Friday, May 16, 2008

The Nature of Sentient Beings

The Diamond Sutra says:

"Subhūti, what do you think? You should not claim that the Tathāgata thinks 'I will deliver sentient beings.' Subhūti, do not think such a thing. Why? There are in fact no sentient beings for the Tathāgata to deliver. If there were sentient beings for the Tathāgata to deliver, it would mean that the Tathāgata holds the notions of self, person, sentient being, and life span. Subhūti, when the Tathāgata says 'I,' there is actually no ' I.' Yet ordinary beings take this to be an I. Subhūti, as far as ordinary beings are concerned, the Tathāgata says that they are not ordinary beings."

What is the meaning of these verses? What is the purpose for a Bodhisattva to teach and help sentient beings when they fundamentally do not exist? How could a Bodhisattva arouse tireless compassion when he realizes that these beings and the suffering they experience are all unreal?
Although an intellectual understanding could be gained, we should not try to conceptualize the answers to this Dharma riddle. The deeper meaning of this passage is beyond concepts. One can only point to it using a metaphor. It is as if you are dreaming lucidly. Many characters appear in your dream, going through all sorts of suffering because they are unaware that they are only figments of your own imagination. You try to "wake" them up out of compassion. Those who do disappear from your dream, those who don't continue to suffer. However, the truth is whether they appear or disappear they are all not real. You are also not real, your act of waking them up is also not real. Because everything in your dream is of the same nature, the compassion that arises within you is non-dual as well. Technically speaking, your dream ego and all the other dream characters are all in the same boat. You are all One, yet you are also not One. The only thing different about you and the dream characters is that you are "awake" to the truth that everything is a dream. This is what the Buddha was trying to point out to us. So if you wish to follow the Buddha's path, you must first awaken to this Prajna Paramita. Gate gate paragate parasamgate bodhi svaha..


Bel Esprit said...

Would think this is what they refer to as ' BU ER FA MEN'

Wayne said...

No, if it can be expressed with words & metaphors, then it's no longer "bu er". Look at the moon, don't look at my finger.