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The Seventh Practice of Virtue - Without Attachments - Upaya Paramita

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7. The Practice Without Attachments


The Flower Garland (Avatamsaka) Sutra says:


Children of the Buddha: What is the Bodhisattva Mahasattva’s practice that is without attachments?

Children of the Buddha: With a mind of non-attachment, these Bodhisattvas are able to enter into the countless worlds and adorn and purify these worlds with each and every thought. The mind is without attachments to these worlds. They are able to go and visit the countless Ones That Have Come who are there, reverently worshipping them and offering serving to them with countless blossoms, fragrances, chaplets, fragrant paints and oils, clothes and rare jewels, banners, canopies and other wonderful adornments. With all these countless offerings of service they abide in the completely innate, uncreated and inconceivable spirituality that is the Dharma. In each and every thought they see the countless Buddhas, but their minds have no attachments to the Buddhas, to the lands of the Buddhas, or to the major and minor signs of the Buddhas. They see the brilliant light of the Buddhas, hear them teach the Dharma, and they see the worlds of the ten directions and the hosts of Buddhas and Bodhisattvas, but they have no attachments to them either. Having heard the Buddha and the Dharma, their minds rejoice, the power of their resolve is broad and great and they are able to attend to and practice the practices of the Bodhisattvas. However in fact they have no attachment to the Buddha’s teaching of enlightenment.

For an inexpressible number of lifetimes these Bodhisattvas have seen an inexpressible number of Buddhas appearing in the world. The Bodhisattvas has served, given offerings, and worshipped each of these Buddhas for an inexpressible number of lifetimes without tiring or losing interest. They see the Buddhas teaching the Dharma, and they see hosts of Bodhisattvas assembling around them and adorning them, all without attachments. They see the impure worlds and they are also without any aversion to evil. How is this so? These Bodhisattvas observe in accordance with the teachings of the Buddha. In all of spiritual enlightenment (the Buddha Dharma - the Buddha’s teachings), there is no defilement without purity, no darkness without light, no difference without sameness, no reality without falsehood, no security without danger, and no true path without a false path. Like this, the Bodhisattvas:

Because Bodhisattva Mahasattvas are able to be without attachments like this, their minds are without any barriers or obstructions to the Buddha’s teachings. They understand the Bodhi of the Buddhas, realize the Vinaya of the Dharma, abide in the true doctrine of the Buddha, cultivate the practices of the Bodhisattvas, abide in the thoughts of the Bodhisattvas, and deliberate on the Bodhisattva’s liberated understanding. Their minds are without attachments to the of the Bodhisattvas subjects of contemplation, and they are also without attachments to the practices of the Bodhisattvas. They make the path of the Bodhisattvas pure and they receive the Bodhisattvasprophecies of enlightenment. Having attained their prophecies, they make this thought:

Ordinary people are ignorant and foolish, without knowledge or vision, without faith or understanding, and without intelligent action. They are perverse and insincere, greedy and clinging, and revolve round and round in the currents of Life & Death. Not seeking to see the Buddha, not following spiritual guides, not believing in the spiritual masters, they are mistaken, lost in confusion and they enter to the path of danger. They do no revere the Lord of the Ten Spiritual Powers and they do not understand the blessings of the Bodhisattvas. They cherish and cling to their own dwelling-places and they are startled and frightened upon hearing of emptiness. Far removed from the True Dharma, they abide in false teachings. They forsake the path that is level and even and they enter into the path that is steep and difficult. Forsaking and turning their backs on the Buddha’s intent, instead the follow and chase after the bidding of the devil. They have strong attachments to all things that exist and will not let go of them.

Having observed living beings like this, Bodhisattvas deepen their greatness of compassion and produce good spiritual roots - yet they are without attachments. Then they make this thought:

I must spend an inexpressibly countless number of lifetimes teaching and spiritually transforming each and every living being of each and every land in the ten directions without tiring or giving up.

Further they will measure the entire spiritual realm using a single tip of hair as a measuring stick, and in each and every place measured by a single tip of hair, they will instruct and spiritually influence, straighten out and subdue all living beings for an inexpressibly countless number of lifetimes. During this period they will not have any attachment to the self or have any thoughts of ego and possessions for even the time it takes to snap one’s fingers. Forever into the future, in each and every place measured with the tip of a hair, they will cultivate the practice of the Bodhisattvas without attachments to their lives, the Dharma, their remembrances, their vows, their observations, their serenity of meditation, their objects of meditation, their teachings or spiritual influence, their taming and subduing of living beings, or even their entry into the spiritual realm. How is this so? The Bodhisattvas make this thought:

I should observe that:

And they make this thought:

I must practice the Bodhisattva practice everywhere in the lands of the ten directions and throughout the empty space of the spiritual realm, clearly reaching and seeing the Buddhas without any hesitation in thought after thought.

Teaching the Dharma to spiritually influence living beings and making them rejoice with pure faith in the teaching of the Buddha, they will save and rescue each and all without getting tired or giving up. Because they do not tire or give up, if there are any living beings in the world that have not yet spiritually developed and who not yet been straightened out and subdued, they will go to them and spiritually uplift them using ways and means.

By means of their great vows, they will remain peacefully abiding among living beings and instructing and spiritually influencing them despite all of their various sounds and voices, karmic deeds, attachments, devices, harmonies, promotions, creations, objects, births and deaths. How is this so? In attaining non-attachment there is independence. Their own benefit and the benefit of others are all fulfilled with purity.

This is called the seventh practice of the Bodhisattva Mahasattvas, that without attachments.