THE DIAMOND OF

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T HE D IAMONDOFP ERFECT W ISDOMS UTRA金剛般若波羅蜜經

Translated by the Chung Tai Translation CommitteeJanuary 2009From the Chinese translation byTripitaka Master Kumarajiva, 5th CenturyThe following prior English translations were used as references: “TheDiamond Sutra” by Charles Muller, “The Vajra Prajna Paramita Sutra” bythe Buddhist Text Translation Society, “The Diamond Sutra: Transformingthe Way We Perceive the World” by Mu Soeng, “The Diamond Sutra” by A.F. Price, and “The Diamond Sutra: The Perfection of Wisdom” by Red Pine.The Chung Tai Translation Committee comprises of Dharma Masters and laydisciples and convenes regularly. To view or download other sutratranslations by CTTC, visit “Dharma Gems” on http://sunnyvale.ctzen.org.Comments and suggestions may be sent to [email protected]

Namo Fundamental Teacher Shakyamuni Buddha南無本師釋迦牟尼佛(3 times)( 三 稱 )Sutra Opening VerseThe Dharma, infinitely profound and subtle,Is rarely encountered even in a million kalpas.Now we are able to hear, study, and follow it,May we fully realize the Tathagata’s truemeaning.開經偈無 上 甚 深 微 妙 法百 千 萬 劫 難 遭 遇我 今 見 聞 得 受 持願 解 如 來 真 實 義

The Diamond of Perfect Wisdom SutraThe Diamond of Perfect Wisdom Sutra金剛般若波羅蜜經Chinese translation by Tripitaka Master Kumarajiva姚秦三藏法師鳩摩羅什 譯1. Convocation of the AssemblyThus I have heard. Once, the Buddha was staying in theAnathapindada’s Park at Jeta Grove in Shravasti, with acommunity of 1,250 bhiksus. When it was mealtime, the WorldHonored One put on his robe, took his alms-bowl, and went intothe great city of Shravasti, going from house to house to beg forfood. This done, he returned to his abiding place, finished themeal, put away his robe and bowl, washed his feet, arranged hisseat, and sat down.法會因由分第一如是我聞 一時佛在舍衛國 祇樹給孤獨園 與大比丘眾 千二百五十人俱 爾時世尊食時 著衣持缽 入舍衛大城乞食 於其城中 次第乞已 還至本處 飯食訖 收衣缽 洗足已 敷座而坐 2. Subhuti Requests the TeachingThen, the elder Subhuti in the assembly arose from his seat,bared his right shoulder, knelt on his right knee with his palmsjoined, and respectfully addressed the Buddha: “Howremarkable, World Honored One, that the Tathagata is evermindful of bodhisattvas, protecting and instructing them well!World Honored One, when good men and good women resolveto attain unsurpassed complete enlightenment (anuttara-samyaksambodhi), how should they abide their mind, and how should theysubdue their thoughts?”1

The Diamond of Perfect Wisdom SutraThe Buddha said, “Excellent! Excellent! Subhuti, it is as you havesaid. The Tathagata is ever-mindful of bodhisattvas, protecting andinstructing them well. Now listen attentively, and I shall explainit for you: Good men and good women who resolve to attainunsurpassed complete enlightenment should thus abide andsubdue their thoughts.” The Venerable Subhuti said: “Yes,World Honored One. We are listening with great 提 在大眾中 即從座起 偏袒右肩 右膝著地 合掌恭敬 而白佛言 希有世尊 如來善護念諸菩薩 善付囑諸菩薩 世尊 善男子 善女人 發阿耨多羅三藐三菩提心 云何應住 云何降伏其心 佛言 善哉善哉 須菩提 如汝所說 如來善護念諸菩薩 善付囑諸菩薩 汝今諦聽 當為汝說 善男子善女人 發阿耨多羅三藐三菩提心 應如是住 如是降伏其心 唯然 世尊 願樂欲聞 3. The Bodhisattva VowThe Buddha said to Subhuti: “The bodhisattvas and mahasattvasshould thus subdue their thoughts: All the different types ofsentient beings, whether they are born from eggs, from wombs,from moisture, or by transformation; whether or not they haveform; whether they have thoughts or no thoughts, or haveneither thought nor non-thought, I will liberate them by leadingthem to nirvana without residue. When immeasurable, countless,infinite numbers of sentient beings have been liberated, inreality, no sentient beings have been liberated. Why is this so?Subhuti, if bodhisattvas abide in the notions of a self, a person, asentient being, or a life span, they are not bodhisattvas.”2

The Diamond of Perfect Wisdom Sutra大乘正宗分第三佛告須菩提 諸菩薩摩訶薩 應如是降伏其心 所有一切眾生之類 若卵生 若胎生 若濕生 若化生 若有色 若無色 若有想 若無想 若非有想非無想 我皆令入無餘涅槃而滅度之 如是滅度無量無數無邊眾生 實無眾生得滅度者 何以故 須菩提 若菩薩有我相 人相 眾生相 壽者相 即非菩薩 4. Unattached Practice of Charity“Furthermore, Subhuti, in the practice of charity, bodhisattvasshould abide in nothing whatsoever. That is, to practice charitywithout attachment to form, sound, smell, taste, touch, ordharmas. Subhuti, bodhisattvas should practice charity this way,without attachment to anything. Why? If bodhisattvas practicecharity without attachment, their merits are immeasurable.Subhuti, what do you think? Is the space in the eastern directionmeasurable?” “No, World Honored One, it is immeasurable.”“Subhuti, is any of the space above or below, in the fourcardinal directions, or in the four intermediate directionsmeasurable?” “They are immeasurable, World Honored One.”“Subhuti, the merits attained by bodhisattvas who practicecharity without attachment are also immeasurable like space.Subhuti, bodhisattvas should abide in this teaching.”妙行無住分第四復次須菩提 菩薩於法 應無所住 行於布施 所謂不住色布施 不住聲香味觸法布施 須菩提 菩薩應如是布施 不住於相 何以故 若菩薩不住相布施 其福德不可思量 須菩提 於意云何 東方虛空可思量不 不也 世尊 須菩提 南西北方 四維上下虛3

The Diamond of Perfect Wisdom Sutra空 可思量不 不也 世尊 須菩提 菩薩無住相布施 福德亦復如是不可思量 須菩提 菩薩但應如所教住 5. Physical Attributes of Buddhahood“Subhuti, what do you think? Can one recognize the Tathagataby means of his physical appearance?” “No, World HonoredOne. One cannot recognize the Tathagata by his physicalappearance. Why not? The Tathagata teaches that physicalappearances are actually not physical appearances.” The Buddhasaid to Subhuti: “All appearances are illusory. To see thatappearances are not appearances is to see the Tathagata.”如理實見分第五須菩提 於意云何 可以身相見如來不 不也 世尊 不可以身相得見如來 何以故 如 來 所 說 身相 即 非 身 相 佛 告 須 菩 提 凡所有相 皆是虛妄 若見諸相非相 即見如來 6. The Merit of True FaithSubhuti addressed the Buddha, “World Honored One, will therebe any sentient beings who give rise to true faith upon hearingthis teaching?” The Buddha said to Subhuti, “Do not even saysuch a thing. After my passing, in the last five hundred years [ofthe Dharma ending age], there will be those who observe theprecepts and cultivate merit, who have faith that these are wordsof truth. You should know that these people have not merelycultivated the roots of virtue with one buddha, two buddhas,three, four, or five buddhas; they have cultivated all kinds ofvirtuous roots with hundreds of thousands, even countlessnumbers of buddhas. Upon hearing these passages, Subhuti,some will, in an instant, give rise to pure faith. The Tathagata4

The Diamond of Perfect Wisdom Sutrafully knows and fully sees these beings as they attain suchcountless merits. Why? It is because these sentient beings arefree from the notions of a self, a person, a sentient being, or alife span. They are also free from the notions of dharmas or nondharmas.“Why? If the minds of these sentient beings cherish thesenotions, then they will cling to a self, a person, a sentient being,and a life span. If they cherish the notion of dharmas, they willcling to a self, a person, a sentient being, and a life span. Why?If they cherish the notion of non-dharmas, they will cling to aself, a person, a sentient being, and a life span. Therefore oneshould not cherish dharmas or non-dharmas. For this reason, theTathagata often teaches: Bhiksus, know that my Dharma is likea raft. If even the correct teachings (Dharma) should beabandoned, how much more so the incorrect teachings 言 世尊 頗有眾生 得聞如是言說章句 生實信不 佛告須菩提 莫作是說 如來滅後 後五百歲 有持戒修福者 於此章句 能生信心 以此為實 當知是人 不於一佛二佛三四五佛而種善根 已於無量千萬佛所 種諸善根 聞是章句 乃至一念生淨信者 須菩提 如來悉知悉見 是諸眾生 得如是無量福德 何以故 是諸眾生 無復我相 人相 眾生相 壽者相 無法相 亦無非法相 何以故 是諸眾生 若心取相 即為著我人眾生壽者 若取法相 即著我人眾生壽者 何以故 若取非法相 即著我人眾生壽者 是故不應取法 不應取非法 以是義故 如來常說 汝等比丘 知我說法 如筏喻者 法尚應捨 何況非法 5

The Diamond of Perfect Wisdom Sutra7. No Attainment, No Teaching“Subhuti, what do you think? Has the Tathagata attainedunsurpassed complete enlightenment? And does he explain theDharma?” Subhuti said: “As I understand the meaning of whatthe Buddha has said, there is no fixed teaching calledunsurpassed complete enlightenment. And there is also no fixedteaching that the Tathagata can convey. Why? The Dharmaexplained by the Tathagata cannot be grasped or explained.They are neither Dharmas nor non-Dharmas. How is this so? Itis because all the saints and sages are distinguished by theUnconditioned Dharma.”無得無說分第七須菩提 於意云何 如來得阿耨多羅三藐三菩提耶 如來有所說法耶 須菩提言 如我解佛所說義 無有定法 名阿耨多羅三藐三菩提 亦無有定法 如來可說 何以故 如來所說法 皆不可取 不可說 非法 非非法 所以者何 一切賢聖 皆以無為法而有差別 8. Real Merit Has No Merit“Subhuti, what do you think? If a person fills a trichiliocosmwith the seven jewels and gives them away in charity, wouldn’tthe merit attained by this person be great?” Subhuti said,“Extremely great, World Honored One. Why? The nature ofmerit is empty; therefore the Tathagata says that this merit isgreat.” The Buddha said: “But if a person comprehends andfollows even a four-line verse of this sutra, and teaches it toothers, this person’s merit would exceed that of the formerexample. Why? Subhuti, all buddhas and all of their teachingson unsurpassed complete enlightenment originate from thissutra. Subhuti, that which is called the Buddha Dharma is notthe Buddha Dharma; therefore it is called the Buddha Dharma.”6

The Diamond of Perfect Wisdom Sutra依法出生分第八須菩提 於意云何 若人滿三千大千世界七寶 以用布施 是人所得福德 寧為多不 須菩提言 甚多 世尊 何以故 是福德 即非福德性 是故如來說福德多 若復有人 於此經中 受持乃至四句偈等 為他人說 其福勝彼 何以故 須菩提 一切諸佛 及諸佛阿耨多羅三藐三菩提法 皆從此經出 須菩提 所謂佛法者 即非佛法 是名佛法 9. The Four Stages of an Arhat“Subhuti, what do you think? Does a srotapanna have thethought: ‘I have attained the realization of the srotapanna’?”Subhuti said, “No, World Honored One. Why not? Because‘srotapanna’ means ‘stream-enterer,’ and there is in fact nothingto enter; one who does not enter into form, sound, smell, taste,touch, or dharmas is called a srotapanna.”“Subhuti, what do you think? Does a sakridagamin have thethought, ‘I have attained the realization of the sakridagamin’?”Subhuti said: “No, World Honored One. Why not? Although‘sakridagamin’ means to go and come one more time, there is,in reality, no going and no coming. Therefore he is called asakridagamin.”“Subhuti, what do you think? Does an anagamin have thethought, ‘I have attained the realization of the anagamin’?”Subhuti said, “No, World Honored One. Why not? ‘Anagamin’means non-returning [to the human world], but there is, in fact,no such thing as non-returning. Therefore he is called ananagamin.”“Subhuti, what do you think? Does an arhat have the thought, ‘Ihave attained the realization of the arhat’?” Subhuti said, “No,World Honored One. Why not? There is, in reality, no such a7

The Diamond of Perfect Wisdom Sutrathing called ‘arhat.’ World Honored One, if an arhat should giverise to the thought, ‘I have attained the realization of the arhat’,this means that he is attached to the notions of a self, a person, asentient being, or a life span.“World Honored One, you have said that of all people I am theforemost in attaining the samadhi of non-contention, and theforemost arhat in being free from desires. But I do not have thethought that I am an arhat who is free from desires. WorldHonored One, if I give rise to the thought that I have attainedarhatship, then you would not have said that Subhuti practicesaranya—abiding peacefully in non-contention. In reality,Subhuti abides in nothing at all, therefore Subhuti is called onewho abides peacefully in non-contention.”一相無相分第九須菩提 於意云何 須陀洹能作是念 我得須陀洹果不 須菩提言 不也 世尊 何以故 須陀洹名為入流 而無所入 不入色聲香味觸法 是名須陀洹 須菩提 於意云何 斯陀含能作是念 我得斯陀含果不 須菩提言 不也 世尊 何以故 斯陀含名一往來 而實無往來 是名斯陀含 須菩提 於意云何 阿那含能作是念 我得阿那含果不 須菩提言 不也 世尊 何以故 阿那含名為不來 而實無不來 是故名阿那含 須菩提 於意云何 阿羅漢能作是念 我得阿羅漢道不 須菩提言 不也 世尊 何以故 實無有法 名阿羅漢 世尊 若阿羅漢作是念 我得阿羅漢道 即為著我人眾生壽者 世尊 佛說我得無諍三昧 人中最為第一 是第一離欲阿羅漢 世尊 我不作是念 我是離欲阿羅漢 世尊 我若作是念 我得阿羅漢道 世尊則不說須菩提 是樂阿蘭那行者 以須菩提實無所行 而名須菩提 是樂阿蘭那行 8

The Diamond of Perfect Wisdom Sutra10. Transformation to a Buddha WorldThe Buddha said to Subhuti, “What do you think? When theTathagata studied under Dipankara Buddha, did he receive anyDharma?” “No, World Honored One, when the Tathagatastudied under Dipankara Buddha, he did not receive anyDharma.” “Subhuti, what do you think? Does a bodhisattvatransform a world into a Buddha world?” “No, he does not,World Honored One. Why not? One who transforms the worlddoes not transform the world; that is to transform the world.”“And so, Subhuti, bodhisattvas and mahasattvas should give riseto a pure mind that is not attached to form, sound, smell, taste,touch, or dharmas. The mind should act without anyattachments. Subhuti, if there were a person with a body the sizeof Mt. Sumeru, what do you think? Wouldn’t this body behuge?” “Extremely huge, World Honored One. Why? TheBuddha teaches us that a body is not a body, hence it is called ahuge body.”莊嚴淨土分第十佛告須菩提 於意云何 如來昔在然燈佛所 於法有所得不 不也 世尊 如來在然燈佛所 於法實無所得 須菩提 於意云何 菩薩莊嚴佛土不 不也 世尊 何以故 莊嚴佛土者 即非莊嚴 是名莊嚴 是故須菩提 諸菩薩摩訶薩 應如是生清淨心 不應住色生心 不應住聲香味觸法生心 應無所住而生其心 須菩提 譬如有人 身如須彌山王 於意云何 是身為大不 須菩提言 甚大 世尊 何以故 佛說非身 是名大身 9

The Diamond of Perfect Wisdom Sutra11. Merits of this Sutra“Subhuti, what do you think? If there were as many GangesRivers as the grains of sand in the Ganges, wouldn’t the amountof sand contained in all those Ganges Rivers be great?” Subhutisaid, “Extremely great, World Honored One. If even the numberof the Ganges Rivers is innumerable, how much more so theirgrains of sand?” “Subhuti, now I tell you truthfully: If a goodman or good woman fills as many trichiliocosms as the grains ofsand in all those Ganges Rivers with the seven jewels, and givesthem away in charity, wouldn’t this merit be great?”“Extremely great, World Honored One.” The Buddha said toSubhuti: “If a good man or good woman is able to comprehendand follow a four-line verse of this sutra and teach it to others,their merit will be far greater.”無為福勝分第十一須菩提 如恆河中所有沙數 如是沙等恆河 於意云何 是諸恆河沙 寧為多不 須菩提言 甚多 世尊 但諸恆河 尚多無數 何況其沙 須菩提 我今實言告汝 若有善男子善女人 以七寶滿爾所恆河沙數三千大千世界 以用布施 得福多不 須菩提言 甚多 世尊 佛告須菩提 若善男子善女人 於此經中 乃至受持四句偈等 為他人說 而此福德 勝前福德 10

The Diamond of Perfect Wisdom Sutra12. The Most Extraordinary Merit“Furthermore, Subhuti, wherever one teaches or recites so muchas a four-line verse of this sutra, that place should be veneratedas a Buddha-shrine by heavenly beings, human beings, andasuras in this world. How much more so is the case where onecan completely remember, comprehend, and follow this sutra!Subhuti, you should know that such a person has achieved thehighest, rarest of accomplishments. Wherever this sutra ispresent, it is as if the Buddha and the Buddha’s revered discipleswere also present.”尊重正教分第十二復次須菩提 隨說是經 乃至四句偈等 當知此處 一切世間天人阿修羅 皆應供養 如佛塔廟 何況有人 盡能受持讀誦 須菩提 當知是人 成就最上第一希有之法 若是經典所在之處 即為有佛 若尊重弟子 13. Naming of the SutraThen Subhuti addressed the Buddha, “World Honored One,what should we call this sutra, and how should we uphold it?”The Buddha said to Subhuti: “This sutra is called the Diamondof Perfect Wisdom. You should revere this title and practice thesutra accordingly. Why? Subhuti, the Buddha teaches that‘prajna paramita’ (perfection of wisdom) is not prajna paramita.Therefore it is called prajna paramita. Subhuti, what do youthink? Does the Tathagata have any Dharma to teach?” Subhutisaid to the Buddha, “World Honored One, the Tathagata hasnothing to teach.” “Subhuti, what do you think? Are all the tinyparticles contained in this trichiliocosm great in number?”Subhuti said, “Extremely great, World Honored One.” “Subhuti,the Tathagata teaches that tiny particles are not tiny particles.11

The Diamond of Perfect Wisdom SutraTherefore they are called tiny particles. The Tathagata teachesthat worlds are not worlds. Therefore they are called worlds.“Subhuti, what do you think? Can the Tathagata be recognizedby means of his thirty-two physical attributes?” “No, he cannot,World Honored One. One cannot recognize the Tathagata bymeans of his thirty-two physical attributes. Why not? Becausethe Tathagata teaches that the thirty-two physical attributes arein fact not real attributes. Therefore they are called the thirtytwo physical attributes.” “Subhuti, if a good man or goodwoman dedicates lifetimes as numerous as the grains of sand inthe Ganges River to charitable acts, and another comprehendsand follows even a four-line verse of this sutra and taught it toothers, the merits gained by the latter would far exceed that ofthe 佛言 世尊 當何名此經 我等云何奉持 佛告須菩提 是經名為金剛般若波羅蜜 以是名字 汝當奉持 所以者何 須菩提 佛說般若波羅蜜 即非般若波羅蜜 是名般若波羅蜜 須菩提 於意云何 如來有所說法不 須菩提白佛言 世尊 如來無所說 須菩提 於意云何 三千大千世界 所有微塵 是為多不 須菩提言 甚多 世尊 須菩提 諸微塵 如來說非微塵 是名微塵 如來說世界 非世界 是名世界 須菩提 於意云何 可以三十二相見如來不 不也 世尊 不可以三十二相得見如來 何以故 如來說三十二相 即是非相 是名三十二相 須菩提 若有善男子善女人 以恆河沙等身命布施 若復有人 於此經中 乃至受持四句偈等 為他人說 其福甚多 12

The Diamond of Perfect Wisdom Sutra14. A Mind Without AttachmentsUpon hearing this sermon, Subhuti was moved to tears, havingdeeply understood its meaning and significance. He said to theBuddha: “How remarkable, World Honored One! You havetaught us such a profound sutra. Even though I have longattained the Wisdom Eye, I have never heard such a teachingbefore. World Honored One, if someone who hears this sutragives rise to pure faith, and thus perceives the true nature ofreality, we should know that this person has achieved the mostextraordinary virtue. World Honored One, the true nature ofreality is empty. This is what the Tathagata calls the true natureof reality.“World Honored One, having just heard this sutra, I have nodifficulty in believing, comprehending, and following it. But in theages to come, in the last five hundred years, if there are sentientbeings who hear this sutra, believe, comprehend, and follow it,they will be most remarkable beings. Why? These beings do notabide in the notions of a self, a person, a sentient being, or a lifespan. Why? Because a self is not a self. The appearances of aperson, a sentient being, and a life span are likewise illusory.Why? Those who relinquish all appearances and notions arecalled buddhas.”The Buddha said to Subhuti: “So it is, so it is. You should knowthat if someone who hears the teaching of this sutra is neithershocked, frightened, nor disturbed, this person is extremely rare.And why? Subhuti, the Tathagata says that the foremostparamita is not the foremost paramita. Therefore it is called theforemost paramita. Subhuti, the Tathagata teaches that toleranceparamita is not tolerance paramita. Therefore it is calledtolerance paramita. Why? Subhuti, in a former lifetime my bodywas mutilated by King Kalinga. At that time, I had no notions13

The Diamond of Perfect Wisdom Sutraof a self, a person, a sentient being, or a life span. Why not? If Ihad held to the notions of a self, a person, a sentient being, or alife span, when my body was dismembered limb after limb, Iwould have given rise to feelings of resentment and hatred.“Subhuti, I also recall that for five hundred lifetimes I was arishi of tolerance. At that time, I was also free from the notionsof a self, a person, a sentient being, or a life span. Therefore,Subhuti, bodhisattvas should relinquish all appearances andnotions in their resolve to attain unsurpassed completeenlightenment. They should not give rise to any thoughtattached to form, sound, smell, taste, touch, or dharma. Theyshould give rise to a mind without any attachments. Anyattachment of the mind is errant. Therefore the Buddha says thata bodhisattva should practice charity with a mind unattached toform. Subhuti, to benefit all sentient beings, a bodhisattvashould practice charity in this way. The Tathagata teaches thatall appearances and notions are not appearances and notions,and that all sentient beings are not sentient beings.“Subhuti, what the Tathagata speaks is true, real, and as it is.His words are neither deceptive nor contradictory. Subhuti, theTruth that the Tathagata has attained is neither real nor unreal.Subhuti, if a bodhisattva practices charity with attachments, heis like a person in the dark who cannot see anything. If abodhisattva practices charity without any attachments, he is likea person under the bright sun with eyes open, seeing all thingsclearly. Subhuti, if in a future time there are good men andwomen who are able to recite, remember, comprehend, andfollow this sutra, the Tathagata, with his Buddha-wisdom, willclearly perceive and recognize each one of them a

Diamond Sutra” by Charles Muller, “The Vajra Prajna Paramita Sutra” by the Buddhist Text Translation Society, “The Diamond Sutra: Transforming the Way We Perceive the World” by Mu Soeng, “The Diamond Sutra” by A. F. Price, and “The Diamo