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The Sutra Spoken on Gaya Peak

[Tohoku 109, Derge Vol. 49, 285a-292a]

In the language of India: Arya Gaya Sirsa Nama Mahayana Sutra


In the language of Tibet: phaga pa gaya mgoi ri zhes bya ba theg pa chen po
mdo
In the language of world civilization: The Noble Great Vehicle Sutra taught on
The Summit of Mount Gaya

Homage to all Buddhas and Bodhisattvas.

Thus have I once heard spoken.

Having just recently achieved the unsurpassable perfect realization of


Buddhahood, having conquered, obtained, and surpassed, at the stupa on the
summit of Mount Gaya, the Victorious One sat in the presence of a retinue of
many enlightened bodhisattvas and saints, the great monks of the community,
the entire group of 1,000 monks who were previously ascetics, who had done
what needed to be done, who had laid down their burdens, who had obtained
their goal, whose attachments to existence had been completely exhausted,
whose minds were liberated by understanding correctly, who had gone to the
sacred other shore through the power of mind.

The Virtuous One then withdrew into solitude. Having arisen from meditation,
he reflected on the field of reality itself. Since, I have obtained enlightenment,
have understood prismatic awareness, have done what needed to be done, have
laid down the burden, have crossed the solitary abyss, have cleared up
ignorance, have realized ecstatic awareness, have banished pain, have exhausted
existence, have built the raft of truth, have blown the conch of truth, have raised
the victory banner of truth, have reversed the flow of dystopian existence, have
proclaimed the way of truth, have cut off the negative path, have explained the
positive path, have reversed the negative spheres of being, and have correctly
taught the pure field of merit, therefore I should carefully examine this truth that
needs to be understood, which I have understood, and what I have understood.
What is this? Has it been attained by the body? Is it attained by the mind?

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Could it be attained by the body? But the body is inanimate, unmoving like
grass, a tree, a wall, a clod of dirt. It lacks consciousness; it is composed of the
four great elements; it arises from the blood and semen of a father and mother. It
is impermanent; it must be fed, clothed, bathed; it falls apart; it is divisible into
parts; it disintegrates into its parts.

Yet mind is like an illusion; it arises through interdependence, does not stay, is
without characteristics, is not an entity, and is without any limit. Enlightenment
is merely a name, merely a term; a linguistic convention, not analyzable, not able
to be seized, without cause, not comprehendible, not an idea, cannot be bound, is
completely beyond coming and going, completely beyond attachment,
completely beyond the three realms, not visible, not audible, not hearable, not
analyzable into particulars, has no foundation, is not observable, is uncaused,
without business, is not conceivable, cannot be examined, is without phonemes,
is not approached through words.

Since enlightenment is like that, who can fully understand it; how can one fully
understand it; what will one fully understand? All these designations are merely
names, merely marks, merely terms, just conventions. Ingenious, very skillful; it
does not arise, has no arising; is not a substance, has no substance; is without
attachment; is not teachable; is completely without passion. There is not even
anyone who is completely enlightened. There is not even anyone who will
become completely enlightened. Because enlightenment is like that, it is known
as complete enlightenment. Enlightenment does not have change, it is
changeless; it is without any characteristic. Thus he reflected to himself.

Then the youthful Manjushri prayed to the Glorious one, saying, Glorious One,
if the characteristics of enlightenment are like that, in the future, how can a son
or daughter with spiritual destiny understand that enlightenment?

The Glorious One responded, Manjushri, they should understand the


inspiration for enlightenment, for the purpose of realizing enlightenment,
according to the spirit of that enlightenment. Manjushri prayed, Glorious One,
please explain that enlightenment.

The Glorious one responded, Manjushri, enlightenment is completely beyond


the three realms; it completely transcends terminology; it completely transcends
phonemes; it totally transcends sound; it is inconceivable; from the very
beginning, it cannot be conceived. Manjushri, because it is like that, those who
wish to totally transcend, in order to be enlightened, should understand the

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inspiration for enlightenment. Manjushri, this understanding, which involves no
understanding, is the understanding of enlightenment. Manjushri,
understanding the non-existence of hindrances is understanding enlightenment.
Manjushri, understanding the presence of the reality field is understanding
enlightenment. Understanding non-attachment to all phenomena is
understanding enlightenment. Manjushri, understanding the singularity of the
reality field is understanding enlightenment. Manjushri, understanding non-
rejection and non-acceptance is understanding enlightenment. Manjushri,
understanding the fact that individualized awareness of phenomena are like an
illusion, an echo, space, the reflection of the moon in water, or a mirage, is itself
understanding enlightenment.

Then the Devaputra (son of god) named Majesty of Stainless Moon, Light of
Light Rays, said to the youthful Manjushri, Manjushri, what is the practice of
the bodhisattvas and where do they reside? Manjushri replied, The practice of
great bodhisattvas is great compassion. They live among sentient beings.

Manjushri, how does one collect the great compassion of the bodhisattvas?
Manjushri said, Devaputra, the great compassion of the bodhisattvas is amassed
by not wavering.

Manjushri, how is non-wavering garnered? Manjushri said, Devaputra, the


non-wavering of the bodhisattvas is garnered by a mind that is the same toward
all sentient beings.

Manjushri, how does one garner a mind that is the same toward all beings?
Manjushri said, Devaputra, the mind of the bodhisattvas that is the same
toward all sentient beings is garnered by not being or having distinctions.

Manjushri, how does one garner a mind that is not and has not distinction?
Manjushri said, The bodhisattvas mind that is not and has not distinctions is
garnered by thinking and higher thinking.

Manjushri, through what do thinking and higher thinking arise? Manjushri


said, Thinking and higher thinking of the bodhisattvas arises due to being
inspired to wake up.

Manjushri, how does the aspiration to awaken arise? Manjushri said,


Devaputra, the enlightenment mind of the bodhisattvas arises through the six
transcendent practices.

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Manjushri, how do the six transcendent practices arise? Devaputra, the
skillful means and treanscendnet insight of the bodhisattvas arise because of
conscientiousness. Manjushri, how does conscientiousness arise? Devaputra,
the conscientiousness of the bodhisattvas arises through the three excellent
activities [body, speech, and mind]. Manjushri, how do the three excellent
activities arise? Devaputra, the three excellent activities arise through the path
of ten virtuous actions. Manjushri, how does the path of the ten virtuous
actions arise? Devaputra, the bodhisattvas path of the ten virtuoius actions
arises through commitment. Manjushri, how does commitment arise?
Devaputra, commitment arises because of a refined mind. Manjushri, how
does a refined mind arise? Devaputra, a refined mind arises because of
individual ideas. Manjushri, how do individual ideas arise? Devaputra, the
bodhisattvas individual ideas arise through mindfulness.

[How to Develop the Aspiration for Enlightenment]

Manjushri, how does one amass the causes and results of the bodhisattvas
altruistic intention? Devaputra, the causes and results of the bodhisattvas
altruistic intention are gathered by four means. What are the four? Initially by
wishing, then by connection with activities, irreversibly, and when limited to one
more birth. Of those, the first, altruistic intention is the cause of connection with
activity. Connection with activity is the cause of irreversibility. Irreversibility is
the cause of being limited to one more birth. Being limited to one more birth is
the cause for connecting with the result.

Devaputra, for example, the initial aspiration for enlightenment is like sowing a
seed. The inspiration that connects with activity is like a sprout emerging from
the seed. The inspiration for enlightenment that is irreversible is like the arising
of the trunk, leaves, flowers, and baby fruit. The inspiration for enlightenment
limited to one more birth is the like the fully ripened fruit.

Devaputra, another example: the inspiration for enlightenment is like the


knowledge of a chariot maker who gathers raw materials. The inspiration for
enlightenment that connects with activity is like the chariot makers skill in
fabricating parts. The irreversible inspiration for enlightenment is like
assembling the chariots parts. The inspiration for enlightenment limited to one
more birth is like knowing how to load and transport burdens.

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Devaputra, another illustration: the inspiration for enlightenment is like the
moons first waxing circle. The inspiration for enlightenment that connects with
practice is like the disk of the moon on the 5th, 6th, and 7th days. The irreversible
inspiration for enlightenment is like the moon the 10th day. The inspiration for
enlightenment limited to one more birth is like the orb of the moon on the 14th
day. The timeless awareness of the one who conquered the enemies, developed
the potential, and went beyond duality is like the orb or the moon on evening of
the 15th day.

Devaputra, the first inspiration for enlightenment well transcends the level of a
beginning listener. The second inspiration well transcends the level of a solitary
recluse. The third inspiration for enlightenment well transcends the level of
uncertainty. The fourth inspiration for enlightenment lives in the security of
certainty.

Devaputra, the initial inspiration for enlightenment is like learning the alphabet.
The second inspiration for enlightenment that connects with practice is like
learning grammar and semantics. The irreversible inspiration for enlightenment
is like learning the derivations, relationships, and connotations of the language.
The inspiration for enlightenment that is limited to one more birth is like
applying knowledge of the language to comprehending texts.

Devaputra, the initial inspiration for enlightenment comes from a cause. The
second inspiration comes from wisdom. The third inspiration for enlightenment
comes from abandonment. The fourth inspiration for enlightenment connects
with the result.

Deveputra, furthermore, the initial inspiration for enlightenment is taken up via


a cause. The second inspiration for enlightenment is taken up out of wisdom. The
third inspiration for enlightenment is achieved through abandonment. The
fourth inspiration for enlightenment is claimed by the result.

Devaputra, furthermore, the initial inspiration for enlightenment correctly


arises from a cause. The second inspiration for enlightenment properly arises
from wisdom. The third inspiration for enlightenment surely arises from
abandoning. The fourth inspiration for enlightenment arises from the result.

Devaputra, furthermore, the initial inspiration for enlightenment is the well


distinguished section [of texts] on causes (classic discipline). The second
inspiration for enlightenment is the well-distinguished section on wisdom

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(transcendent practices). The third inspiration for enlightenment is the well
distinguished section on abandonment (the flow of tantra). The fourth
inspiration for enlightenment is the well-distinguished section on the result (the
level homeland of ati).

Devaputra, the initial inspiration for enlightenment is like a method for


gathering medicines. The second inspiration for enlightenment is like mastering
medical classification. The third inspiration for enlightenment is like knowing
how to prescribe medicines. The fourth inspiration for enlightenment knows the
method of inner healing.

Devaputra, the first inspiration for enlightenment is like being born into a life
wherein the Buddhas lineage flows. The second inspiration for enlightenment is
like the correctly understanding the training of the Buddha lineage. The third
inspiration for enlightenment is like thoroughly completing the training of the
Buddha lineage. The fourth inspiration for enlightenment achieves the power
that arises from training in the Buddha lineage.

[The Path of the Vanguard (bodhisattvas): Means and Wisdom]

Then the Devaputra, Light of Light Rays that Surely Shine, said to the youthful
Manjushri, Manjushri, what about the path of the bodhisattvas who are
completely awakened and who have quickly achieved peerless enlightenment on
the bodhisattvas path?

Manjushri said, Devaputra, the path of the bodhisattvas, explained briefly, is


twofold. For those following the twofold path of bodhisattvas, the completely
enlightened awakening quickly becomes the peerless enlightenment. If asked
what are the two, they are transcendent ingenuity and transcendent insight.
Ingenuity is skill in accumulating, insight totally severs. Ingenuity acknowledges
beings, insight does not acknowledge beings or tangibles. Ingenuity knows how
to apply the teachings, insight knows freedom. Ingenuity understands how to
observe causes, insight liberates contaminated causes. Ingenuity knows how to
distinguish phenomena, insight understands the reality fields singularity.
Ingenuity understands the ornamentations of the Buddhafields, insight knows
the nondual sameness of the Buddha fields. Ingenuity understands the activities
and capabilities of beings, insight understands observed beings to be unreal.
Ingenuity knows how to attain enlightened ornamentation, insight understands
that all manifest phenomena are completely Buddha phenomena.

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Devaputra, furthermore, briefly, the path is twofold. If asked, what two: the
path of accumulation and the path of complete severance. Thus, the path of
accumulation is the five transcendent virtuous practices. The path of complete
severance is transcendent insight.

Furthermore, in brief, the path is twofold: the path with desire and the path
without desire. The path with design is that of the five transcendent practices.
The path lacking desire is that of transcendent insight.

Furthermore, in brief, the path is twofold. If asked, what two: the contaminated
path and the uncontaminated path.. The contaminated path is that of the five
transcendent practices. The uncontaminated path is that of transcendent insight.

Furthermore, in brief, the path is twofold. If asked, what two: the path that can
be measured and the immeasurable path. The measurable path is namable. The
immeasurable path remains nameless.

Furthermore, in brief, the path is twofold. If asked, what two: the path of
knowledge and the path of abandonment. The path of knowledge is from the
first tier to the seventh tier. The path of abandonment is from the eighth tier to
the tenth tier.

{Truth Distinguished from Timeless Awareness]

Then the bodhisattva, the great hero Jnanasiddhi, said to the youthful Manjushri,
Manjushri, since a bodhisattva, a great beaing is like that, how does one
distinguish the level of truth? Since it is like that, how does one distinguish the
level of timeless awareness? Manjushri said, Child of a good family, the truth
cannot be possessed. Timeless awareness can be possessed.

Manjushri said, Child of a good family, the truth cannot be accumulated.


Understand that whatever phenomena there may be, can neither be possessed
nor not possessed. If asked why is that? The truth is characterized by not
changing. Understand that it is the phenomena that cannot be possessed. The
truth, because it cannot be originally, fully realized, should be understood as a
phenomena that cannot be possessed. The truth, because it cannot be discarded
or hoarded, should be understood as not being a phenomena that can or cannot
be possessed. So-called timeless awareness is the path. The path is properly
subsumed within mind, it is not not possessed. Child of a good family, because
of that, timeless awareness is said to be possessed, not not possessed. Timeless

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awareness is properly possessed within abandonment, and not not possessed.
Child of a good family, because of that, timeless awareness is said to be
possessed and not not possessed. So-called timeless awareness the
conglomerations, cognizes the experiential environments, cognizes the sense
fields, cognizes the matrix of causation, and cognizes the analysis what is and is
not (released). Child of the lineage, because of that, timeless awareness is said to
be possessed and not not possessed.

[The Sets of Bodhisattva Traits]

Child of the lineage, furthermore, bodhisattvas, great beings have ten types of
knowledge. If asked, what ten, they are as follows:

1. Knowledge of causes
2. Knowledge of results
3. Knowledge of significances
4. Knowledge of ingenuity
5. Knowledge of transcendent insight
6. Knowledge of accumulation
7. Knowledge of transcendent virtuous practices
8. Knowledge of great compassion
9. Knowledge of how to fully mature beings
10. Knowledge of actual non-design toward all phenomena

Child of a good family, these are the ten types of knowledge of bodhisattvas,
great beings.

Child of a good family, bodhisattvas, great beings have ten accomplishments. If


asked, what ten, they are:

1. The accomplishment of the body, due to fully disciplining the actions of


the bodies of all beings
2. The accomplishment of speech, due to fully disciplining the action of the
speech of all beings.
3. The accomplishment of mind, due to fully disciplining the mental actions
of all beings.
4. The inner accomplishment, due to the actual non-existence of manifest
desire toward all beings.
5. The outer accomplishment, due to seeing all beings as equal.

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6. The accomplishment of transcendent insight, due to completely perfecting
the transcendent insight of a Buddha.
7. The accomplishment of a Buddhafield, due to pointing out to all the array
of qualities of all Buddhafields.
8. The accomplishment of being able to completely mature being, due to
being able to fully know the inner healing of obscurations.
9. The accomplishment of suchness, due to fully perfecting the mass of
certainty.
10. The accomplishment of being able to fully protect unconditional
transcendent insight, due to not manifesting mental desire toward
anything within the three realms.

Child of a good family, these are the ten types of accomplishment of great-
minded bodhisattvas.

Child of a good family, furthermore, great-minded bodhisattvas have ten


applications. If asked, what ten, they are:

1. The application of transcendent virtuous practices.


2. The application of social activity.
3. The application of insight.
4. The application of ingenuity.
5. The application of great compassion.
6. The application of full exertion toward collecting merit.
7. The application of full exertion toward collecting transcendent insight.
8. The application that purifies thought.
9. The application that discriminates the aspects of truth.
10. The application that is without manifest desire toward all that appears
attractive or ugly.

Child of a good family, these are the ten applications of great-minded


bodhisattvas.

Child of a good family, furthermore, great-minded bodhisattvas have ten


realizations of non-exhaustion. If asked, what ten, they are:

1. The realization that the body is not exhausted.


2. The realization that things are not exhausted.
3. The realization that truths are not exhausted.
4. The realization that lives are not exhausted.

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5. The realization that perspectives are not exhausted.
6. The realization that the collections (of merit and wisdom) are not
exhausted.
7. The realization that opportunities (for helping others) are not exhausted.
8. The realization that non-existent manifest desires are not exhausted.
9. The realization that the gatherings of disciples are not exhausted.
10. The realization that knowledge of the essence of enlightenment is not
exhausted.

Child of a good family, these are the ten realizations about non-exhaustion of
great-minded bodhisattvas.

Child of a good family, furthermore, great-minded bodhisattvas subdue ten


things. If it is asked, what ten, they are:

1. Subduing avarice by letting fall the rain of charity.


2. Subduing evil by fully purifying the body, speech, and mind.
3. Subduing malice by meditating on love.
4. Subduing laziness by fully seeking the teachings of Buddha.
5. Subduing the unvirtuous mind with the magic trick of concentration and
liberation.
6. Subduing ignorance by applying the finality of transcendent insight.
7. Subduing obscurations with remembrance of the path
8. Subduing (the errant mind) by amassing truths on the correct path.
9. Subduing the mind with time and lack of time.
10. Subduing the self by realizing the truth of no self.

Child of a good family, these are the ten things subdued by great-minded
bodhisattvas.

Child of a good family, furthermore there are ten levels of discipline. If asked,
what ten, they are:

1. Corporal discipline, by fully abandoning the three non-virtuous physical


actions.
2. Speech discipline, by fully abandoning the four non-virtuous speech acts.
3. Mental discipline, by fully abandoning the three non-virtuous thoughts.
4. Inner discipline, where one does not desire their own body.
5. External discipline, where manifest desire toward external objects
dissipates.

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6. Discipline without manifest desire toward pristine awareness, whereby
one does not have manifest desire toward the path.
7. The discipline that eulogizes ones self, by which one conceives the noble
stages.
8. The discipline that fully purifies to the limits of the external world, the
method of transcendent insight.
9. The discipline of perfect phrasing, whereby one does not deceive sentient
beings.
10. The discipline without any set attitude toward mind and body, by which
one manifests the great compassion that fully ripens all beings.

Child of a good family, these are the ten levels of discipline of great-minded
bodhisattvas.

Child of a good family, furthermore, enlightenment belongs to bodhisattvas


who actually practice the inner part, not to those who practice incorrectly. Those
who practice the inner way, will do as I have said. Rote knowledge is not right
attainment. Few real bodhisattvas practice the inner way.

{The Accomplishments of Bodhisattvas]

Child of a good family, furthermore, great-minded bodhisattvas have two kinds


of success, If asked, what two, they are:

1. Success on the path.


2. Success in abandonment.

Child of a good family, these are the two successes of great-minded bodhisattvas.

Child of a good family, furthermore, great-minded bodhisattvas have two


attainments. If asked, what two, they are:

1. The attainment of self discipline


2. The attainment that fully matures beings.

Child of a good family, these are the two attainments of great-minded


bodhisattvas.

Child of a good family, great-minded bodhisattvas have two other


accomplishments. If asked, what two, they are:

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1. The accomplishment of knowledge due to exertion.
2. The accomplishment due to spontaneously accomplished pristine
awareness.

Child of a good family, these are the two accomplishments of great-minded


bodhisattvas.

Child of a good family, great-minded bodhisattvas have two achievements. If


asked, what two, they are:

1. Achieving wisdom distinguishing the levels.


2. Achieving wisdom about the non-duality of the levels.

Child of a good family, these are the two achievements of great-minded


bodhisattvas.

Child of a good family, further great-minded bodhisattvas have two more


attainments. If asked, what two, they are:

1. Attainment that abandons the limits of the levels.


2. Attainment that knows how to ascend the levels in stages.

Child of a good family, these are two attainments of great-minded bodhisattvas.

Child of a good family, further great-minded bodhisattvas have two more


accomplishments. If asked, what two, they are:

1. Accomplishing the way of learners and recluses.


2. Accomplishing the awareness that never regresses from the enlightenment
of Buddha.

Child of a good family, the accomplishments of the great-minded bodhisattvas


are like these. Great-minded bodhisattvas must be earnest in these
accomplishments. Child of a good family, via these accomplishments, great-
minded bodhisattvas achieve the unexcelled complete enlightenment without
difficulty.

Then the Buddha said to glorious Manjushri, Manjushri, you have well spoken
these words. After the Buddha had spoken, Manjushri, the gods, men, non-

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humans, and fairies of the planet were ecstatic. The Buddha praised what was
said.

The Noble Summit of Mt. Gaya, a Great Vehicle Sutra, is finished.

Translated, edited, revised, and proofread by the Indian Master Surendrabodhi


and the great translator-editor, Bande Yeshe-sde

Translated into English in 1984 as an offering to Tarthang Tulku Rinpoche, whose


guru, Jamyang Khyentse Chokyi Lodro said this was a very important Mahayana
text. Revised in 2015. May all beings benefit by being able to read this sutra in the
language of world civilization.

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