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Suchness and Rebirth

To: alt.zen
Subject: Re: Suchness and Rebirth
Date: 49941116

[From the Diamond Sutra, which along with the Heart Sutra is
part of the much larger Prajnaparamita Sutra, probably the
oldest text of the Mahayana canon.  The Sixth Patriarch, Hui
Neng, wrote in his autobiography (a.k.a. the Platform Sutra)
that he  became enlightened when he first heart the words of the
Diamond Sutra.  This is section 9, "Real Designation Is

[The Buddha is speaking.]

Subhuti, what do you think? Does a disciple who has entered the
stream of the holy life say within himself,  "I obtain the fruit
of a stream entrant?"

Subhuti said: No, World-Honored One, because 'stream entrant '
is merely a name; there is no stream entering. The disciple who
pays no regard to form, sound, odor, taste, touch, or any
quality is called a stream entrant..

Subhuti, what do you think? Does an adept who is subject to only
one more rebirth say to himself, 'I obtain the fruit of a

Subhuti said: No, World-Honored One.  "Once-to-be-reborn" is
merely a name. There is no passing away nor coming into
existence. The adept who realizes this is called

Subhuti, what do you think? Does a venerable one who will never
more be reborn as a mortal say to himself, "I obtain the fruit
of a nonreturner?"

Subhuti said: No, World-Honored One. Because "nonreturner" is
merely a name;  there is no nonreturning; hence the designation,

Subhuti, what do you think? Does a holy one say to  himself, "I
have obtained perfect enlightenment?"

Subhuti said: No, World-Honored One. Because if a holy one of
perfect enlightenment said to himself, "Such am I," he would
necessarily partake of the idea of an ego entity, a personality,
a being, or a separated individuality.   

Subhuti continued: When the Buddha declares that I excel among
holy men in the yoga of perfect quiescence,  in dwelling in
seclusion, and in freedom from passions, I do not say within
myself, "I am a holy one of perfect enlightenment, free from
passions. If I said to myself, "Such am I," you would not
declare, "Subhuti finds happiness abiding in peace, in seclusion
in the midst of the forest." This is because Subhuti abides
nowhere; therefore he is called "Subhuti, Joyful Abider in
Peace, Dweller in Seclusion in the Forest."

[The Buddha is often called by the title Tathagata, which
roughly translates into "thus, come," or "he who is such." This
is the Diamond Sutra,  section 29, "Perfect Tranquillity"]

Subhuti, if anyone should say that the Tathagata comes or goes
or sits or reclines, he fails to understand my teaching. Why?
Because Tathagata has neither whence nor whither, therefore is
he called "Tathagata."

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