There are five different views springing from it [belief in the ego], which are held by common people (prthagjana).
First, hearing that it is said in the Sûtra 2 that the
[paragraph continues] Dharmakâya of the Tathâgata is perfectly tranquil and may be likened unto space (âkâsa), yet not understanding its purport, ignorant people cling to the view that the nature of the Tathâgata is eternal and omnipresent in the same sense as space is.
In order that this clinging to the false doctrine may be eliminated, be it clearly understood that space is nothing but a mode of particularisation and that it has no real existence of its own. Where there is a perception of space, there is side by side a perception of a variety of things, in contradistinction to which space is spoken of as if existing independently. Space therefore exists only in relation to our particularising consciousness.
Further since matter (rûpa) as stated before, is merely a particularisation of the confused mind, it is clear enough that space cannot have any independent existence. In a word all modes of relative existence, our phenomenal world as a whole, are created simply by the particularisation of the confused mind. If we become dissociated from the latter, then all modes of relative existence vanish away by themselves; while the soul alone, in its truth and suchness, pervades the whole universe. The soul, therefore, that constitutes the essential nature of the Tathâgata, cannot be compared with space, though the latter may be said to be in a certain limited sense eternal and real.
Secondly, hearing that it is said in the Sûtras that all things in the world without exception are perfect
emptiness (atyantaçûnyatâ), that even Nirvâna 1 or suchness is also perfect emptiness, is devoid in its true nature of all characteristics (lakshanâ), yet not understanding its purport, ignorant people cling to the view that Nirvâna or suchness is a nothing, devoid of contents.
In order that this clinging may be eliminated, be it clearly understood that suchness or Dharmakâya in its self-nature (svabhâva) is not a nothing (çûnyatâ) but envelopes in full immeasurable merits (guna) which make up its true nature.
Thirdly, hearing that it is said in the Sûtras 2 that the Tathâgata's womb (tathâgatagarbha) envelopes in full all kinds of merits which constituting its true nature do neither suffer augmentation nor diminution, yet not understanding its purport, ignorant people cling to the view that there is in the Tathâgata's womb itself an inherent and fundamental distinction between the two objects, matter (rûpa) and mind (citta).
In order that this clinging may be eliminated, be
it clearly understood that suchness (bhûtatathatâ) has nothing to do with any form of distinction produced by defilement, and that even in case we speak of its possessing innumerable meritorious characteristics, they are free from the traces of defilement.
Fourthly, hearing that it is said in the Sûtras 1 that even all impure and defiled things in the world are produced through the Tathâgata's womb (tathâgatagarbha), and that all things in the world are not at variance with suchness, yet not understanding its purport, ignorant people imagine that the Tathâgata's womb all-containingly envelopes all objects of defilement in the world.
In order that this clinging may be eliminated, be it clearly understood that the Tathâgata's womb all-containingly envelopes pure and spotless merits (guna) which, outnumbering the sands of the Ganges, are not at variance with suchness; that the prejudices (âçrava or kleça) and defiled objects, which also outnumber the sands of the Ganges are nothing but non-entity, have from the first no self-existence (svabhâva), have never been in correspondence with the Tathâgata's womb; that there is no reason to suppose that the Tathâgata's womb had been corresponding with defiled objects, but has now by virtue of intellectual intuition been freed from falsity and defilement.
Fifthly, hearing that it is said in the Sûtras 1 that depending on the Tathâgata's womb, there is birth-and-death (samsâra) as well as the attainment of Nirvâna, yet not understanding its purport, ignorant people imagine that depending on the Tathâgata's womb there is a beginning for birth-and-death, and that since there is the beginning, Nirvâna is in turn subject to extinction.
In order that this clinging may be eliminated, be it clearly understood that as the Tathâgata's womb has no beginning, ignorance and birth-and-death depending on it have also no beginning; that it is a view held by the tîrthaka 2 [i.e., the followers of the Vaiçesika]
and not taught by the Buddha, to say that there are outside of the three worlds 1 (triloka) some other beings coming into existence; that the Tathâgata's womb has no future [i.e., time of extinction]; and that those who have an insight into it, will eternally destroy the seeds of birth-and-death and attain to Nirvâna which has also no future [i.e., time of extinction].
These four 2 erroneous views have thus arisen from the conception of a personal âtman, and so we have laid down the four refutations as above mentioned. 3
106:2 It is not exactly known to what Sûtra or Sûtras this refers, but the analogy of this kind is frequently met with in most of the Mahâyâna texts.
108:1 Fa-tsang, a commentator of the present Discourse, quotes the Mahâprajñâ-pâramitâ-Sûtra as here referred to. The Sûtra says: "Even Nirvâna is like a mirage, like a dream. Nay, if there be something superior to Nirvâna, I declare it is also like a mirage, like a dream."
108:2 For instance, we read in the second volume of the Lankâvatara Sûtra (translated into Chinese by Çiksânanda): "The Tathâgatagarbha is in its intrinsic nature pure, clean, eternal, permanent, unintermittent, and immutable; it embraces the thirty-two excellent qualities, and abides within the body of all sentient beings," etc.
109:1 Though not exactly known to what Sûtra or Sûtras the reference is made here, we can easily find similar passages in the Mahâyâna texts, such as the Lankâvatara, the Çrîmâlâ, etc.
110:1 These are not also exactly known.
110:2 It is not precisely known bow many philosophical schools, called tîrthakas by Buddhists, were flourishing just at the time of Açvaghosha. The Nirvâna Sûtra and the Vimalakîrtinirdeça Sûtra mention six of them which were existing at the time of Buddha: (1) Pûrana Kâçyapa; (2) Maskarin Goçâliputra; (3) Sañjayin Vairaṭṭîputra; (4) Ajita Keçakambala; (5) Kakuda Kâtyâyana; (6) Nirgrantha Jñâtiputra. In a commentary on the Vimânamâtrâ-çâstra, however, which is a later production than this Discourse, twelve different tîrthaka schools are enumerated. They are: (1) the Samkhya school; (2) the Vaiçesika school; (3) the school which believes in Maheçvara as the creator; (4) the school which believes in Mahâbrahma as the creator; (5) the school which maintains that Time is the creator; (6) the school which maintains that Space is the creator; (7) the school which maintains that Water is the creator; (8) the school which says that the world exists by itself; (9) the school which says that the creation comes from Quarters; (10) the school which maintains that the Ego is the principle of existence; (11) the school which maintains the immortality of articulate sounds, i.e., the Mîmamsâ school; (12) the Lokâyatika school, an Indian materialism. For further references p. 111 see Dr. Enryô Inouye's Gedô Tetsugaku (Philosophical Systems of the Tîrthakas), 1897, Tokyo, Japan.
111:1 They are the world of desire (kâmaloka), the world of form (rûpaloka), the world of formlessness (arûpaloka). (See also p. 77). The kâmaloka is divided into hells (naraka), region of ghosts (preta), animal life (tiryagyoni), human life (manushyaloka), and region of gods (deva); the rûpaloka into 17 heavenly abodes corresponding to the three stages of Dhyâna; the arûpaloka into four heavenly abodes. For details see the second chapter of the Abhidharmakoça-Çâstra, by Vasubandhu.
111:2 The number "four" in this paragraph should be "five," for the author enumerates five misunderstandings and their refutations, as we have seen.
111:3 The whole passage is missing in the older translation.