The Buddha's teachings, although expressive of ultimate reality, have been conveyed through the relative medium of language. This discrepancy has led to the invocation of dichotomies such as reality versus unreality, existence versus nonexistence and truth versus untruth to express in words what is ultimately beyond the utilized dualities. Because ultimate knowledge, as discussed in the Prajna-Paramita Sutra, is beyond distinctions, duality is not an ultimately existing construct. However, even to express that thought requires resorting to the duality of existence/nonexistence. So, the Buddhist canon spends many verses explaining that which is true and false, that which exists ultimately and only relatively, and the dichotomy of reality and unreality. The Lankavatara Sutra, a proponent of the Cittamatra (mind-only) tradition, expounds the notion that the only truly existing thing is mind. Buddha-nature is the only un-conditioned, and thus uncreated and undying, element of existence. It is only in our clouded perceptions of things, through our relatively functioning vijnana consciousness, that we do not realize the ultimate nature of our Tathagatha-garbha (buddha-nature).
[...] Metaphors, though only indirect wisdom, are so valuable that benefits of the fiftieth person who hears just one verse of the Lotus Sutra and responds with joy is beyond the power of calculation, simile or parable Besides the Lotus Sutra, most Mahayana scriptures convey their meaning with metaphors. The Lankavatara, in its description of the nature of consciousness, resorts to a metaphor of the ocean when discussing the mind. In particular, the distinction between relative and absolute mind is conveyed with a skillfully crafted metaphor. [...]
[...] The Buddha concludes this chapter by warning that “clinging consciousness is very deep and subtle I do not explain this to the ignorant, for fear they will get the idea of self For this reason, the Mahayana scriptures were transmitted after the Hinayana doctrines of the Four Noble Truths and conditioned genesis, the understanding of which would eliminate selfish departure from the Path. Despite the ultimate unreality of distinctions, the Buddha utilized them as expedient means to enlightenment. One such set of tentatively useful dualities is the Four Perverted Views. [...]
[...] The mind is nondual, but can easily be misperceived as the duality of the knower and the known (Trungpa, The Lankavatara extends its metaphor: there is no distinction between the ocean and its waves, so in the Citta there is no evolution of the Vijnanas The Vijnana, relative knowledge, ultimately is one with the transcendent knowledge inherent in the ocean of Buddha-mind. The Lankavatara Sutra contributes two more notable metaphors for the difficult concepts of meaning and insight. This Sutra embodies the paradox that language, a system of labeling and discerning, is the necessary means to describe wisdom that is marked by its unattachment to marks. [...]
[...] It is the process of discerning (with the conventional mind) which ideas are representative of truth and which of illusion in order to eventually forgo all discernment. Enlightenment comes with the wisdom borne of experiencing the truth of emptiness. Understanding emptiness, as discoursed by the Buddha in the Prajnaparamita Sutra, is to transcend name and form. Bodhisattva who, not discriminating, comprehends all dharmas as empty, signless and unimpeded, without any dualism he seeks in wisdom for enlightenment Coursing in the signless- the Buddha's Middle Way- transcends confusing dualities like “existence and non-existence.” The Lankavatara corroborates, stating that “removed from all philosophical views, free from imagined and imagining this I call Mind-norm. [...]
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