The Questions of Maitreya (constructed dialog based on Lama Tsongkhapa's paraphrase)
How does the Bodhisattva practice prajnaparamita? How are things from "form" to "Buddhahood" to be understood?
You should learn them as being "mere names".
How to learn that forms, etc. are "mere names", since as names such as "form" are apprehended along with the things that serve as their referents, "forms", etc. are not properly "mere names". If there is no referent, a name is not suitably a "mere name"; since if the objective referent exists, the word "mere" excludes nothing, and if it does not exist, neither does the name, since it is without referential basis.
Names from "form" to "Buddhahood" are coincidentially designated upon their referents, that is, that nominal designation is coincidential.
How is it correct that "form" should be coincidentially nominally designated, since the consideration "this form" does not arise by virtue of seeing a manifestation of form without (knowing) the name "form", but arises by virtue of names.
It is correct for the thought "form" to arise since form is established on strength of convention, existing in that mode even before a name has been attached to it.
Does a cognition that thinks "form" with regard to a phenomenon arise without depending on the name ("form")?
No. That does not happen.
For that very reason "forms", etc. are coincidential nominal designations.
When one apprehends phenomena from "form" to "Buddha", is it not that one only perceives the reality of forms, etc. which consists of nominal and conventional designations?
Since there are phenomena that serve as referential bases of nominal designations, is it not the case that forms, etc. have intrinsically real status?
As for the reality of forms, etc. the referents of conventional designations such as "forms", etc., it is no more than a mere mental construction.
Well then, what were you thinking when you questioned as before?
"Teach me the Dhamma, O Blessed One! Teach me the Dhamma, O One-Well-Gone, that will be for my long-term welfare and bliss."
"Then, Bahiya, you should train yourself thus: In reference to the seen, there will be only the seen. In reference to the heard, only the heard. In reference to the sensed, only the sensed. In reference to the cognized, only the cognized. That is how you should train yourself. When for you there will be only the seen in reference to the seen, only the heard in reference to the heard, only the sensed in reference to the sensed, only the cognized in reference to the cognized, then, Bahiya, there is no you in terms of that. When there is no you in terms of that, there is no you there. When there is no you there, you are neither here nor yonder nor between the two. This, just this, is the end of stress."
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The Questions of Maitreya Chapter of the Pañcaviṃśatisāhasrikā Prajñāpāramitā Sūtra:
All the best,
- Maitreya, view imaginary form (parikalpita rūpa) as without substantial existence (adravya). View designated form (vikalpita rūpa) as substantially existent because thought substantially exists, not because it arises independently. View the form of reality (dharmatā rūpa) as neither without substantial existence or substantially existent; [view it as] distinguished by [being] the ultimate....
Maitreya, this complete imagination of an entityness of form through [the use of the] name, discrimination, designation, or convention "form" for this or that conditioned thing, from "This is an imaginary form" to "This is an imaginary Buddha" [is imaginary form].
Conditioned things are expressed through designations that abide in a reality that is merely designated. Designated form is that which is [expressed by] the name, discrimination, designation, or convention, from "this is form," "this is feeling," this is discrimination," "this is compositional factors," "this is consciousness," to "these are the qualities of the Buddha."
[The reality of form] is the permanent and eternal sole entitynessless, the selflessness of phenomena, the thusness, and the limit of reality, [that is, the emptiness] of imaginary form in designated form, from "this is the reality of form" to "this is the reality of the qualities of the Buddha."
- Form and emptiness are to be abandoned because they do not exist. Regarding that, when emptiness is taught in order that [sentient beings] abandon the conception that form has signs [of inherent existence], they come to think that emptiness has signs. Signs are the observation of signs [of inherent existence] with regard to anything. Therefore, because it obstructs the realization of reality, the conception that emptiness is real is a sign. Hence, both form and emptiness are to be abandoned. For example, a person with poor vision was traveling. Along the right side of the path were thorns and ditches. Along the left side of the path were ravines and precipices. If a person with faultless vision had said, "There are thorns and ditches [on the right]," the person would have fallen into the ravines and off the precipices. If he had said, "There are ravines and precipices [on the left]," the person would have fallen into thorns and ditches. However, [a person with faultless vision] indicated that the middle path was pleasant and without the slightest obstacle. [The person with poor vision] arrived at his home. In accordance with that example, the person with poor vision is [both] the common being (pṛthagjana) impeded by the afflictive obstructions (kleśāvaraṇa) and the śrāvaka obstructed by the obstructions to omniscience (jñeyāvaraṇa). The thorns and ditches are attachment to the signs of persons, forms, and so forth, that is, falling to the extreme of saṃsāra. The ravines and precipices are attachment to the nirvāṇa of the śrāvakas, that is, falling to the extreme of emptiness. The person with vision is the Tathāgata. Because he sees with the clear eyes of wisdom that form is naturally empty, he does not abandon saṃsāra, because it is like an illusion. Because [he sees that] the three realms are like a dream, he does not even seek the qualities of nirvāṇa. Because he enters the middle path with signlessness (animitta), wishlessness (apraṇihita), and emptiness (śūnyatā), he arrives at the abode of the nonabiding nirvāṇa (apratiṣṭhitanirvāṇa). Therefore, since he taught that apprehending signs is a precipice and fault, signs are not to be held regarding existence or non-existence.
All the best,
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