Perfect Enlightenment 5: Buddha Enters Into the Buddha-Within
Translator’s note: Following the commentary tradition, the scriptural text should precede the explanation, but for the ease of understanding, one may opt to read the commentary prior to reading the scriptural text itself. The Chinese source text can be found on Taisho Vol. 17, No. 842 (https://cbetaonline.dila.edu.tw/zh/T0842_001). For the English translation, we have consulted two versions by Ven. Guo-go Bhikshu (http://www.buddhism.org/Sutras/2/Sutras31.htm) and Charles Muller (http://www.acmuller.net/bud-canon/sutra_of_perfect_enlightenment.html).
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1. Buddha Enters the Buddha-Within to Preach the Perfect Enlightenment
Thus I have heard. One time, the Bhagavan entered the transcendent, great luminosity-within, in the exactly attained samādhi, where all tathāgatas abide in radiant splendor, the ground of pure enlightenment of all sentient beings, with body and mind quiescent, equanimous in the primordial reality, perfect and complete in the ten directions, in accord with everything without duality, in this non-dual state all pure lands appear.
Accompanied by one hundred thousand great bodhisattva-mahasattvas, those who served as leaders of the assembly were named Mañjuśrī Bodhisattva, Samantabhadra Bodhisattva, Universal Vision Bodhisattva, Vajragarbha Bodhisattva, Maitreya Bodhisattva, Pure Wisdom Bodhisattva, Majestic Virtue Unhindered Bodhisattva, Voice of Discernment Bodhisattva, All Karmic Obstructions Purified Bodhisattva, Universal Enlightenment Bodhisattva, Perfect Enlightenment Bodhisattva and Bodhisattva Foremost in Virtue and Goodness. With their retinues, all entered into the samādhi as the Tathāgata at this assembly of the equal dharma.
The Bhagavan taught the dharma by entering “the transcendent, great luminosity-within.” This luminosity-within is the realm of “exactly attained samādhi.” Simply, it is the realm of awareness felt in the samādhi. This realm is the realm of the Buddha-Within, and the Buddha-Within is the coalescent realm of wisdom and consciousness. The realm of wisdom is the dharmakaya, or the Buddha’s inner self-realization of wisdom; the realm of consciousness refers to the spontaneous arising that naturally appears as our world. This coalescent realm is described in the scripture as “all tathāgatas abide in radiant splendor, the ground of pure enlightenment of all sentient beings.”
All tathāgatas’ inner self-realization of wisdom are identical. The accomplishment of Buddhahood will inevitably enter this oneness realm of wisdom, and hence the scripture says, “all tathāgatas abide in radiant splendour.” “Radiant” refers to light, it refers to dharmakaya being primordially luminous. “Splendour” means ornaments; all natural arisings, all worldly phenomena are considered ornaments on dharmakaya, it refers to all natural appearances in the realm of consciousness. Then, “all tathāgatas abide in radiant splendour” refers to all tathāgatas all abide in this coalescent realm of dharmakaya and consciousness, which is the exactly attained samādhi of the transcendent, great luminosity-within, which is the awareness realm of samādhi, the realm of the Buddha-Within.
The realm of the Buddha-Within is awakened in the pure awareness. What is aware of this pure awareness is the realm of the Buddha-Within. To described in words, it is then said to be “with body and mind quiescent, equanimous in the primordial reality, pervading the ten directions, in accord with everything without duality.” When abiding in this realm, one attains the realm of awakening of this pure awareness, where body and mind are no longer an obscuration/obstruction. At the same time, one enters into the nature of great equality, which can be said to be the realization of the wisdom realm. “Perfect and complete in the ten directions” is correspondingly the realization of the consciousness realm, for all conventional worlds in the ten directions are spontaneously accomplished, for all worlds are spontaneous natural arisings according to their mutual obstructions. Therefore, what is awakened of this primordial awareness is the coalescent realm of the wisdom realm and the consciousness realm.
To open the scripture with this text, one can arrive at the main theme of this scripture. Simply said, it is through the realm of the Buddha-Within to present the realm of perfect enlightenment (the realm of perfecting the primordial awareness). The teaching is done in turn through the view (foundation), the practice (path), and realization (fruition). The practitioner enters through the view, through judgement making and ascertainment in practice, the realization is the fruition of the Buddha-Within, the realm of perfect enlightenment.