Emptiness

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Then at that time the Tathagata spoke these verses:

In numerous other inconceivable sutras, I have expounded empty phenomena in detail. Hence, here in this supreme sutra empty phenomena I will just briefly explain.

As beings of slight intelligence, ignorant, are incapable of knowing all things, hence, here in this supreme sublime sutra empty phenomena are explained only in brief.

So that all beings may certainly know, so they may be delivered from cyclic existence, through compassionate ways, methods and other means, I have expounded this supreme sublime sutra.

The body is like an empty village or house; senses are like soldiers and thieves. Although they live in the same village, they are unaware of each other.

The eye sense runs after forms; the ear sense indulges in sounds; the nose sense captures numerous smells; the tongue sense always hunts tastes; the body sense pursues tactile sensations; and the mental sense grasps at phenomena.

These six individual senses are each absorbed in their objects. The mind is capricious as an illusion – its six senses thoroughly engrossed – like a man who runs to an empty village and resides there among soldiers and thieves.

The mind dwells in the six objects and fully knows the objects of the senses; therefore, the mind resides in six objects and fully knows the objects of sense engagement.

Forms, sounds and likewise smells, tastes, tactiles and phenomena, the mind in motion, like a bird in flight, in all six, enters the sense faculties. In whatever sense it abides, it lends that sense its knowing nature.

The body, like a machine in an empty village, is without motion and completely without action. Lacking core essence, it arises from conditions; arising from concepts, it lacks inherent nature.

Earth, water, fire and wind, abiding separately in different parts, like deadly snakes in the same den, are ever in conflict with each other.

Of these four snakes of the elements, two move up and two move down. Moving by twos in directions and sub-directions, these snakes of the elements will surely perish.

The earth snake and the water snake, perish down below; the fire snake and wind snake, ascend to the space above.

Due to actions done in the past, the mind and consciousness depart from their abodes. Gods, humans and three lower migrators are born in existence according to deeds done.

At death, when phlegm, wind and bile have been exhausted, the body is filled with urine and foul matter. Not pleasant, it becomes a heap of worms discarded like wood at the charnel ground.

Behold these things, O goddess: here, beings, persons and likewise phenomena are empty. Due to ignorance, they arise.

These great elements have no great origination. Originating from the unoriginated, they lack origination. Since that which originates does not originate, I have called them the great elements. They do not exist and do not ever exist. Due to ignorance, they come into being.

Ignorance itself does not exist. Thus, I have called it ignorance. Action, consciousness, name and form, the six sources, contact, feeling, craving, grasping and existence too, birth, aging and death, sorrows and afflictions – these comprise the twelve links of dependent origination.

The inconceivable sufferings of cyclic existence as they operate in the wheel of life have originated from the unoriginated; thus, they are without origination, free from discursive, conceptual thought.

Cut the view of self existence; sever the net of afflictions; brandish the sword of knowledge; behold the abode of aggregates as empty; in this way, enlightenment shall be reached.

I have opened the door to the city of nectar and thoroughly entered into its abode. I have utterly revealed the vessel of nectar; with its juice I have been filled.

I have beaten the sublime drum of the Dharma. I have blown Dharma’s supreme conch. I have rained a sublime shower of Dharma. I have ignited Dharma’s supreme torch.

I conquered the potent enemy, the afflictions, and hoisted Dharma’s victory banner high. I rescued beings from the ocean of existence and sealed the path of the three lower realms.

For beings scorched by the fire of affliction, without support or cooperative forces, I soothed those burned by delusion’s flame and with nectar juice satisfied such beings.

For inconceivably many eons I venerated inconceivably many buddhas. Fervently seeking dharmakaya, resolute in my vows, I engaged in bodhisattva deeds:

I gave my hands, eyes and legs, the supreme part, the head, beloved daughters and sons, crystals, gems, pearls, ornaments and gold, lapis and various jewels.

A person might cut and chop all that grows on this earth, bushes and trees, grasses and forests in all the triple thousand worlds.

If he ground them to powder and reduced them to dust, a mound reaching the end of space could be built and split into three parts.

If knowledge of all the dust on earth – infinite units of triple thousand world spheres – was bestowed upon just one being, that being would be extremely superior. Possessed of exalted wisdom, he might count all those particles in that mound of dust, but the extent of the Conqueror’s knowledge cannot be known.

Even in countless tens of millions of eons the vitality of just a single moment of the Conqueror’s omniscient wisdom cannot be measured or gauged.

This ends the sixth chapter, the Chapter on Emptiness, from the King of Glorious Sutras, the Sublime Golden Light.

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