Summary: The Diamond Sutra, also known as the Lightning Strike Sutra, reveals the paradoxical clarity of the awakened Self, and enables the attainment of the merit which entitles us to dream a perfect world.
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“The venerable Subhuti asks the Buddha, ‘Bhagavan, will there be any beings in the future, in the final epoch, in the final period, in the final 500 years of the dharma ending age, who will give birth to a perception of the truth of the words of a sutra such as that which is spoken here?’”
Alright? So that’s the question: at the end of time, will there be anyone left with the capacity to think, and to understand a message as subtle and paradoxical as this one? And the point being that the level of intelligence, the level of clarity, the level of attunement to the highest vibrational frequencies, gets weaker and weaker through time, and through the entropic process that affects the quantum wave functions. And so the question is a very astute one, because if you still had people who could understand that, would the world have fallen to the level that it is at right now, at the end of that 500 year final period that we are now in?
But the Buddha says, “Subhuti, do not ask a question like will there be any beings in the final epoch who give birth to a perception of the truth of the words of a sutra such as that spoken here? Surely, in the future there will be fearless bodhisattvas who are capable, virtuous, and wise, who give birth to a perception of the truth of the words of a sutra such as that spoken here. Indeed, Subhuti such fearless bodhisattvas will have honored not just one Buddha, and they will have planted auspicious roots before not just one, but such fearless bodhisattvas will have honored countless hundreds and thousands of Buddhas, and they will have planted auspicious roots before countless hundreds and thousands of Buddhas. In the words of a sutra such as that spoken here, they are sure to gain perfect clarity of mind.’”
Interesting, the Sanskrit is eka chitta so it’s not just perfect clarity of mind, but it’s the realization of the one Mind, because that alone is perfect clarity.
“The Tathagata knows them, Subhuti.” This is very interesting: the Tathagata knows them, the ones in the future, “by means of his Buddha knowledge. And the Tathagata sees them by means of his Buddha vision. The Tathagata is aware of them, for they all produce and receive a measureless, infinite body of merit.”
So, are you aware that the Tathagata is viewing you, is seeing you now? The Buddha Mind, the intelligence—and Buddha here is an equivalent of Shiva—the Mind, the one Self, is gazing upon you. And why? Because you are those who have honored all of the buddhas of the past. Because the oldest souls at the end of time are the ones who will awaken and return to their original nature by honoring the Source of all buddhas, the Absolute Intelligence. And by honoring that Absolute Intelligence, by idealizing that Intelligence and making it your ideal, your one thought, your one intention, your one yearning, your one understanding of who you are—that turns you into a bodhisattva who is destined to become a buddha at the end of the age.
So this is very interesting because of what it is that is required to attain the bodhisattva stature or status. And that’s in the next paragraph.
“‘And how so?’ ‘Because Subhuti, these fearless bodhisattvas do not create the perception of a self,’” in other words, an ego. “’Nor do they create the perception of a being, a life or a soul. Nor do these fearless bodhisattvas create the perception of a dharma, much less the perception of no dharma. Subhuti, they do not create a perception, nor no perception.’”
So this is the ideal that must be attained: the recognition that all that is objectively perceived is a dream, an illusion, a momentary and impermanent temporal series of forms that are in a flux. And they have various shelf lives, but most are very quickly appearing and disappearing. And as we get to the end of the cycle, those appearances and disappearances become more sudden and even more shocking—people die suddenly, people leave suddenly—extreme things happen: things disappear, money becomes worthless. Everything you thought was reality and normality is gone up in smoke. And so the bodhisattva is one who was never trapped in believing in any of that, and therefore not affected when it disappears. And this is the bodhisattva’s victory over illusion. The bodhisattva is the one who knows that they do not exist, they are not real as a being in a world. They do not identify with a body, or with an ego, or even with a soul, or with a life because they recognize that there is only awareness. And only awareness remains, abides beyond time and space, and is deathless. But it’s deathless because it’s never born, it never comes into the world. There may be an illusion of identification with the body, but that identification is false. The consciousness is the witness of the character that it has identified with, but is not that character.
And so it is that realization which brings salvation from the fear of disappearing in death, and from all of the suffering that happens to those beings who do identify as a body, and all of their clinging and weakness, and feeling of neediness and helplessness, and desire and demand, and guilt and shame, and the projection and demonization of others, and the blaming of others and oneself for one’s lack of happiness. All of that is shed by the bodhisattva.
And so, if we think about all of the characters we have just been analyzing in the Ramayana, the most important character who becomes the bodhisattva very clearly is the character that has least dramatic volatility. The most important character in the Ramayana is Lakshman. Because Lakshman signifies the ideal of Rama. That ideal is taken in mimetically, but also intellectually, so that that ideal becomes activated, mobilized, and it is that power, then, that is able to make one who has been identified as a human by taking that in, becomes divinized. And that is the secret of transformation.