Buddhist texts and resources for the cultivation path


Mahāprajñāpāramitā Mañjuśrīparivarta Sūtra

Translated from Taishō Tripiṭaka volume 8, number 232

Thus have I heard. At one time, the Buddha was in Śrāvastī, at the Jeta Grove, in Anāthapiṇḍada’s park, along with a great saṃgha of bhikṣus, one thousand people in all. There were ten thousand bodhisattva-mahāsattvas who were majestically adorned and all abiding upon the ground of non-regression. Their names were Maitreya Bodhisattva, Mañjuśrī Bodhisattva, Unimpeded Eloquence Bodhisattva, Not Abandoning the Undertaking Bodhisattva, and other such great bodhisattvas.

At dawn, the pure youth Mañjuśrī Bodhisattva-mahāsattva went from his abode to go to the place of the Buddha, and stood outside. At that time, Venerable Śāriputra, Pūrṇamaitrāyaniputra, Mahāmaudgalyāyana, Mahākāśyapa, Mahākātyāyana, Mahākauṣṭhila, and other such great śrāvakas, each went to the place of the Buddha from his own abode and stood outside. The Buddha was aware that the multitude had convened and assembled there, and was standing outside. At that time, the Tathāgata emerged from the abode, spread his seat, and sat down. He spoke to Śāriputra, saying, “For what reason are you now standing outside?” Śāriputra addressed the Buddha, saying, “Bhagavān, the pure youth Mañjuśrī Bodhisattva came here earlier and stood outside the door, while I only arrived later.”

At that time, the Bhagavān asked Mañjuśrī, “You arrived at this abode earlier, wishing to perceive the Tathāgata?” Mañjuśrī then addressed the Buddha, saying, “Thusly, Bhagavān, have I come wishing to perceive the Tathāgata. Why? I delight in correct contemplation for the benefit of sentient beings. I contemplate the Tathāgata’s appearance of suchness and nothing else: neither moving nor acting, without birth and without death, neither existing nor void, neither here nor away, neither in the Three Times nor apart from the Three Times, neither dual nor non-dual, and neither impure nor pure. Such is the correct contemplation of the Tathāgata for the benefit of sentient beings.” The Buddha told Mañjuśrī, “If one is able to perceive the Tathāgata thusly, then the mind has nothing to grasp nor not grasp, and neither accumulates nor does not accumulate.”

At that time, Śāriputra spoke to Mañjuśrī saying, “If one is able to contemplate the Tathāgata as you have explained, then this is extremely rare. This is because as all sentient beings perceive the Tathāgata, their minds do not grasp an appearance of sentient beings. As sentient beings transform and head toward Nirvāṇa, their minds do not grasp an appearance of heading toward Nirvāṇa. As sentient beings manifest great majestic adornments, their minds do not perceive an appearance of majestic adornments.” At that time, the pure youth Mañjuśrī Bodhisattva-mahāsattva spoke to Śāriputra saying, “Thusly, thusly! It is just as you have said. Although all sentient beings manifest the mind of great majestic adornment, they do not perceive the existence of an appearance of sentient beings. As sentient beings manifest great majestic adornments, still the destiny of sentient beings neither increases nor decreases.

“Suppose a buddha dwells in the world for an eon or more, and just as it would be one buddha world realm, there were immeasurable limitless buddhas like sand grains of the Ganges River. Then suppose each buddha for an eon or more expounded the Dharma without rest, day and night, each crossing over innumerable sentient beings to enter Nirvāṇa, like the sand grains of the Ganges River. Still, the realm of sentient beings would neither increase nor decrease. The world realms of the buddhas of the ten directions are also such as this: each buddha expounds the Dharma teaching of transformation, each crossing over innumerable sentient beings to enter Nirvāṇa, like the sand grains of the Ganges River, and yet the realm of sentient beings neither increases nor decreases. Why? A fixed appearance of sentient beings cannot be grasped, and for this reason, the realm of sentient beings neither increases nor decreases.”

Śāriputra again spoke to Mañjuśrī saying, “If the realm of sentient beings neither increases nor decreases, then why does a bodhisattva, for sentient beings, seek Anuttarā Samyaksaṃbodhi and always expound the Dharma?” Mañjuśrī said, “If sentient beings are each empty of characteristics, then there is also no bodhisattva seeking Anuttarā Samyaksaṃbodhi, and likewise no sentient beings to whom he expounds the Dharma. Why? I say that amongst all dharmas, there is not even a single dharma which may be grasped.” At that time, the Buddha said to Mañjuśrī, “If there are no sentient beings, then why do you speak of sentient beings, and even of a realm of sentient beings?” Mañjuśrī said, “The appearance of the realm of sentient beings is like the realm of buddhas.” He was again asked, “Does the realm of sentient beings have a limit?” He replied saying, “The limit of the realm of sentient beings is like the limit of the realm of buddhas.” The Buddha again asked, “Does the limit of the realm of sentient beings exist in any place?” He replied, saying, “The limit of the realm of sentient beings is inconceivable.” He was again asked, “Do you abide in the appearance of the realm of sentient beings?” He replied saying, “Sentient beings do not abide, so it is similar to the abiding of empty space.”

The Buddha spoke to Mañjuśrī, saying, “When cultivating Prajñāpāramitā thusly, how should one abide in Prajñāpāramitā?” Mañjuśrī said, “Not abiding in dharmas is abiding in Prajñāpāramitā.” The Buddha again asked Mañjuśrī, “Why do you say that not abiding in dharmas is abiding in Prajñāpāramitā?” Mañjuśrī said, “Not abiding in appearances is itself abiding in Prajñāpāramitā.” The Buddha spoke to Mañjuśrī again, saying, “When abiding in Prajñāpāramitā thusly, do one’s good roots increase or decrease?” Mañjuśrī said, “If one is able to abide in Prajñāpāramitā thusly, then one’s good roots neither increase nor decrease, just as all dharmas neither increase nor decrease, and the characteristic of the nature of Prajñāpāramitā likewise neither increases nor decreases. Bhagavān, cultivating Prajñāpāramitā thusly is not abandoning the dharmas of ordinary beings, nor is it grasping the dharmas of the noble ones. Why? Prajñāpāramitā does not perceive the existence of a dharma which may be grasped or abandoned. Cultivating Prajñāpāramitā thusly is also not seeing Nirvāṇa to delight in, nor birth and death to despise. Why? One does not perceive birth and death, much less something to leave behind. One does not perceive Nirvāṇa, much less something to delight in. Cultivating Prajñāpāramitā thusly is perceiving neither impurity or affliction which may be abandoned, nor perceiving merits which may be obtained. Regarding all dharmas, the mind is without increase or decrease. Why? One does not perceive the existence of increase or decrease in the Dharma Realm. Bhagavān, if one is capable of practicing thusly, then this is called cultivating Prajñāpāramitā.

“Bhagavān, not seeing the existence of the birth and death of all dharmas, is cultivating Prajñāpāramitā. Bhagavān, not seeing the existence of increase or decrease, is cultivating Prajñāpāramitā. Bhagavān, when the mind is not grasping, not seeing characteristics of dharmas nor one who sees, then this is cultivating Prajñāpāramitā. Bhagavān, it is not seeing good or bad, the creation of high or low, and neither grasping nor rejecting. Why? This is because dharmas are neither good nor bad, being apart from all characteristics. Dharmas are neither high nor low, because they are equal in nature. Dharmas are neither accepted nor rejected, because they abide in reality. This is cultivating Prajñāpāramitā.”

The Buddha said to Mañjuśrī, “Are the dharmas of the buddhas supreme?” Mañjuśrī replied, “I do not see such an appearance of supremacy amongst all dharmas. The Tathāgata has had self-realization of the emptiness of all dharmas, and this knowledge has been demonstrated.” The Buddha told Mañjuśrī, “Thusly, thusly! The Tathāgata has completely awakened to the self-realization of the emptiness of dharmas.” Mañjuśrī addressed the Buddha, saying, “Bhagavān, in the emptiness of dharmas, does there exist anything superior which may be obtained?” The Buddha replied, “Excellent, excellent, Mañjuśrī! It is just as you have explained. This is the true Dharma!”

The Buddha again spoke to Mañjuśrī, saying, “Is the Buddha Dharma not described as the Anuttarā?” Mañjuśrī replied, “As the Buddha has explained, the Buddha Dharma is described as Anuttarā. Why? That no dharmas may be grasped is called the Anuttarā.” Mañjuśrī said, “Cultivating Prajñāpāramitā thusly, one is not called a Dharma-vessel, nor is there transformation of mundane dharmas. There is also no Buddha Dharma and no Dharma of purification. This is cultivating Prajñāpāramitā. Moreover, Bhagavān, when cultivating Prajñāpāramitā, there is no seeing dharmas which may be divided and distinguished in contemplation.” The Buddha said to Mañjuśrī, “Regarding the Buddha Dharma, do you contemplate it?” Mañjuśrī said, “No, Bhagavān, and such is my contemplation. Not seeing the Buddha Dharma and also not discriminating between it and the Ordinary Person Dharma, the Śrāvaka Dharma, and the Pratyekabuddha Dharma, is thus called the Supreme Buddha Dharma.

“Moreover, when cultivating Prajñāpāramitā, there is no seeing mundane characteristics, nor characteristics of the Buddha Dharma. Not seeing characteristics of the existence of various dharmas is cultivating Prajñāpāramitā. Moreover, when cultivating Prajñāpāramitā, there is no seeing the Desire Realm, nor seeing the Form Realm, nor seeing the Formless Realm, nor seeing the realm of Nirvāṇa. Why? Not seeing characteristics of the existence of dharmas nor their extinction, is cultivating Prajñāpāramitā. Moreover, when cultivating Prajñāpāramitā, there is no seeing one who gives kindness, nor seeing one who receives kindness. Contemplating without a mind of duality and discrimination is cultivating Prajñāpāramitā. Moreover, when cultivating Prajñāpāramitā, there is no seeing a Buddha Dharma which may be grasped, nor seeing mundane dharmas which may be relinquished. This is cultivating Prajñāpāramitā.

“Moreover, if when cultivating Prajñāpāramitā, there is no perception of mundane dharmas that may be eliminated, nor perception of a Buddha Dharma, then its knowledge is certified. This is cultivating Prajñāpāramitā.” The Buddha said to Mañjuśrī, “Excellent, excellent! You are able to so skillfully expound the characteristics of the extremely profound Prajñāpāramitā thusly. All the learning of the bodhisattva-mahāsattvas has this as its true Dharma seal. Even the śrāvakas and pratyekabuddhas, those with more learning and those beyond learning, do not have a fruit of the path that is apart from this seal.” The Buddha told Mañjuśrī, “If a person is able to hear this teaching without fear, then the seeds of good roots have not only been planted with thousands of buddhas, but good roots have truly been planted with hundreds of thousands of myriads of buddhas. Therefore, one is able to be be without alarm and fear of the extremely profound Prajñāpāramitā.”

Mañjuśrī addressed the Buddha, saying, “Bhagavān, I will now speak further about the meaning of Prajñāpāramitā.” The Buddha said, “As you wish.” “Bhagavān, when cultivating Prajñāpāramitā, there is no seeing dharmas in which one should dwell or not dwell, nor seeing the appearance of a realm that may be obtained or relinquished. Why? This is because all tathāgatas as such do not see the appearance of a realm of dharmas, not even seeing the buddha realms. It is also such as this for the attainment of the śrāvaka, pratyekabuddha, and mundane realms. There is no grasping characteristics of thought and also no grasping characteristics of no-thought. Not seeing the existence of various characteristics of dharmas, self-realization of the emptiness of dharmas is inconceivable. Thusly, all bodhisattva-mahāsattvas provide offerings to innumerable hundreds of thousands of myriads of buddhas, planting every good root, and are therefore able to be without alarm and fear of the extremely profound Prajñāpāramitā. Moreover, when cultivating Prajñāpāramitā, seeing neither fetters nor liberation, and not distinguishing between characteristics of ordinary people and even those of the Three Vehicles, is cultivating Prajñāpāramitā.”

The Buddha addressed Mañjuśrī, saying, “How many offerings have you made to the buddhas?” Mañjuśrī said, “I even regard the buddhas as having an illusory appearance, seeing neither a provision of offerings nor one who accepts them.” The Buddha said to Mañjuśrī, “Do you dwell in the Buddha Vehicle?” Mañjuśrī said, “Just such is my contemplation, not seeing even a single dharma, so who could dwell in the Buddha Vehicle?” The Buddha said, “Mañjuśrī, have you attained the Buddha Vehicle?” Mañjuśrī said, “Such a Buddha Vehicle is merely a name which can be neither obtained nor seen, so what could I obtain?” The Buddha said, “Mañjuśrī, have you attained unimpeded wisdom?” Mañjuśrī said, “I am the unimpeded itself. How could the unimpeded attain non-obstruction?” The Buddha said, “Have you sat at the bodhimaṇḍa?” Mañjuśrī said, “All the tathāgatas do not sit at bodhimaṇḍas, so why should I alone now sit at a bodhimaṇḍa, and for what purpose? I now see that all dharmas abide in the realm of reality.”

The Buddha said, “What is it that you call the realm of reality?” Mañjuśrī said, “The body of the manifestation of equality is the realm of reality.” The Buddha said, “Of what bodily appearance is the realm of reality?” Mañjuśrī said, “The body which neither comes nor goes, the body that is not a body, is called the realm of reality.” Śāriputra addressed the Buddha, saying, “Bhagavān, if one understands the meaning of this principle decisively, then this is one to be called a bodhisattva-mahāsattva. Why? Being able to hear the characteristics of the extremely profound Prajñāpāramitā thusly, the mind is unshaken and unafraid, neither turning back nor in regret.” Maitreya Bodhisattva addressed the Buddha, saying, “Bhagavān, one who is able to hear Prajñāpāramitā thusly is endowed with the characteristics of the Dharma, and is close to the seat of the Buddha. Why? This is because the Tathāgata’s manifestation of Bodhi is the cause for the manifestation of the Dharma.” Mañjuśrī addressed the Buddha, saying, “Bhagavān, if one is able to hear the extremely profound Prajñāpāramitā, capable of being unshaken and unafraid, neither turning back nor in regret, it should be known that this person is perceiving the Buddha.”

At that time, Without Appearances Upāsikā addressed the Buddha, saying, “Bhagavān, the Ordinary Person Dharma, the Śrāvaka Dharma, the Pratyekabuddha Dharma, and the Buddha Dharma, are all dharmas entirely without characteristics. Therefore, those who are able to hear Prajñāpāramitā are in each case unalarmed and unafraid, neither turning back nor in regret. Why? All dharmas are fundamentally without characteristics.” The Buddha told Śāriputra, “If a good man or good woman hears the extremely profound Prajñāpāramitā thusly, with a mind understanding it decisively, unalarmed and unafraid, neither turning back nor in regret, it should be known that this person is now standing upon the ground of non-regression. If a person hears this extremely profound Prajñāpāramitā, unalarmed and unafraid, neither turning back nor in regret, he or she is presently endowed with Dānapāramitā, Śīlapāramitā, Kṣāntipāramitā, Vīryapāramitā, Dhyānapāramitā, and Prajñāpāramitā, and also able to make distinctions when speaking of cultivation practice.”

The Buddha said to Mañjuśrī, “What do you say that it means to obtain Anuttarā Samyaksaṃbodhi, and abide in Anuttarā Samyaksaṃbodhi?” Mañjuśrī said, “I do not have an Anuttarā Samyaksaṃbodhi to obtain, nor do I abide in a Buddha Vehicle. Why should I obtain Anuttarā Samyaksaṃbodhi? The appearance of Bodhi is just as I have explained.” The Buddha praised Mañjuśrī, saying, “Excellent, excellent! You are thus able to speak so skillfully of the meaning of the extremely profound Dharma. From the times of previous buddhas, you have long planted the seeds for good roots, purely cultivating the brahmacarya of the Dharma of no appearances.” Mañjuśrī said, “If the existence of appearances is perceived, then it follows that the speech is without appearances. I do not see the existence of appearances, nor the absence of appearances. Why then do you speak of purely cultivating the brahmacarya of the Dharma of no appearances?”

The Buddha said to Mañjuśrī, “Do you observe the precepts?” He replied, “They are observed.” The Buddha said, “What is this observing?” Mañjuśrī said, “I do not observe as an ordinary person, nor do I observe as a noble one; I do not observe as one with more learning or as one beyond learning; I perceive neither large nor small, perceiving neither regulation nor non-regulation, neither perceiving nor not perceiving.” Śāriputra spoke to Mañjuśrī saying, “You observe the Śrāvaka Vehicle thusly, but how do you observe the Buddha Vehicle?” Mañjuśrī said, “I do not perceive a dharma of Bodhi, a cultivation practice of Bodhi, or even one who realizes Bodhi.”

Śāriputra spoke to Mañjuśrī, saying, “What do you call the Buddha? How do you contemplate the Buddha?” Mañjuśrī said, “What do you take to be the self?” Śāriputra said, “The self merely exists as a name, and names are empty of characteristics.” Mañjuśrī said, “Thusly, thusly! Just as the self is merely a name, the Buddha is also merely a name. Names are empty of characteristics, and this is itself Bodhi. One should seek Bodhi without regarding names, as the appearance of Bodhi is silent and wordless. Why? Words and speech of Bodhi are both completely empty. Moreover, Śāriputra, you ask, ‘What is it that you call the Buddha? How do you contemplate the Buddha?’ That which is neither created nor destroyed, neither comes nor goes, and is without name and form, is called the Buddha. This is the pure contemplation of the body of true appearance, and contemplation of the Buddha is also such as this. Only the wise are able to understand that this is what is called contemplating the Buddha.”

At that time, Śāriputra addressed the Buddha, saying, “Bhagavān, the beginning bodhisattvas are unable to understand Prajñāpāramitā as Mañjuśrī explains it.” Mañjuśrī said, “It is not only the beginning bodhisattvas who are unable to understand, but also those who are established in the Two Vehicles have not yet been able to understand it. When the Dharma is explained thusly, they are unable to understand it. Why? The appearance of Bodhi is truly without the existence of dharmas which may be known. It is without seeing and hearing, without grasping and without thought, without birth and without death, without speech and without listening. As such, the appearance of the nature of Bodhi is empty and silent, without realization and without knowledge, without form and without appearance, so how could there be the existence of one who attains Bodhi?”

Śāriputra said to Mañjuśrī, “Hasn’t the Buddha realized Anuttarā Samyaksaṃbodhi within the Dharma Realm?” Mañjuśrī said, “Neither is this the case, Śāriputra. Why? The Bhagavān is the Dharma Realm itself. If one has realization of the Dharma Realm within the Dharma Realm, then this is a contradiction. Śāriputra, the appearance of the Dharma Realm is itself Bodhi. Why? This is because in the Dharma Realm there is no appearance of sentient beings, as every dharma is empty. This is because the emptiness of dharmas is itself Bodhi, without duality and without division. Śāriputra, without discrimination there is no knower, and without a knower there are no words. Without words, there is neither existence nor non-existence, neither knowing nor not knowing. For all dharmas, it is also such as this. Why? All dharmas are not perceived in any place, and have no definitive nature.

“The appearance of terrible offenses is also inconceivable. Why? The true appearance of dharmas is unable to be destroyed, and as such the terrible offenses are also without fundamental nature, neither rising to the heavens above nor falling to the hells below, nor entering into Nirvāṇa. Why? All causes and conditions abide in reality, neither coming nor going, neither the cause nor the fruition. Why? This is because the Dharma Realm is limitless, without before and without after. For this reason, Śāriputra, a bhikṣu who observes a terrible offense does not fall to the hells, nor nor through pure practice does he enter Nirvāṇa. As such, the bhikṣu neither confesses nor does not confess, neither ending outflows nor not ending outflows. Why? This is because all dharmas abide in equality.”

Śāriputra said, “What is the Dharma Patience of Non-regression?” Mañjuśrī said, “Not perceiving even the slightest appearance of the dharmas of birth and death, is termed the Dharma Patience of Non-regression.” Śāriputra said, “Who is to be called an immovable bhikṣu?” Mañjuśrī said, “An arhat who has ended outflows is called immovable. Why? All fetters have been exhausted to the point of immovability, so he is called immovable. If one’s mind moves about in practice, then this is an ordinary person. Why? Ordinary sentient beings are not in accord with the Dharma Realm, so this is why they are called movable.” Śāriputra said, “Excellent, excellent! I now understand well what you mean by an arhat who has ended outflows.” Mañjuśrī said, “Thusly, thusly! Moreover, I am a true arhat who has ended outflows. Why? I have severed the śrāvaka desires and even the pratyekabuddha desires, and for this reason I am called one who has ended outflows and attained arhatship.”

The Buddha spoke to Mañjuśrī, saying, “When a bodhisattva sits at a bodhimaṇḍa, does he awaken to Anuttarā Samyaksaṃbodhi?” Mañjuśrī said, “When a bodhisattva sits at a bodhimaṇḍa, there is no awakening to the realization of Anuttarā Samyaksaṃbodhi. Why? The appearance of Bodhi is such that the absence of the slightest dharmas which may be grasped, is called Anuttarā Samyaksaṃbodhi. Because Bodhi is without appearance, who is able to sit, and who is able to rise? For this reason, there is no perception of a bodhisattva sitting at a bodhimaṇḍa, nor of awakening to the realization of Anuttarā Samyaksaṃbodhi.”

Mañjuśrī addressed the Buddha, saying, “Bhagavān, Bodhi itself is the Five Offenses, and the Five Offenses are themselves Bodhi. Why? Bodhi and the Five Offenses are without the characteristics of duality: without learning and without learner, without perception and without perceiver, without knowing and without one who knows, without discrimination and without one who discriminates. This is the characteristic which is called Bodhi, and perception of the characteristic of the Five Offenses is also such as this. Yet if one says that they perceive the existence of Bodhi, then this is grasping at realization, and it should be known that this is an arrogant person.”

At that time, the Bhagavān spoke to Mañjuśrī, saying, “When you say I am the Tathāgata, do you mean that I have come from suchness?” Mañjuśrī said, “No, Bhagavān, I would not say that the Tathāgata is the one who has come from suchness. Why? There is no appearance of suchness which may be called suchness, and no Tathāgata wisdom which is able to know suchness. Why? The Tathāgata and wisdom are without characteristics of duality. Emptiness is the Tathāgata, only existing as a name, so what should I say is the meaning of Tathāgata?” The Buddha spoke to Mañjuśrī, saying, “Do you doubt the Tathāgata?” Mañjuśrī said, “No, Bhagavān. I contemplate the Tathāgata as being without fixed nature, without birth and without death, and for this reason there is no doubt.”

The Buddha spoke to Mañjuśrī, saying, “Would you say that the Tathāgata manifests in the world?” Mañjuśrī said, “If the Tathāgata manifests in the world, then the realm of all dharmas should also manifest.” The Buddha spoke to Mañjuśrī, saying, “Would you say that as many buddhas enter Nirvāṇa as there are sand grains in the Ganges River?” Mañjuśrī said, “All buddhas have one characteristic: inconceivability.” The Buddha said to Mañjuśrī, “Thusly, thusly! The buddhas are of one appearance, the inconceivable appearance.”

Mañjuśrī addressed the Buddha, saying, “Bhagavān, does the Buddha now abide in the world?” The Buddha said to Mañjuśrī, “Thusly, thusly.” Mañjuśrī said, “If the Buddha abides in the world, then buddhas as many as sand grains of the Ganges River should also abide in the world. Why? All buddhas are of the same appearance, the inconceivable appearance, and the inconceivable appearance is without birth and without death. If future buddhas manifest in the world, then all buddhas would manifest in the world. Why? In the inconceivable, there are no characteristics of the past, future, or present. However, sentient beings grasp and suffer, saying that there is manifestation in the world, or that the Buddha is in Nirvāṇa.” The Buddha said to Mañjuśrī, “This is the true liberation of the tathāgatas, the arhats, and the avinivartanīya bodhisattvas. Why? If these three types of people hear the extremely profound Dharma, they are neither able to slander nor praise it.” Mañjuśrī addressed the Buddha, saying, “Bhagavān, regarding such an inconceivable Dharma, who could slander it, and who could praise it?”

The Buddha said to Mañjuśrī, “Just as the Tathāgata is inconceivable, ordinary beings are also inconceivable.” Mañjuśrī addressed the Buddha, saying, “Bhagavān, ordinary beings are also inconceivable?” The Buddha said, “They are also inconceivable. Why? All characteristics of the mind are inconceivable.” Mañjuśrī said, “If it is as you say and the Tathāgata is inconceivable, then innumerable disciples fatigue themselves in seeking the Nirvāṇa of the buddhas. Why? The inconceivable Dharma is itself Nirvāṇa, and they the same without any difference.” Mañjuśrī continued, “As such, ordinary beings are inconceivable, and the buddhas are inconceivable. If a good man or good woman with good roots practices diligently, and with a good teacher, then he or she is able to know this.”

The Buddha spoke to Mañjuśrī, saying, “Do you wish to establish the Tathāgata as foremost among sentient beings?” Mañjuśrī said, “I wish to establish the Tathāgata as foremost among sentient beings; however, the appearance of sentient beings also cannot be grasped.” The Buddha said, “Do you wish to establish the Tathāgata’s attainment of the inconceivable Dharma?” Mañjuśrī said, “I wish to establish the Tathāgata’s attainment of the inconceivable Dharma, yet regarding this there is no attainer.” The Buddha said to Mañjuśrī, “Do you wish to establish the Tathāgata’s Dharma teaching of transformation?” Mañjuśrī addressed the Buddha, saying, “I wish to establish the Tathāgata’s Dharma teaching of transformation, yet the speaker and the listener are both unable to be grasped. Why? These abide in the Dharma Realm, and the Dharma Realm and sentient beings are without characteristics of distinction.”

The Buddha said to Mañjuśrī, “Do you wish to establish the Tathāgata as the supreme field of merit?” Mañjuśrī said, “The Tathāgata is the endless field of merit, the endless appearance, and the endless appearance is itself the supreme field of merit. That which is neither the field of merit, nor different from the field of merit, is called the field of merit. That which is without the existence of characteristics such as light and darkness, and birth and death, is called the field of merit. If one is able to understand the appearance of the field of merit, then good seeds have been planted deeply that neither increase nor decrease.” The Buddha said to Mañjuśrī, “Why do you say that the seeds planted will neither increase nor decrease?” Mañjuśrī said, “The appearance of the field of merit is inconceivable. If a person cultivates well in this Dharma, it is likewise inconceivable, and as such the seeds planted neither increase nor decrease, and it is also like this for the supreme field of merit.”

At that time, the spiritual power of the Buddha caused the great earth to shake in six directions, with the manifestation of impermanence. Sixteen thousand people attained the Dharma Patience of Non-arising, and seven hundred bhikṣus, three thousand upāsakas, forty thousand upāsikās, and sixty countless myriads of beings from the Six Heavens of Desire left the dust and dirt far behind, and attained the pure Dharma Eye regarding all dharmas.

At that time, Ānanda arose from his seat, bared his right shoulder, and knelt with his right knee to the ground. He addressed the Buddha, saying, “Bhagavān, from what causes and conditions did the ground shake in six directions? The Buddha said to Ānanda, “I spoke of the field of merit that is without characteristics of distinction, and that is the reason for this auspicious sign. The buddhas of the past also spoke here of the appearance of the field of merit to benefit sentient beings, and every world realm shook in six directions.” Śāriputra addressed the Buddha, saying, “Bhagavān, Mañjuśrī is inconceivable! Why? His exposition of the characteristics of the Dharma is inconceivable!” The Buddha said to Mañjuśrī, “Thusly, thusly! As Śāriputra says, your explanation is truly inconceivable.” Mañjuśrī addressed the buddha, saying, “Bhagavān, the inconceivable is unable to be spoken, and the conceivable is also unable to be spoken. As such, the conceivable and inconceivable natures are both unable to be spoken. All characteristics of sound are likewise neither conceivable nor inconceivable.”

The Buddha said, “Do you enter into the inconceivable samādhi?” Mañjuśrī said, “No, Bhagavān, I am the inconceivable itself, perceiving neither the existence of a mind, nor one who is able to have thoughts, so how could I be said to enter the inconceivable samādhi? When I was beginning, I developed the aspiration and entered this samādhi, but now there is truly no thought for entering this samādhi. This is like a person who is learning archery. After a long time of practice this person is skillful, and due to this long practice, without thought, his arrows strike the center of their target. It is just like this for myself, and when I began learning the inconceivable samādhi, I focused my mind on a single point. After a long time of practice, although there is no thought of it, I am always completely in this samādhi.”

Śāriputra spoke to Mañjuśrī, saying, “Does there exist any higher and more wondrous samādhi of extinction?” Mañjuśrī said, “If there were one who had the inconceivable samādhi, then you would be able to ask, ‘does there exist a more wondrous samādhi of extinction?’ As my mind has been extinguished, the inconceivable samādhi is unable to be obtained, so how could one then ask about the existence of a samādhi of extinction?” Śāriputra said, “The inconceivable samādhi is unable to be obtained?” Mañjuśrī said, “One in a samādhi that is conceivable is able to attain its manifestation; however, one in the inconceivable samādhi is unable to attain its manifestation. All sentient beings have truly attained the inconceivable samādhi, and this is the reason all characteristics of sentient beings, as well as the characteristics of the inconceivable samādhi, are equal and without difference.” The Buddha praised Mañjuśrī, saying, “Excellent, excellent! You have long planted good roots with the buddhas through the pure practice of Brahmacarya, to be capable of expounding this extremely profound samādhi. You are now peacefully abiding in Prajñāpāramitā.”

Mañjuśrī said, “If I were abiding in Prajñāpāramitā, and able to speak of it, then this would be the existence of thought and abiding in the idea of a self. If one is abiding in the existence of thought and the idea of a self, then Prajñāpāramitā has a location. If one is not abiding in this, that is also the idea of a self, which also has a location. Apart from these two places, abiding without abiding, the abiding of the buddhas, is the inconceivable and peaceful realm of Nirvāṇa. As such, the inconceivable is called the abode of Prajñāpāramitā. In this location of Prajñāpāramitā, all dharmas are without characteristics, and all dharmas are without creation. Prajñāpāramitā is itself the inconceivable, the inconceivable is itself the Dharma Realm, the Dharma Realm itself is without characteristics, that which is without characteristics is inconceivable, and the inconceivable itself is Prajñāpāramitā. Prajñāpāramitā and the Dharma Realm are without duality and without division, that which is without duality and division is itself the Dharma Realm, the Dharma Realm itself is without characteristics, and that which is without characteristics is itself the realm of Prajñāpāramitā. The realm of Prajñāpāramitā is itself the inconceivable realm, the inconceivable realm itself is without birth and without death, and that which is without birth and without death is itself the inconceivable realm.”

Mañjuśrī said, “The Tathāgata Realm as well as the realm of the self, are not of two characteristics. As such, one who cultivates Prajñāpāramitā does not seek Bodhi. Why? Bodhi, being apart from all characteristics, is itself Prajñāpāramitā. Bhagavān, knowing the characteristics of the self, one will not be affected by it. Without knowing and without being affected by anything, this is the awareness of the buddhas. The inconceivable, without awareness and without suffering, is itself the awareness of the buddhas. Why? Knowledge of the body of fundamental nature is without the actual existence of characteristics, so what is then capable of transforming the Dharma Realm? If one is aware that the fundamental nature is without form and without one who suffers, then it is itself nothingness. If there is no existence of any object, then there is no location, no dependence and no abiding. The absence of dependence and abiding is itself the absence of birth and death, and the absence of birth and the absence of death are themselves the merits of the conditioned and unconditioned. If one is aware thusly, then there is no mind or thought. Without one who has mind or thought, what is it that knows the merits of the conditioned and unconditioned? This absence of knowing is itself the inconceivable, and that which is inconceivable is the true awareness of the Buddha, with neither grasping nor non-grasping, not perceiving the characteristics of coming and going of the Triple Realm, not grasping birth and death or the various arising fabrications, and neither permanent nor impermanent. Such knowledge is called true wisdom. Inconceivable wisdom is like emptiness, without this or that, incomparable, with neither good nor bad, incomparable, and without characteristics or appearance.” The Buddha told Mañjuśrī, “If one is aware thusly, then this is called the wisdom of non-regression.”

Mañjuśrī said, “The wisdom without fabrications is called the wisdom of non-regression. It is similar to a gold ingot before it is hammered, to know whether it is good or bad. Without being hammered, one is unable to know this. The characteristic of the wisdom of non-regression is also such as this. In the essential realm of practice, neither mindful nor suffering, without arising and without fabrication, endowed with the unmoving, with neither birth nor death, then it manifests.”

At that time, the Buddha spoke to Mañjuśrī, saying, “As the tathāgatas thus speak of self-wisdom, what is that ability of belief?” Mañjuśrī said, “Such wisdom is neither a dharma of Nirvāṇa nor a dharma of birth and death; it is the practice of silence, the practice of stillness; it neither severs desires, hatred, and delusion, nor does it not sever them. Why? It is without creation and without destruction; it is neither apart from birth and death, nor with it; it is neither the cultivation path, nor different from the cultivation path. Such understanding is called right belief.” The Buddha spoke to Mañjuśrī, saying, “Excellent, excellent! Thus have you explained the profound meaning of this principle.”

At that time, Mahākāśyapa addressed the Buddha, saying, “Bhagavān, in the coming age, if the extremely profound true Dharma is spoken thusly, who will be able to believe, understand, accept, and practice it?” The Buddha said to Kāśyapa, “If bhikṣus, bhikṣuṇīs, upāsakas, and upāsikās in this assembly are able to hear this sūtra thusly, then in the coming age, if they hear this Dharma again, they will certainly be capable of understanding the extremely profound Prajñāpāramitā. They will even be able to study, recite, believe, understand, accept, and maintain it, and they will be able to expound it to others and explain it. Consider a householder who is worried and distressed after losing a maṇi jewel. When it is found again later, his mind will be extremely happy. It is just like this, Kāśyapa. Bhikṣus, bhikṣuṇīs, upāsakas, and upāsikās, are also such as this, who have a mind of faith and happiness. If they do not hear the Dharma, then distress will arise, but when they are able to hear it, they will believe, understand, accept, and maintain it, always happy when studying and reciting it, extremely blissful and happy. It should be known that such a person is essentially perceiving the Buddha, and essentially serving and providing offerings to all buddhas.”

The Buddha said to Kāśyapa, “For example, in Trāyastriṃśa Heaven, when the buds of the supreme Pārijātaka tree begin to emerge, the devas will surround it to watch with great happiness, for this tree will soon be in full bloom. If bhikṣus, bhikṣuṇīs, upāsakas, and upāsikās are able to hear the Prajñāpāramitā, and are able to develop belief and understanding, then it is also like this, and before long, all buddha dharmas will blossom for this person. In the coming age, there will be bhikṣus, bhikṣuṇīs, upāsakas, and upāsikās who hear the Prajñāpāramitā, and believe, accept, study, and recite, with a mind not turning back or in regret. It should be known that this person has heard and accepted the sūtra at this assembly. They will also be able to widely expound and teach it to the people of the cities and villages. It should be known that this person is protected and remembered by the Buddha.

“In the extremely profound Prajñāpāramitā thusly, able to believe and delight in it without confusion, such a good man or good woman has long cultivated under the buddhas of the past, planting a multitude of good roots. This is like someone stringing beads, who suddenly encounters a supreme true maṇi jewel, and whose mind is very happy. It should be known that this person has certainly seen one before. Thusly, Kāśyapa, if a good man or good woman is cultivating the study of some other dharma, and suddenly is able to hear the extremely profound Prajñāpāramitā, giving rise to happiness, then it is also such as this, and it should be known that this person has heard it before. Suppose there are sentient beings who are able to hear the extremely profound Prajñāpāramitā, with a mind able to believe and accept it, giving rise to happiness. This is because they have already served the buddhas thusly, from whom they heard Prajñāpāramitā and engaged in its cultivation.

“For example, a person who has heard this sūtra before is like one who has seen a city before. Following this, suppose he hears others praise that city and its gardens, parks, the various ponds and streams, its flowers, fruits, and forests, and its men and women, all its wonderful things. After hearing this, he is very happy, and will ask the other person to speak more about this city’s gardens, parks, and multitude of good adornments, its flowers, ponds, streams, its many sweet fruits, all its wonderful things. When this person hears about them, he is extremely happy, because he has perceived these things before. Suppose a good man or good woman hears this Prajñāpāramitā, listening and accepting with a mind of belief, able to give rise to joy, delighting in hearing it and without contempt, and asking for it to be spoken even more. One should know that this person has already heard Prajñāpāramitā thusly from Mañjuśrī.”

Kāśyapa addressed the Buddha, saying, “Bhagavān, suppose that in the future, good men and good women are able to hear this extremely profound Prajñāpāramitā with faith and happiness, hearing and accepting it. From this characteristic, it should be known that this person has heard, cultivated, and learned it under a buddha of the past.” Mañjuśrī addressed the Buddha, saying, “Bhagavān, the dharmas that the Buddha speaks are without fabrication and without characteristics, the foremost Nirvāṇa. If good men and good women are able to understand this truth thusly, and expound it as it was heard, they will be praised by the tathāgatas. It will not be against the characteristics of the Dharma, and will be the word of the Buddha itself. It is the blazing characteristic of Prajñāpāramitā and the blazing totality of the Buddha Dharma. The depths of its true characteristics are inconceivable.”

The Buddha said to Mañjuśrī, “When I originally practiced the Bodhisattva Path, I cultivated good roots. Those who wish to abide on the avinivartanīya ground should learn Prajñāpāramitā. Those who wish to accomplish Anuttarā Samyaksaṃbodhi should learn Prajñāpāramitā. If a good man or good woman wishes to understand all characteristics of dharmas, and wish to know the equality of the mind realms of all sentient beings, they should learn Prajñāpāramitā. Mañjuśrī, those who wish to learn all Buddha dharmas without obstruction, should learn Prajñāpāramitā. Those who wish to learn every characteristic, deportment, and the limitless Dharma procedures at the time of the Buddha’s accomplishment of Anuttarā Samyaksaṃbodhi, should learn Prajñāpāramitā. Even those who wish to learn every characteristic, deportment, and the limitless Dharma procedures at the time when the Buddha had not accomplished Anuttarā Samyaksaṃbodhi, should learn Prajñāpāramitā. Why? This is because in the emptiness of dharmas, there is no perception of buddhas, Bodhi, and so forth.

“If good men and good women wish to know such characteristics without doubt and confusion, they should learn Prajñāpāramitā. Why? In Prajñāpāramitā, one does not perceive whether dharmas are born or extinguished, impure or pure. For this reason, good men and good women should learn Prajñāpāramitā in this manner. Those who wish to be aware that all dharmas are without past, future, and present characteristics, should learn Prajñāpāramitā. Why? This is because the characteristic of the nature of the Dharma Realm is without three phases of time. Those who wish to know that all dharmas similarly enter the Dharma Realm and mind without obstruction, should learn Prajñāpāramitā. Those who wish to attain the three turnings and twelve motions of the Dharma Wheel, and self-realization that suffering cannot be grasped, should learn Prajñāpāramitā. Those who wish to attain a compassionate mind for all sentient beings without limit, while not composing thought of the characteristic of the existence of sentient beings, should learn Prajñāpāramitā. Those who wish to be without the arising of dispute with sentient beings, and also not grasping a characteristic of dispute, should learn Prajñāpāramitā. Those who wish to realize abiding without abiding, the Ten Powers, and fearlessness, abiding in Buddha Wisdom, and attaining unimpeded eloquence, should learn Prajñāpāramitā.”

At that time, Mañjuśrī addressed the Buddha, saying, “Bhagavān, I contemplate the true Dharma which is unconditioned and without characteristics, without obtaining and without benefit, without birth and without death, without coming and without going, without one who knows, without one who perceives, and without one who acts. There is no perceiving Prajñāpāramitā, nor perceiving a realm of Prajñāpāramitā, being neither realization nor non-realization. It is not composing conceptual elaborations, and is without discrimination. All dharmas are endless and apart from any end. There is no Ordinary Person Dharma, Śrāvaka Dharma, Pratyekabuddha Dharma, or Buddha Dharma. There is neither attainment nor non-attainment, neither abandoning birth and death, nor realizing Nirvāṇa. There is neither conceivable nor inconceivable, neither doing nor non-doing. Such being the characteristic of the Dharma, how then should one learn Prajñāpāramitā?” At that time, the Buddha said to Mañjuśrī, “If one is able to thusly know the characteristics of the Dharma, then this is what is called learning Prajñāpāramitā. Bodhisattva-mahāsattvas who wish to learn the Bodhi Sovereign Samādhi, and having attained this samādhi, illuminate all extremely profound Buddha dharmas, as well as know the names of all buddhas, and in each case thoroughly understand the various buddha world realms without obstruction, should learn this Prajñāpāramitā spoken by Mañjuśrī.”

Mañjuśrī addressed the Buddha, saying, “Bhagavān, for what reason is it called Prajñāpāramitā?” The Buddha said, “Prajñāpāramitā is limitless and endless, nameless and without characteristics, not conceptualizing, neither taking refuge nor being an island, without offense and without merit, without darkness and without light, completely without division yet limitless in number. This is what is called Prajñāpāramitā, and it is also called the field of action of a bodhisattva-mahāsattva. This is neither a field nor not a field, and for all those who enter the One Vehicle, it is called the station of non-action. Why? This is because there is no thought and no action.”

Mañjuśrī addressed the Buddha, saying, “Bhagavān, what should one practice in order to quickly attain Anuttarā Samyaksaṃbodhi?” The Buddha said, “Mañjuśrī, one who practices Prajñāpāramitā as explained, is able to quickly attain Anuttarā Samyaksaṃbodhi. Moreover, there is the Single Action Samādhi, and if good men and good women cultivate this samādhi, they will also quickly attain Anuttarā Samyaksaṃbodhi.” Mañjuśrī said, “Bhagavān, what is it that is called the Single Action Samādhi?” The Buddha said, “The Dharma Realm is of one characteristic. Focusing on the condition of the Dharma Realm is called the Single Action Samādhi. If good men and good women wish to enter the Single Action Samādhi, they should first hear Prajñāpāramitā, cultivating and learning it as spoken. From this they will then be able to enter the Single Action Samādhi, which is like the condition of the Dharma Realm: neither regressing nor ending, inconceivable, unimpeded, and without appearances.

“Good men and good women who wish to enter the Single Action Samādhi should dwell in an empty place, abandon various random thoughts, not grasping at appearances, and fixate the mind on one buddha, singularly reciting his name. They should correct their body in order to face the direction of that buddha. Able to be mindful of the appearance of that one buddha continuously, then from this mindfulness, they will be able to perceive past, future, and present buddhas. Why? The merits of mindfulness of one buddha are immeasurable and limitless, and as immeasurable, they are not apart from the merits of all buddhas. The inconceivable Buddha Dharma is equal and without division, all are one vehicle for the accomplishment of Anuttarā Samyaksaṃbodhi, replete with immeasurable merit and immeasurable eloquence.

“One who enters the Single Action Samādhi thusly, will completely realize that the Dharma Realm, as well as as many buddhas as sand grains in the Ganges River, are without characteristics of distinction. Ānanda, who hears the Buddha Dharma and has attained the mindfulness of complete retention, whose eloquence and wisdom amongst śrāvakas is supreme, is yet limited and still obstructed. If one attains the Single Action Samādhi, then the sūtras and Dharma gates, along with their various divisions, will all be known completely without obstruction. He will be able to expound them day and night with wisdom and eloquence that is continuous and unbroken. Although Ānanda is well learned and eloquent, he is not one hundred thousandth thereof. Bodhisattva-mahāsattvas should be mindful, ‘How can I attain the Single Action Samādhi, its inconceivable merits, and its innumerable names and designations?’” The Buddha said, “Bodhisattva-mahāsattvas should be mindful of the Single Action Samādhi, constantly striving with effort and without indolence. Gradually cultivating and learning, then they are able to attain entry into the Single Action Samādhi, and have realization of its inconceivable merits. However, those who slander the true Dharma without belief, or who have obstructions of evil karma from grave offenses, are unable to enter it.

“Moreover, Mañjuśrī, consider a person who has obtained maṇi jewel, and who presents it to a jeweler. The jeweler says, ‘This is a priceless true maṇi jewel.’ He will then say to the jeweler, ‘Polish this so it does not lose its luster.’ When the jeweler polishes it accordingly, the luster of the jewel shines throughout. Mañjuśrī, suppose there are good men and good women who cultivate to learn the Single Action Samādhi, with its inconceivable merits and innumerable names. When they cultivate and learn this, they will know the characteristics of the Dharma, and illuminate and penetrate them without obstruction. Their merits will always increase, and so it is also such as this. Mañjuśrī, consider the light of the sun that shines outward without any appearance of decrease. If one attains the Single Action Samādhi, then every merit will be sufficient, without shortage, and it is also such as this, and the illumination of the Buddha Dharma will be like this sunlight.

“Mañjuśrī, the Dharma that I expound is all of the single flavor apart from flavors, the flavor of liberation, the flavor of Nirvāṇa. If good men and good women attain this Single Action Samādhi, then what they expound is also of the single flavor apart from flavors, the flavor of liberation, the flavor of Nirvāṇa, in accordance with the true Dharma and without error. Mañjuśrī, if bodhisattva-mahāsattvas attain this Single Action Samādhi, then they will complete all dharmas of auxiliary paths, and quickly attain Anuttarā Samyaksaṃbodhi. Moreoever, Mañjuśrī, bodhisattva-mahāsattvas who do not perceive the existence of characteristics of division or characteristics of oneness, will quickly attain the characteristic of Anuttarā Samyaksaṃbodhi, which is inconceivable. They are in this Bodhi, but they do not grasp at Buddhahood. One who knows thusly will quickly attain Anuttarā Samyaksaṃbodhi. If one has belief that all dharmas are the Buddha Dharma, then alarm and fear will not arise, nor will doubt or confusion. One who endures thusly will quickly attain Anuttarā Samyaksaṃbodhi.”

Mañjuśrī addressed the Buddha, saying, “Bhagavān, from such conditions, one will quickly attain Anuttarā Samyaksaṃbodhi?” The Buddha said, “The attainment of Anuttarā Samyaksaṃbodhi is not attained from any condition, nor is it attained from the unconditioned. Why? The inconceivable realm is not attained from any condition, nor is it attained from the unconditioned. If good men and good women hear what is spoken thusly, not giving rise to laziness, then it should be known that such a person has already planted good roots with buddhas of the past. For this reason, if bhikṣus and bhikṣuṇīs hear the extremely profound Prajñāpāramitā, not giving rise to alarm and fear, then this is truly leaving home to follow the Buddha. If upāsakas and upāsikās are able to hear the extremely profound Prajñāpāramitā, with a mind not alarmed or fearful, then they are at the true station of taking refuge. Mañjuśrī, if good men and good women do not practice the extremely profound Prajñāpāramitā, then they are not cultivating the Buddha Vehicle. Consider the great earth, from which all herbs and trees always grow. Mañjuśrī, bodhisattva-mahāsattvas are also such as this, with their good roots always growing according to Prajñāpāramitā, without their characteristics conflicting with those of Anuttarā Samyaksaṃbodhi.”

At that time, Mañjuśrī addressed the Buddha, saying, “Bhagavān, in the cities and villages of Jambudvīpa, what should be the station of one who expounds the extremely profound Prajñāpāramitā?” The Buddha said to Mañjuśrī, “Now in this assembly, if there are people who hear Prajñāpāramitā, and all vow saying, ‘In a future life, I should always attain this manifestation of Prajñāpāramitā,’ then from this belief, in a future life, they will be able to hear this sūtra. It should be known that it is not from few good roots that such a person is able to accept and hear it with bliss. Mañjuśrī, if there is again someone who has heard this Prajñāpāramitā from you, then you should say, ‘In this Prajñāpāramitā, there is no Śrāvaka or Pratyekabuddha Dharma, or a Buddha Dharma, and also no dharmas of birth and death, of ordinary beings, and so on.’” Mañjuśrī addressed the Buddha, saying, “Bhagavān, suppose bhikṣus, bhikṣuṇīs, upāsakas, or upāsikās come and ask of me, ‘How does the Buddha expound Prajñāpāramitā?’ I would reply saying, ‘All dharmas are without conflicting characteristics, so how should the Tathāgata expound Prajñāpāramitā?’ Why? There is no perception of the existence of dharmas with which dharmas may conflict, and also no minds and consciousnesses of sentient beings which are able to know.

“Moreover, Bhagavān, I would further speak of ultimate reality. Why? All characteristics of dharmas similarly enter reality, and so arhatship is not a supreme Dharma. Why? This is because the Arhat Dharma and the Ordinary Person Dharma are neither the same nor different. Moreover, Bhagavān, thusly speaking the Dharma, there are no sentient beings who have obtained Nirvāṇa, are now obtaining it, or will obtain it. Why? This is because there is no definitive characteristic of the existence of sentient beings.” Mañjuśrī said, “If someone wishes to hear Prajñāpāramitā, I should speak thusly. That person who hears, not mindful not suffering, without hearing and without grasping, is thus like an illusory person without distinctions. One who speaks thusly is truly expounding the Dharma. For this reason, one who hears without characteristics of duality, does not abandon perceptions to cultivate the Buddha Dharma, not grasping at the Buddha Dharma, and not abandoning the Ordinary Person Dharma. Why? This is because a buddha and an ordinary person are two dharmas empty of characteristics, to be neither grasped nor abandoned. If a person questions me, I should speak thusly, comfort thusly, and establish thusly. Good men and good women, when responding to questioning, should abide thusly, with a mind not regressing or shrinking back, with such characteristics of the Dharma, and speaking in accordance with Prajñāpāramitā.”

At that time, the Bhagavān exclaimed to Mañjuśrī, “Excellent, excellent! It is just as you have explained. If good men and good women wish to perceive the buddhas, then they should learn Prajñāpāramitā. Those who wish to serve the buddhas and make Dharma offerings thusly, should learn Prajñāpāramitā. Those who wish to say that the Tathāgata is their Bhagavān, should learn Prajñāpāramitā thusly. Even those who say that the Tathāgata is not their Bhagavān, should also learn Prajñāpāramitā thusly. Those who wish to accomplish Anuttarā Samyaksaṃbodhi, should learn Prajñāpāramitā thusly. Even those who wish to not accomplish Anuttarā Samyaksaṃbodhi, should also learn Prajñāpāramitā thusly. Those who wish to accomplish all samādhis, should learn Prajñāpāramitā thusly. Even those who wish to not accomplish all samādhis, should also learn Prajñāpāramitā thusly. Why? The reason for this is that unconditioned samādhi is without opposing characteristics, because all dharmas are unarisen and without production. Those who wish to be aware that all dharmas are but false names, should learn Prajñāpāramitā thusly. Those who wish to know that all sentient beings who cultivate the Bodhi Path do not seek a characteristic of Bodhi, should learn Prajñāpāramitā thusly. Why? This is because all dharmas are characteristics of Bodhi. Those who wish to know that all actions of sentient beings are not actions, that this non-action is itself Bodhi, Bodhi is itself the Dharma Realm, and that the Dharma Realm is itself reality, and know this with a mind not regressing nor shrinking back, then they should learn Prajñāpāramitā thusly. Those who wish to be aware that all the supernormal abilities and transformations of the tathāgatas are without characteristics, unimpeded, and without location, then they should learn Prajñāpāramitā thusly.”

The Buddha said to Mañjuśrī, “If there are bhikṣus, bhikṣuṇīs, upāsakas, or upāsikās who wish to not fall into evil destinies, then they should learn Prajñāpāramitā. They should accept, maintain, study, and recite a four-line gāthā, practicing as explained and in accordance with its true characteristic. For a good man or good women who do thusly, it should be known that they will certainly attain Anuttarā Samyaksaṃbodhi and abide in a buddha-land. If one hears Prajñāpāramitā thusly, unalarmed and unafraid, with a mind that gives rise to belief and understanding, then it should be known that this is the true Dharma seal of the buddhas, the Mahāyāna Dharma seal of the true practice of the buddhas. If good men and good women learn this Dharma seal, they will transcend the evil destinies, and not enter into the śrāvaka or pratyekabuddha paths, for these are transcended as well.”

At that time, Śakra from Trāyastriṃśa Heaven scattered wondrous flowers below: utpala flowers, kumuda flowers, puṇḍarīka flowers, heavenly māndarāva flowers, etc., along with heavenly sandalwood fragrance and powdered incense, a proliferation of gold and jewels, and heavenly music, as an offering to Prajñāpāramitā, to the tathāgatas, and to Mañjuśrī. After making this offering, he vowed, “I will always listen to the Dharma seal of Prajñāpāramitā!” Śakra Devānāmindra also made the vow, “I vow that the good men and good women of Jambudvīpa will always be able to hear this sūtra, the definitive Buddha Dharma, causing all to believe, understand, accept, maintain, study, recite, and explain it to others. All the devas will protect and support them!” At that time, the Buddha said to Śakra Devānāmindra, “Kauśika, thusly, thusly! Good men and good women should obtain resolve to the Bodhi of the buddhas.” Mañjuśrī addressed the Buddha, saying, “Bhagavān, thusly accepting and maintaining, good men and good women obtain great benefit and immeasurable merit.”

At that time, from the Buddha’s spiritual power, the great earth shook in six directions. Then the Buddha smiled, emanating a great radiance that universally illuminated the three thousand great thousand-worlds. Mañjuśrī addressed the Buddha, saying, “Bhagavān, this itself is the Tathāgata’s seal of the characteristic of Prajñāpāramitā!” The Buddha said, “Mañjuśrī, thusly, thusly! This auspicious sign always occurs after Prajñāpāramitā has been spoken, to seal Prajñāpāramitā and to enable people to accept and maintain it without praise or criticism. Why? The Dharma seal that is without characteristics is unable to be praised or criticized. By means of this Dharma seal, I now cause the celestial māras to be unable to gain any advantage.” After the Buddha said this, then the great bodhisattvas and the Fourfold Saṃgha had heard this exposition of Prajñāpāramitā, and they blissfully and reverently practiced in accordance.

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