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The Sixth Practice of Virtue - The Practice of Spiritual Presence - Prajna Paramita

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6. The Practice of the Spiritual Presence (Insight)

Uddha pi.jpg

The Flower Garland (Avatamsaka) Sutra says:


Children of the Buddha: What is the Bodhisattva Mahasattva’s practice of spiritual presence?

The actions of these Bodhisattvas are all pure in thought, word and deed. They abide in them with nothing to gain, and reveal that they have nothing to gain through their thoughts, words and deeds. They are able to understand that their thoughts, words and deeds do not exist in any place. In being without false designs, they are without any binds and fetters. They are revealed to be devoid of any nature of self and depend upon nothing else. Abiding in reality as-it-is, they understand that the intrinsic nature of the limitless mind and all things spiritual is unattainable, beyond all aspects and appearances, and very deep and difficult to enter into. Although they abide in the true rank that is the nature of spirituality and absolute reality as-it-is, with ways and means they appear to be born - yet they are beyond karma and retribution. Being neither born nor extinguished, they abide in the realm of Nirvana. The nature of absolute reality is a serenity and stillness that is devoid of any nature of self. Beyond the way of words and language, it transcends this world and depends upon nothing else. Entering into spirituality free from discriminations, fetters and attachments, these Bodhisattvas enter into the highest spiritual wisdom that is absolute reality. They enter into the spirituality that is beyond this world and cannot be known by those who are only of this world, and yet these Bodhisattvas present and manifest the signs of their life in this world skillfully with ways and means.

These Bodhisattvas make this thought:

With this being so, Bodhisattvas understand that all things spiritual are very deep, that all worlds are serene and still, and that all of spiritual enlightenment (Buddha Dharma - the Buddha’s teaching) adds nothing to it. Spiritual enlightenment is nothing different from the reality of the world, and the reality of the world is nothing different from spiritual enlightenment. The reality of enlightenment and the reality of the world are neither mixed up nor distinguished separately. Thoroughly understanding the embodiment, the nature and the equanimity of the spiritual realm, the Bodhisattvas enter into the past, present and future everywhere without losing or becoming detached from the great Bodhi mind. They never turn and retreat from the work of spiritually influencing living beings, further increasing the great mind of kindness and compassion, and giving all living beings a place of refuge.

At this time the Bodhisattvas again make this thought:

Further they make this thought:

If I understand this very deep Dharma for myself, only I as a single person will attain the liberation of the supreme universal enlightenment. Living beings will still remain in the darkness, blind without eyes to see, entering into the path of danger, tied up in emotional distress, and like very sick people who are forever feeling pain and suffering. Imprisoned by their own greed and attachments, they will be unable to escape it. Not free of the realms of hell, hunger, brutality and King Yama, they will be unable to extinguish their sufferings. Not renouncing the commission of evil deeds, they will forever remain in a place of darkness and ignorance. Not seeing the absolute truth, the wheel of Life & Death will turn and they will be unable to escape to freedom. Dwelling in the eight hardships and attached to a host of defilements, there will be a variety of emotional troubles that will shroud and obstruct their minds. Confused by false views, they will not walk on the path that is straight and true.

Having observed living beings like this, the Bodhisattvas will make this thought:

If these living beings are not yet spiritually developed, and not yet straightened out or subdued, I must not abandon them and become attached to the realization of the supreme universal enlightenment. I must first spiritual transform these living beings, and walk the path of the Bodhisattvas for an indescribable number of lifetimes. Those that are not yet spiritually developed must be made to develop. Those that are not straightened out and subdued must be straightened out and subdued.

When they abide in this Bodhisattva practice, and the Gods, Devils, Sramaneras (ascetics), Brahmans (priests), Gandharvas, Asuras or others of the world get to see them, be with them, reverently worship them, serve them, make offerings to them, or even briefly have them in mind, their deeds will not be in vain and they will surely attain supreme universal enlightenment.

This is called the sixth practice of the Bodhisattva Mahasattvas, that of the spiritual presence.