremely unexcelled bodhi? Has the Tathagata a teaching of the Dharma?" Subhuti replied, "As I have comprehended the Buddha's express meaning, there is no fixed Dharma called 'the supremely unexcelled bodhi'. Also, there is no fixed Dharma which the Tathagata can expound. Why? Of the dharmas expounded by the Tathagata, none can be apprehended or expressed, being neither dharmas nor non-dharmas. Why is that? All of the Sages via the unconditioned Dharma make discriminations."

8.

"Subhuti, what do you think? If a person filled the trichiliocosm with the seven treasures for the purpose of charity, this person's blessed deeds would be plentiful, no?"

Subhuti replied, "Incredibly plentiful, World Honored One. Why? This blessed deed then would not, again, be of a blessed nature. This is why the Tathagata has said that the blessed deeds would be plentiful."

"If, again, there is a person who receives and upholds what is in this sutra, even just four lines of verse, and to another person explains it, that person's blessedness would overcome the above example. Why? Subhuti, every one of the buddhas who reach the buddhas' supremely unexcelled bodhi Dharma are all produced from this sutra. Subhuti, that which is called the 'Buddha's Dharma,' then, is not the Buddha's Dharma.

9.

"Subhuti, what do you think? The stream entrant (srota-apanna) can compose this thought -- 'I have attained the stream entrant's reward' -- no?"

Subhuti replied, "No, World Honored One. Why? 'Stream entrant' is the name for entering the stream [of the holy life], for entering nowhere: not entering forms, sounds, odors, tastes, sensations, or ideas. This is called a 'stream entrant'." "Subhuti, what do you think? The Once More to be Reborn (sakrdagama) can compose this thought -- 'I have attained the Once More to be Reborn's reward' -- no?"

Subhuti replied, "No, World Honored One. Why? 'Once More to be Reborn' is the name for one more arrival [in this mortal world], and really is without future arrival. This is called 'Once More to be Reborn'."

"Subhuti, what do you think? The Non-Returner (anagamin) can compose this thought -- 'I have attained the Non-Returner's reward' -- no?"

Subhuti replied, "No, World Honored One. Why? 'Non-Returner' is the name for no further rebirth, and really has no non-rebirth. This is why it is called 'Non-Returner'."

"Subhuti, what do you think? The Arhat can compose this thought -- 'I have attained the Arhat's enlightenment' -- no?"

Subhuti replied, "No, World Honored One. Why? In reality there is no existent dharma called 'Arhat'. World Honored One, if an arhat were to compose this thought -- 'I have attained the Arhat's enlightenment' -- then it would be because of clinging to a self, a person, sentient beings, and a soul. The Buddha has said that I have attained, without debate, a samadhi which among others is the best. It is the best because I have departed from the desire for Arhatship. I do not compose the thought -- 'I have departed from the desire for Arhatship'. World Honored One, of myself, if I composed the thought -- 'I have attain the Arhat's enlightenment' -- the World Honored One would then not have said that Subhuti is this happy woodland practitioner, because Subhuti really practices nowhere. And so he is called 'Subhuti, the happy woodland practitioner'."

10.

The Buddha addressed Subhuti, "What do you think? When the Tathagata was formerly staying with the Buddha Dipamkara, he had an attainment of the Dharma, no?"

"No, World Honored One. When the Tathagata was staying with the Buddha Dipamkara, in reality he had no attainment of the Dharma."

"Subhuti, what do you think? The bodhisattvas adorn the buddha lands, no?" "No, World Honored One. Why? The adorning of the buddha lands is a non-adornment. This is called 'adornment'."

"This is why, Subhuti, that bodhisattva-mahasattvas should thusly give rise to the purified mind. They should not dwell in forms when giving rise to that mind: they should not dwell in sounds, odors, tastes, sensations, or ideas when giving rise to that mind. They should dwell nowhere while giving rise to their thoughts.

Subhuti, suppose there is a person whose body is like Mount Sumeru. What do you think? This body would be made great, no?"

Subhuti replied, "Incredibly great, World Honored One. Why? The Buddha has said that a non-body is called a great body."

11.

"Subhuti, suppose there were Ganges Rivers equal in numbers to that of all the sands in the Ganges River. What do you think? The sands of all those Ganges Rivers would be many, no?"

"Incredibly many, World Honored One. Merely all of those Ganges Rivers would be so many as to be countless. How much more so would be their sands?"

"Subhuti, I now will truthfully tell you, if there were good sons and good daughters, themselves numbering like the sands of those Ganges Rivers, who filled the trichiliocosm with the seven treasures for the purpose of charity, many blessings would be attained, no?"

Subhuti replied, "Incredibly many, World Honored One."

The Buddha addressed Subhuti, "If a good son or good daughter from within this Sutra should receive and uphold just four lines of verse, and for another person explain it, the blessed virtue of this person would surpass the blessed virtue of the previous example.

12.

"Furthermore, Subhuti, where what is said in this Sutra is followed, even if it is just four lines of verse, it should be known that all within every single world, be they gods, men, or asuras, should give offerings of support to this place as though it were a Buddhist pagoda or temple. How much more so if there is someone who is able to receive, keep, read, and recite it in its entirety? Subhuti, it should be known that this person will completely accomplish the supreme, best, most extraordinary Dharma. If this canonical Sutra resides in his abode, then it would be like the place of a Buddha, if it is honored by the disciples."

13.

At that time, Subhuti said to the Buddha, "World Honored One, what shall be the name of this Sutra? How are we to receive and uphold it?"

The Buddha addressed Subhuti, "This Sutra's name is the Diamond [Cutting] Perfection of Wisdom. With the words of this title, you should receive and uphold it. Why is that? Subhuti, the Buddha says that it is the perfection of wisdom, so it is not the perfection of wisdom.

"Subhuti, what do you think? The Tathagata has a teaching of the Dharma, no?"

Subhuti said to the Buddha, "World Honored One, the Tathagata has no teaching."

"Subhuti, what do you think? The atoms of the trichiliocosm are many, no?"

Subhuti replied, "Incredibly many, World Honored One."

"Subhuti, the Tathagata has said that atoms are not atoms. These are called 'atoms'.

The Tathagata has explained that the worlds are not worlds. These are called 'worlds'. Subhuti, what do you think? One can by way of the thirty-two signs see the Tathagata, no?"

"No, World Honored One. One cannot by way of the thirty-two signs attain sight of the Tathagata. Why? The Tathagata has explained that the thirty-two signs then are not signs. These are called the 'thirty-two signs'."

"Subhuti, suppose there are good sons and good daughters who with their lives equal to the sands of the Ganges River give charity; and suppose again there is a person who from within this Sutra, even if only receiving and keeping four lines of verse and for another person explaining it, his merit would be incredibly more."

14.

At that time Subhuti, hearing the pronouncement of this Sutra, deeply understood its meaning suddenly. He wept and lamented, and then addressed the Buddha, saying, "It is extraordinary, World Honored One, that the Buddha expounds thusly such an incredibly profound canonical Sutra. Since coming to have the wisdom-eye, I have never before heard such a Sutra. World Honored One, if again there is a person who hears this Sutra with a faithful mind that is pure, then in them will be born the sign of reality. It should be known that this person will have entirely accomplished the best, most extraordinary merit. World Honored One, this sign of reality then is the non-sign. This is why the Tathagata has said that it is called the 'real sign'. World Honored One, having heard thusly this canonical Sutra, and sincerely understood it, receiving and upholding it is no longer difficult. If there shall come into the world in the last five hundred year [age of the Dharma], beings who hear this Sutra with faithful understanding, receive and uphold it, would then be made most extraordinary. Why? These people would be without the views of a self, a person, sentient beings, or a soul. Why is that? The view of self then is this non-sign. The views of a person, sentient beings, and a soul then are this non-sign. Why? Departing from all appearances, they then are called buddhas." The Buddha told Subhuti, "Yes, yes! If again there is a person who hears this Sutra, and is not astonished, alarmed, or fearful; it should be known that this person would be made most extraordinary. Why? Subhuti, the Tathagata has explained that the first perfection is then not the first perfection. This is called the first perfection. Subhuti, the perfection of perseverance (kshanti), the Tathagata has said, is not the perfection of perseverance. Why? Subhuti, as I had formerly had my body cut to pieces by King Kalinga, I at that time was without the views of a self, a person, sentient beings, or a soul. Why? When I in that former time had been limb from limb cut apart, if there had been the views of a self, a person, sentient beings, or a soul, there would have arisen in me anger and indignation. Further, Subhuti, I recall that in the past five hundred incarnations I had been an ascetic practicing perseverance. In that incarnation, I was without the view of a self, without the view of a person, without the view of sentient beings, and without the view of a soul. Subhuti, bodhisattvas should depart from all signs while initiating the supremely unexcelled bodhicitta. They should not dwell in forms when giving rise to that thought. They should not dwell in sounds, odors, tastes, sensations, or ideas when giving rise to that thought. They should dwell nowhere when giving rise to that thought. If in that thought they were to have a dwelling, then it would be to become non-dwelling. This is why the Buddha has said that the bodhisattva's thought should not dwell in forms regarding charity. Subhuti, the bodhisattvas creating blessings for every sentient being should thus be charitable. The Tathagata has said that all signs then are the non-sign. Further, he has said that all sentient beings, then are not sentient beings. Subhuti, the Tathagata's discourses are true, real, thus, not false, nor contradictory. Subhuti, the Dharma that the Tathagata has attained is neither true nor false. Subhuti, if a bodhisattva's thought dwells in Dharmas while practicing charity, it would be like a person entering darkness, and so being unable to see anything. If a bodhisattva's thought does not dwell in Dharmas while practicing charity, it would be like a person who, seeing by the luminance of sunlight, sees all the various forms. Subhuti, if it should come into the world that there are good sons and good daughters who are able to receive, uphold, read, and recite what is in this Sutra, then they will become Tathagatas. Via the Buddha's sagely wisdom which fully knows and fully sees these people, I can say that that all shall attain the complete accomplishment of that immeasurably boundless merit.

15.

"Subhuti, suppose there are good sons and good daughters who, in the morning, in numbers equaling that of the sands of the Ganges, give themselves in charity; who, in the afternoon, in numbers equaling that of the sands of the Ganges, give themselves in charity; who, in the evening, in numbers equaling that of the sands of the Ganges, give themselves in charity; and thusly for measureless billions of kalpas give themselves in charity. Suppose, again, that there is a person who hears this canonical Sutra with a faithful mind that is not contrary, his blessedness would overcome that of the others. How much more so if he copies, receives, upholds, reads, and recites it in its entirety, and then gives comprehensive explanations of it to other people? Subhuti, essentially speaking, this Sutra has a meaning which cannot be comprehended, and the boundless merit of it cannot be measured. The Tathagata propounds it for the sake of setting forth the great vehicle; propounds it for the sake of setting forth the supreme vehicle. If there is a person who is able to receive, uphold, read, and recite this Sutra and widely explain it to others, the Tathagata fully knows and fully sees that such people will all attain entirely the accomplishment of merit which cannot be measured, cannot be expressed, has no bounds, and is inconceivable. Thusly such people therefore carry on the Tathagata's supremely unexcelled bodhi. Why? Subhuti, if there is satisfaction found in lesser dharmas, that is an attachment to the view of a self, the view of a person, the view of sentient beings, and the view of a soul. Therefore, there could not be compliance with, receiving, upholding, reciting, or explaining for another what is in this Sutra. Subhuti, wherever it resides, in whatever place, if therein is this Sutra, every one of the worlds, be they of gods, humans, or asuras, should give offerings for its support. It should be known that this place then is a pagoda. All should venerate it by circling it clockwise, scattering flowers and incense about its premises.

16.

"Furthermore, Subhuti, if good sons and good daughters who receive, uphold, read, and recite this Sutra should be insulted or despised, they would have in prior lives committed evil acts and accordingly fallen into that path of suffering. Because of that, they are in the present life insulted and despised by others. When the prior life's evil acts then have been extirpated, they shall attain the supremely unexcelled bodhi. Subhuti, I recall in the past measureless asankhya kalpa, before having been with the Buddha Dipamkara, I had met eighty-four trillion nayutas of buddhas, had to their entirety given offerings of support, and had carried on their work without needless error. Suppose, again, there is someone who, in the later superficial age, is able to receive, uphold, read, and recite this Sutra, and attain the merit of it. The merit of my giving offerings of support to all of those Buddhas would not compare to a hundredth of his merit. Even a billionth of the his merit would be an insufficient estimation. Subhuti, if I were to fully enunciate the extent of their attainment of merit of the good sons and good daughters who shall, in the later superficial age, receive, uphold, read, and recite this Sutra, some of the people's minds in this audience would be confounded, and become doubtful and disbelieving. Subhuti, it should be known that this Sutra's meaning is inconceivable. The fruit of its reward is also inconceivable.

17.

At that time, Subhuti said to the Buddha, "World Honored One, in what should good sons and good daughters initiating the supremely unexcelled bodhicitta dwell, how should they regulate their thoughts?"

The Buddha told Subhuti, "Goods sons and good daughters initiating the supremely unexcelled bodhicitta will give rise to the thought, 'I shall liberate all sentient beings. Having liberated all of the sentient beings, there are really no existent beings who are liberated.' Why? Subhuti, if a bodhisattva has the view of a self, the view of a person, the view of sentient beings, or view of a soul, then that is not a bodhisattva. Why is that? Subhuti, really there is no existent supremely unexcelled bodhicitta. Subhuti, what do you think? When the Tathagata was with the Buddha Dipamkara, he had attained the supremely unexcelled bodhi, no?"

"No, World Honored One. As I have understood the Buddha's expressed meaning, when the Buddha was with the Buddha Dipamkara, he had no attainment of the supremely unexcelled bodhi."

The Buddha replied, "Yes, yes! Subhuti, really there is no existent dharma that the Tathagata has attained in the supremely unexcelled bodhi. Subhuti, suppose there is a dharma that the Tathagata has attained in the supremely unexcelled bodhi. The Buddha Dipamkara, then, would not have given me the prediction 'You, in a life to come, shall appear as a Buddha named Shakyamuni'. That is because in reality there is no existent Dharma in the attainment of supremely unexcelled bodhi. This is why the Buddha Dipamkara bestowed onto me prediction, saying, 'You in a life to come shall appear as a Buddha named Shakyamuni.' Why? For one who is a Tathagata, then, the dharmas are of like meaning. Suppose there is a person who says the Tathagata has attained the supremely unexcelled bodhi. Subhuti, really there is no existent dharma in the Buddha's attaining the supremely unexcelled bodhi. Subhuti, the Tathagata's attainment of the supremely unexcelled bodhi is a middle [way], being without truth or falsehood. This is why the Tathagata says that all of the Dharmas are all the Buddha's Dharma. Subhuti, that which is called 'all of the Dharmas,' then, is not all of the Dharmas. This is why it is called 'all of the Dharmas.' Subhuti, for example take the person whose body is ancient and great."

Subhuti replied, "World Honored One, the Tathagata has said that the person who has a body which is ancient and great, then, does not have a great body. It is called a great body."

"Subhuti, a bodhisattva is also so. If one should compose the words 'I shall liberate the immeasurable beings' then this is not someone to be called a bodhisattva. Why? Subhuti, really there is no existent dharma whose name is 'bodhisattva'. This is why the Buddha has said that every one of the dharmas lack a self, lack a person, lack sentient beings, and lack a soul. Subhuti, if a bodhisattva were to say, 'I shall adorn the buddha land'; this is not someone to be called a bodhisattva. Why? The Tathagata has said that the adornment of the buddha land, then, is a non-adornment, it is called 'adornment'. Subhuti, if a bodhisattva penetrates and traverses selflessly the Dharma, the Tathagata has said that he is truthfully called a bodhisattva."

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