The Surangama Sutra: Chapter Two – Section 6

Eliminating Discrimination and Revealing the Essential Bodhi

Then Manjushri, the Dharma King, who took pity on the audience, rose from his seat in the midst of the great assembly, prostrated at the Buddha’s feet, placed his palms together respectfully, and said to the Buddha, “World Honored One, all people here have not awakened to the Tathagata’s teaching about the essence of reality as being both form and emptiness and as being neither of them. We think that if causal form and emptiness were the reality, then there would be an indication of it; if they were not the reality, then there would be nothing visible to be seen. It is not that our roots from former lives are inferior or deficient, but simply we do not understand and therefore we are confused and bewildered. May the Tathagata enlighten us and reveal to us exactly what things fundamentally are, and that there is neither ‘is’ nor ‘is not’ between object and the essence of seeing.”


The Buddha told Manjushri and the great assembly, “To all Tathagatas and all great Bodhisattvas of the ten directions, who abide in the state of Samadhi, seeing and the conditions of seeing, as well as all thoughts and all forms imaginable, are like flowers in the air – fundamentally empty. This seeing and its conditions are essentially the wonderful, pure, and bright substance of Bodhi (Enlightenment). How can there be ‘is’ and ‘is not’ in it? Manjushri, take yourself as an example, I now ask you this: Is there still another Manjushri who is and is not?”


Manjushri replied: “No, World Honored One, I am the real Manjushri. There is no Manjushri who ‘is.’ If there were still another Manjushri who ‘is’ Manjushri, there would be two Manjushris. But my presence here does not mean that there ‘is no’ Manjushri either. In fact, neither the concept of ‘is’ nor the concept of ‘is not’ exists.”


The Buddha said, “And this is not only the case with seeing. Likewise, the objects (seen) and the emptiness are fundamentally the projections or manifestations of the wonderful, pure and bright Bodhi – the pure, perfect, and true mind, which tend to be falsely perceived as form and emptiness, as hearing and seeing. Just like a second moon is perceived with the misconception of real or unreal: which one ‘is’ the moon and which one ‘is not’ the moon? Manjushri, there is only one true moon, and within it there is neither a moon that ‘is’ nor a moon that ‘is not.’ Therefore, if you discern seeing and the objects seen and give rise to all kinds of mental creation, they are called false thoughts, and this act of wrong thinking will prevent you from getting out of the dual condition of ‘is’ and ‘is not.’ However, once you realize the innermost pure essence of the true Mind, you will be able to leave the dualistic state behind.”