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Words of Wisdom

Selection from The Mahayana Mahaparinirvana Sutra: Chapter 15 – On the Parable of the Moon, Part 2 of 2

2020-12-10
Language:English

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We will continue with Chapter 15 of The Mahayana Mahaparinirvana Sutra – On the Parable of the Moon, where Buddha will further reveal to us more enlightening tales featuring the moon, stars and sun. “‘It is the same with the Tathagata. In order to guide us, He gives beings restrictions. So one should try to act in accordance with those restrictions and not contrary to them. For those people of the five deadly sins, for those slandering Wonderful Dharma, for the icchantika, and for those who may do such deeds in days to come, He manifests such. All this is for the days after the Buddha’s death, for the bhiksus to know that these are important points in the sutras, these are the heavy and light aspects of the precepts, these, the passages of the Abhidharma which are weighty and not weighty. This is to enable them to be like the doctor’s son.’” “‘Also, next, O good man! Beings take delight, for example, in seeing the bright moon. That is why we call the moon “that which is pleasing to see”. If beings possess greed, malevolence and ignorance, there can be no pleasure in such seeing. The same with the Tathagata. The Tathagata’s nature is pure, good, clean and undefiled. This is what is most pleasing to behold. Beings who are in harmony with Dharma will not shun such seeing; those with evil minds are not pleased by such seeing. Hence we say that the Tathagata is like the bright moon.’” “‘Also, next, O good man! For example, when the sun rises, all the mist disperses. The situation is the same regarding this Great Nirvana Sutra. If one should once give ear to it, all ill and the karma of avichi hell will die out. Nobody can fathom what obtains in this Great Nirvana, which expounds the hidden store of the nature of the Tathagata. For this reason, good men and women entertain the thought that the Tathagata is eternal, that he does not change, that Dharma does not cease to be, and that the Sangha Treasure does not die out. Hence, we should employ means, make effort, and learn this sutra. Such a person, in the course of time, will attain unsurpassed enlightenment. That is why this sutra is said to contain innumerable virtues, and is also called one that knows no end of enlightenment. Because of this endlessness, we can say Mahaparinirvana. The light of Good shines as in the sun’s days. As it is boundless, we say Great Nirvana.’”
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