Golden Light Sutra

Discussion in 'Buddhism' started by Nicholas Weeks, Jun 7, 2019.

  1. Nicholas Weeks

    Nicholas Weeks Bodhicitta

    Joined:
    Jul 21, 2010
    Messages:
    356
    Likes Received:
    11
  2. Cino

    Cino Big Love

    Joined:
    Oct 19, 2018
    Messages:
    458
    Likes Received:
    170
    Nice, I haven't read that one yet. Do you have a favorite passage?
     
  3. Nicholas Weeks

    Nicholas Weeks Bodhicitta

    Joined:
    Jul 21, 2010
    Messages:
    356
    Likes Received:
    11
    Many, all of chapter four among them.
     
  4. Bhaktajan II

    Bhaktajan II Active Member

    Joined:
    Jun 28, 2013
    Messages:
    537
    Likes Received:
    71
    This is a sutra that I would like your view of upon reading:

    Śrī Īśopaniṣad
    Iso Introduction
    Iso Invocation — The Personality of Godhead is perfect and complete, and because He is completely perfect, all emanations from Him, such as this phenomenal world, are perfectly equipped as complete wholes. Whatever is produced of the Complete Whole is also complete in itself. Because He is the Complete Whole, even though so many complete units emanate from Him, He remains the complete balance.
    Iso mantra 1 — Everything animate or inanimate that is within the universe is controlled and owned by the Lord. One should therefore accept only those things necessary for himself, which are set aside as his quota, and one should not accept other things, knowing well to whom they belong.
    Iso mantra 2 — One may aspire to live for hundreds of years if he continuously goes on working in that way, for that sort of work will not bind him to the law of karma. There is no alternative to this way for man.
    Iso mantra 3 — The killer of the soul, whoever he may be, must enter into the planets known as the worlds of the faithless, full of darkness and ignorance.
    Iso mantra 4 — Although fixed in His abode, the Personality of Godhead is swifter than the mind and can overcome all others running. The powerful demigods cannot approach Him. Although in one place, He controls those who supply the air and rain. He surpasses all in excellence.
    Iso mantra 5 — The Supreme Lord walks and does not walk. He is far away, but He is very near as well. He is within everything, and yet He is outside of everything.
    Iso mantra 6 — He who sees systematically everything in relation to the Supreme Lord, who sees all living entities as His parts and parcels, and who sees the Supreme Lord within everything never hates anything or any being.
    Iso mantra 7 — One who always sees all living entities as spiritual sparks, in quality one with the Lord, becomes a true knower of things. What, then, can be illusion or anxiety for him?
    Iso mantra 8 — Such a person must factually know the greatest of all, the Personality of Godhead, who is unembodied, omniscient, beyond reproach, without veins, pure and uncontaminated, the self-sufficient philosopher who has been fulfilling everyone's desire since time immemorial.
    Iso mantra 9 — Those who engage in the culture of nescient activities shall enter into the darkest region of ignorance. Worse still are those engaged in the culture of so-called knowledge.
    Iso mantra 10 — The wise have explained that one result is derived from the culture of knowledge and that a different result is obtained from the culture of nescience.
    Iso mantra 11 — Only one who can learn the process of nescience and that of transcendental knowledge side by side can transcend the influence of repeated birth and death and enjoy the full blessings of immortality.
    Iso mantra 12 — Those who are engaged in the worship of demigods enter into the darkest region of ignorance, and still more so do the worshipers of the impersonal Absolute.
    Iso mantra 13 — It is said that one result is obtained by worshiping the supreme cause of all causes and that another result is obtained by worshiping what is not supreme. All this is heard from the undisturbed authorities, who clearly explained it.
    Iso mantra 14 — One should know perfectly the Personality of Godhead Śrī Kṛṣṇa and His transcendental name, form, qualities and pastimes, as well as the temporary material creation with its temporary demigods, men and animals. When one knows these, he surpasses death and the ephemeral cosmic manifestation with it, and in the eternal kingdom of God he enjoys his eternal life of bliss and knowledge.
    Iso mantra 15 — O my Lord, sustainer of all that lives, Your real face is covered by Your dazzling effulgence. Kindly remove that covering and exhibit Yourself to Your pure devotee.
    Iso mantra 16 — O my Lord, O primeval philosopher, maintainer of the universe, O regulating principle, destination of the pure devotees, well-wisher of the progenitors of mankind, please remove the effulgence of Your transcendental rays so that I can see Your form of bliss. You are the eternal Supreme Personality of Godhead, like unto the sun, as am I.
    Iso mantra 17 — Let this temporary body be burnt to ashes, and let the air of life be merged with the totality of air. Now, O my Lord, please remember all my sacrifices, and because You are the ultimate beneficiary, please remember all that I have done for You.
    Iso mantra 18 — O my Lord, as powerful as fire, O omnipotent one, now I offer You all obeisances, falling on the ground at Your feet. O my Lord, please lead me on the right path to reach You, and since You know all that I have done in the past, please free me from the reactions to my past sins so that there will be no hindrance to my progress.

    https://www.vedabase.com/en/iso
     
  5. Bhaktajan II

    Bhaktajan II Active Member

    Joined:
    Jun 28, 2013
    Messages:
    537
    Likes Received:
    71
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Isha_Upanishad

    Esp seeking yr response to this Sanskrit sutra's 15th verse

    Mantra Fifteen
    hiraṇmayena pātreṇa
    satyasyāpihitaṁ mukham
    tat tvaṁ pūṣann apāvṛṇu
    satya-dharmāya dṛṣṭaye

    SYNONYMS
    hiraṇmayena—by a golden effulgence; pātreṇa—by a dazzling covering; satyasya—of the Supreme Truth; apihitam—covered; mukham—the face; tat—that covering; tvam—Yourself; pūṣan—O sustainer; apāvṛṇu—kindly remove; satya—pure; dharmāya—unto the devotee; dṛṣṭaye—for exhibiting.

    TRANSLATION by Bhaktivedanta Swami
    O my Lord, sustainer of all that lives, Your real face is covered by Your dazzling effulgence. Kindly remove that covering and exhibit Yourself to Your pure devotee.



    PURPORT by Bhaktivedanta Swami:
    In the Bhagavad-gītā (14.27), the Lord explains His personal rays (brahmajyoti), the dazzling effulgence of His personal form, in this way:

    brahmaṇo hi pratiṣṭhāham
    amṛtasyāvyayasya ca
    śāśvatasya ca dharmasya
    sukhasyaikāntikasya ca
    "I am the basis of the impersonal Brahman, which is immortal, imperishable and eternal and is the constitutional position of ultimate happiness." Brahman, Paramātmā and Bhagavān are three aspects of the same Absolute Truth. Brahman is the aspect most easily perceived by the beginner; Paramātmā, the Supersoul, is realized by those who have further progressed; and Bhagavān realization is the ultimate realization of the Absolute Truth. This is confirmed in the Bhagavad-gītā (7.7), where Lord Kṛṣṇa says that He is the ultimate concept of the Absolute Truth: mattaḥ parataraṁ nānyat. Therefore Kṛṣṇa is the source of the brahmajyoti as well as the all-pervading Paramātmā. Later in the Bhagavad-gītā (10.42) Kṛṣṇa further explains:

    atha vā bahunaitena
    kiṁ jñātena tavārjuna
    viṣṭabhyāham idaṁ kṛtsnam
    ekāṁśena sthito jagat
    "But what need is there, Arjuna, for all this detailed knowledge? With a single fragment of Myself I pervade and support this entire universe." Thus by His one plenary expansion, the all-pervading Paramātmā, the Lord maintains the complete material cosmic creation. He also maintains all manifestations in the spiritual world. Therefore in this śruti-mantra of Śrī Īśopaniṣad, the Lord is addressed as pūṣan, the ultimate maintainer.

    The Personality of Godhead, Śrī Kṛṣṇa, is always filled with transcendental bliss (ānanda-mayo 'bhyāsāt). When He was present at Vṛndāvana in India five thousand years ago, He always remained in transcendental bliss, even from the beginning of His childhood pastimes. The killings of various demons—such as Agha, Baka, Pūtanā and Pralamba—were but pleasure excursions for Him. In His village of Vṛndāvana He enjoyed Himself with His mother, brother and friends, and when He played the role of a naughty butter thief, all His associates enjoyed celestial bliss by His stealing. The Lord's fame as a butter thief is not reproachable, for by stealing butter the Lord gave pleasure to His pure devotees. Everything the Lord did in Vṛndāvana was for the pleasure of His associates there. The Lord created these pastimes to attract the dry speculators and the acrobats of the so-called haṭha-yoga system who wish to find the Absolute Truth.

    Of the childhood play between the Lord and His playmates, the cowherd boys, Śukadeva Gosvāmī says in Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam (10.12.11):

    itthaṁ satāṁ brahma-sukhānubhūtyā
    dāsyaṁ gatānāṁ para-daivatena
    māyāśritānāṁ nara-dārakeṇa
    sākaṁ vijahruḥ kṛta-puṇya-puñjāḥ
    "The Personality of Godhead, who is perceived as the impersonal, blissful Brahman by the jñānīs, who is worshiped as the Supreme Lord by devotees in the mood of servitorship, and who is considered an ordinary human being by mundane people, played with the cowherd boys, who had attained their position after accumulating many pious activities."

    Thus the Lord is always engaged in transcendental loving activities with His spiritual associates in the various relationships of śānta (neutrality), dāsya (servitorship), sakhya (friendship), vātsalya (parental affection) and mādhurya (conjugal love).

    Since it is said that Lord Kṛṣṇa never leaves Vṛndāvana-dhāma, one may ask how He manages the affairs of the creation. This is answered in the Bhagavad-gītā (13.14-18): The Lord pervades the entire material creation by His plenary part known as the Paramātmā, or Supersoul. Although the Lord personally has nothing to do with material creation, maintenance and destruction, He causes all these things to be done by His plenary expansion, the Paramātmā. Every living entity is known as ātmā, soul, and the principal ātmā who controls them all is Paramātmā, the Supersoul.

    This system of God realization is a great science. The materialistic sāṅkhya-yogīs can only analyze and meditate on the twenty-four factors of the material creation, for they have very little information of the puruṣa, the Lord. And the impersonal transcendentalists are simply bewildered by the glaring effulgence of the brahmajyoti. If one wants to see the Absolute Truth in full, one has to penetrate beyond the twenty-four material elements and the glaring effulgence as well. Śrī Īśopaniṣad points toward this direction, praying for the removal of the hiraṇmaya-pātra, the dazzling covering of the Lord. Unless this covering is removed so one can perceive the real face of the Personality of Godhead, factual realization of the Absolute Truth can never be achieved.

    The Paramātmā feature of the Personality of Godhead is one of three plenary expansions, or viṣṇu-tattvas, collectively known as the puruṣa-avatāras. One of these viṣṇu-tattvas who is within the universe is known as Kṣīrodakaśāyī Viṣṇu. He is the Viṣṇu among the three principal deities—Brahmā, Viṣṇu and Śiva—and He is the all-pervading Paramātmā in each and every individual living entity. The second viṣṇu-tattva within the universe is Garbhodakaśāyī Viṣṇu, the collective Supersoul of all living entities. Beyond these two is Kāraṇodakaśāyī Viṣṇu, who lies in the Causal Ocean. He is the creator of all universes. The yoga system teaches the serious student to meet the viṣṇu-tattvas after going beyond the twenty-four material elements of the cosmic creation. The culture of empiric philosophy helps one realize the impersonal brahmajyoti, which is the glaring effulgence of the transcendental body of Lord Śrī Kṛṣṇa. That the brahmajyoti is Kṛṣṇa's effulgence is confirmed in the Bhagavad-gītā (14.27) as well as the Brahma-saṁhitā (5.40):

    yasya prabhā-prabhavato jagad-aṇḍa-koṭi-
    koṭiṣv aśeṣa-vasudhādi vibhūti-bhinnam
    tad brahma niṣkalam anantam aśeṣa-bhūtaṁ
    govindam ādi-puruṣaṁ tam ahaṁ bhajāmi
    "In the millions and millions of universes there are innumerable planets, and each and every one of them is different from the others by its cosmic constitution. All of these planets are situated in a corner of the brahmajyoti. This brahmajyoti is but the personal rays of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Govinda, whom I worship." This mantra from the Brahma-saṁhitā is spoken from the platform of factual realization of the Absolute Truth, and the śruti-mantra of Śrī Īśopaniṣad under discussion confirms this mantra as a process of realization. The Īśopaniṣad mantra is a simple prayer to the Lord to remove the brahmajyoti so that one can see His real face. This brahmajyoti effulgence is described in detail in several mantras of the Muṇḍaka Upaniṣad (2.2.10-12):

    hiraṇmaye pare kośe
    virajaṁ brahma niṣkalam
    tac chubhraṁ jyotiṣāṁ jyotis
    tad yad ātma-vido viduḥ
    na tatra sūryo bhāti na candra-tārakaṁ
    nemā vidyuto bhānti kuto 'yam agniḥ
    tam eva bhāntam anu bhāti sarvaṁ
    tasya bhāsā sarvam idaṁ vibhāti
    brahmaivedam amṛtaṁ purastād brahma
    paścād brahma dakṣiṇataś cottareṇa
    adhaś cordhvaṁ ca prasṛtaṁ brahmai-
    vedaṁ viśvam idaṁ variṣṭham
    "In the spiritual realm, beyond the material covering, is the unlimited Brahman effulgence, which is free from material contamination. That effulgent white light is understood by transcendentalists to be the light of all lights. In that realm there is no need of sunshine, moonshine, fire or electricity for illumination. Indeed, whatever illumination appears in the material world is only a reflection of that supreme illumination. That Brahman is in front and in back, in the north, south, east and west, and also overhead and below. In other words, that supreme Brahman effulgence spreads throughout both the material and spiritual skies."

    Perfect knowledge means knowing Kṛṣṇa as the root of this Brahman effulgence. This knowledge can be gained from such scriptures as Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam, which perfectly elaborates the science of Kṛṣṇa. In Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam, the author, Śrīla Vyāsadeva, has established that one will describe the Supreme Truth as Brahman, Paramātmā or Bhagavān according to one's realization of Him. Śrīla Vyāsadeva never states that the Supreme Truth is a jīva, an ordinary living entity. The living entity should never be considered the all-powerful Supreme Truth. If he were the Supreme, he would not need to pray to the Lord to remove His dazzling cover so that the living entity could see His real face.

    The conclusion is that one who has no knowledge of the potencies of the Supreme Truth will realize the impersonal Brahman. Similarly, when one realizes the material potencies of the Lord but has little or no information of the spiritual potencies, he attains Paramātmā realization. Thus both Brahman and Paramātmā realization of the Absolute Truth are partial realizations. However, when one realizes the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Śrī Kṛṣṇa, in full potency after the removal of the hiraṇmaya-pātra, one realizes vāsudevaḥ sarvam iti: (7.19) Lord Śrī Kṛṣṇa, who is known as Vāsudeva, is everything—Brahman, Paramātmā and Bhagavān. He is Bhagavān, the root, and Brahman and Paramātmā are His branches.

    In the Bhagavad-gītā (6.46-47) there is a comparative analysis of the three types of transcendentalists—the worshipers of the impersonal Brahman (jñānīs), the worshipers of the Paramātmā feature (yogīs) and the devotees of Lord Śrī Kṛṣṇa (bhaktas). It is stated there that the jñānīs, those who have cultivated Vedic knowledge, are better than ordinary fruitive workers, that the yogīs are still greater than the jñānīs, and that among all yogīs, those who constantly serve the Lord with all their energies are the topmost. In summary, a philosopher is better than a laboring man, a mystic is superior to a philosopher, and of all the mystic yogīs, he who follows bhakti-yoga, constantly engaging in the service of the Lord, is the highest. Śrī Īśopaniṣad directs us toward this perfection.
    https://vanisource.org/wiki/ISO_15
     
  6. Cino

    Cino Big Love

    Joined:
    Oct 19, 2018
    Messages:
    458
    Likes Received:
    170
    Thanks, reading chapter four.

    In keeping with the recent thread about reading other people's scriptures, I'd like to make a comment (respectfully, mindful of cultural bedrock and the gulf of time, and the difficulties inherent in translation) on the following passage from chapter 4:

    “May all women become like men,
    Heroic, learned, lucid and strong.
    Endeavoring to complete the six perfections,
    May they incessantly strive for enlightenment.

    May they come to behold buddhas in the ten directions,
    Seated at ease upon precious lapis thrones
    Under bejeweled exquisite stately trees.
    May they hear the buddhas' Dharma explained.”

    (Excerpt From
    Sutra Of Golden Light
    This material may be protected by copyright.)​

    If the basic idea here is that men have all these qualities (since women should be more like men in order to to gain them), then I can't be a man...

    Another thought: maybe it was verses like this one which got Noble Tara to make her vow.

    I like the general atmosphere of the chapter a lot! The whole sutra seems to have a social political quality. Wish there was more of that in (Western) Buddhism.
     
    A Cup Of Tea likes this.
  7. Nicholas Weeks

    Nicholas Weeks Bodhicitta

    Joined:
    Jul 21, 2010
    Messages:
    356
    Likes Received:
    11
    Buddha narrates in chapter 18 his past life where he gave his body to a starving tigress. He mentions the karmic ties of the major persons around him then:

    I, the Tathagata Shakyamuni was formerly Mahasattva, Son of King Maharatha who made the tigress well.

    Shuddhodana, the great king was the king called Maharatha, and Queen Maya was the sublime queen. Mahapranada became Maitreya. Likewise, Prince Mahadeva was the youthful Manjushri. The tigress was Mahaprajapati; the five bhikshus were her five cubs.

    When Mahasattva gave the tigress his body, he made this altruistic wish: “By the merit of completely giving my body, may I, in future times for eons utterly beyond thought, perform the deeds of buddhas for sentient beings.”
     
  8. Cino

    Cino Big Love

    Joined:
    Oct 19, 2018
    Messages:
    458
    Likes Received:
    170
    So this is where that story comes from. I always assumed it was in the Jataka tales.

    Given the Buddha's ambivalent position towards the order if nuns, it is interesting how the tigress' later incarnation was instrumental in the founding of the bikkhuni order.
     
  9. Nicholas Weeks

    Nicholas Weeks Bodhicitta

    Joined:
    Jul 21, 2010
    Messages:
    356
    Likes Received:
    11
    It is in more than one text.
     
  10. Thomas

    Thomas Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Sep 25, 2003
    Messages:
    9,811
    Likes Received:
    1,002
    Hi Bhaktajan —

    The Abrahamics would nitpick over the term 'emanation', but only because there is the idea of emanationism in the western tradition which conflicts with the Traditional teachings.

    Where the difference lies is in how creation is perceived. God creates, He causes the phenomenal world and all other worlds to be, and everything therein, but they are not the same intrinsic nature as God — they are not God as such, the primary distinction being God is Uncreated, and all other existing things are created.

    This is not necessarily to contradict 'emanation' in the sutra ... it's a term that would require precise clarification.

    [quote[Iso mantra 5 — The Supreme Lord walks and does not walk. He is far away, but He is very near as well. He is within everything, and yet He is outside of everything.[/quote]
    We would say He is both Transcendent (thus 'outside' and 'above' and 'other than', and Immanent, that is present to within and without.

    Time does not allow me to pay sufficient attention to the remainder of the list, but I'd hazard to say we are in agreement ...
     
  11. Bhaktajan II

    Bhaktajan II Active Member

    Joined:
    Jun 28, 2013
    Messages:
    537
    Likes Received:
    71
    Roger that.

    My understanding is that the use of the word "emanation" or "emanates" simply denotes that creation springs forth from God.
    IE sun rays emanate from the Sun.

    And yes, the fragmental parts and parcels are all tiny fragments.
    IE the each of the drops of water in the ocean may be equal in quality to the ocean, but not equal in quantity.
     
  12. CobblersApprentice

    CobblersApprentice Member

    Joined:
    Monday
    Messages:
    30
    Likes Received:
    11
    Looking this Sutra up, I found that I had downloaded it a while ago. Dipping into it I was struck by the words speaking of the "Buddha's domain of experience, the profound sphere of reality". This linked for me with a recently read poem by Chiao Jan (730-799)

    Spring's songs already quieting,
    The ancient source still bubbles forth.

    It's a mistake, my modern friends,
    to wound the heart to try
    to cross the stream.

    The "domain" is home, but also a journey. Experience never ends.

    Well, that's how I see it.
     

Share This Page