Queequeg found this excerpt also. See the Six Identities thread.
2. The Six Identities [10b7–11a14 (Taisho reference)]
[Next,] manifesting the positive in terms of [the levels of attainment of] the Six Identities]: are these “positive” ¡ with regard to the beginner, or are they “positive” with regard to one at a later [advanced stage of attainment]?
Answer: As [it says in] the Ta chih tu lun concerning a burning torch, “It is neither at the beginning nor separate from the beginning; neither at the end nor separate from the end.” If one is endowed with both wisdom and faith, then upon hearing that a single thought-moment is identical with the positive [aspects that are conducive to bodhicitta], faith will keep one from denigrating [what one does not understand], and wisdom will keep one from being apprehensive [about one’s inability to attain enlightenment]. [In this case,] both the beginning and later [stages] are positive. If one does not have faith, then [one despairs that] the exalted levels of the sage are not part of one’s own wisdom, and if one does not have wisdom, one becomes arrogant and thinks that one is already equal to a Buddha. [In this case,] both the beginning and the later are negative [and not conducive to attaining bodhicitta].
For these reasons one should know the Six Identities:
1. Identity in principle (of reality)
2. Verbal identity
3. Identity in contemplative practice
4. Identity in resemblance
5. Identity in partial realization
6. Ultimate identity
These six [levels of] identity begin with [the stages of] the ordinary ignorant person and end with [the stage of] the Noble One [=Buddha]. Since one begins at [the stage of] the ordinary person, one can purge doubt and fear, and since one
ends at [the stage of] the Noble One, one can purge arrogance.
1. Identity in Principle (of Reality) [10b15]
Identity in principle means that one single thought-moment is identical with the principle of the tathagata-garbha. It is identical with emptiness because of its suchness (tatha), identical with conventional existence because of its function as
a treasure-house (garbha) [in appearing in the world in various forms], and identical with the Middle because of its [participation in the] principle [of reality]. The three wisdoms are included in a single thought, though this is beyond conceptual understanding. As explained above, threefold truth is one truth, though neither three nor one; each and every color and scent is endowed with all of reality (sarvadharma). Every single thought is also like this. This is called “identity in principle” which is positive [and conducive to right] bodhicitta.
Also, this “identity in principle” is indivisible with calming-and-contemplation. [That each moment of thought is] indivisible with quiescence is called “calming,” and [that each moment of thought is] indivisible with luminosity is called “contemplation.”
2. Verbal Identity [10b20]
Even though there is already identity in principle, this may not be known in your daily life. If you have not heard of the threefold truth and are completely unaware of the Buddha Dharma, you are like cattle or sheep whose eyes do not comprehend the [eight] directions. When you hear of the one true bodhi-wisdom as explained above—whether from a teacher or from [reading] the scripture scrolls)—attain penetrating understanding within [the limits of] words, and know that all dharmas are the Buddha Dharma, this is bodhi[citta] as indivisible with words.
This is also called “verbal cessation-and-contemplation.” If you rush from place to place in search of [the truth] when you have not yet heard [these teachings], and then hear them, and the mind striving upward finally finds rest—this is called
“cessation” [at the verbal level]. To have faith in [a verbal and conceptual understanding of] Dharma-nature and not [yet] have faith in the variety [of wider implications] is called contemplation or insight [at the verbal level].
3. Identity in Contemplative Practice [10b26]
Identity in contemplative practice means that if you merely hear the verbal and oral explanation [of the Buddha Dharma], you are like an insect chewing on wood and accidentally making letters. That insect does not know whether [the marks it is making] are letters or not letters. If you do not have penetrating understanding, how can you have bodhi-wisdom? It is imperative that your mental insight is clear and full, so that there is a correspondence between the principle [of reality] and your wisdom, that your actions are in accordance with your words, and that your words are in accordance with your actions.
The Kusalamula says, “[There are those] who speak much but do not practice; I do not rely on words, but practice bodhi solely in the mind.” When mind and mouth are in correspondence with each other, this is the bodhi[citta] of contemplative practice.
Four verses of the Ta chih tu lun evaluate being endowed with wisdom through hearing [the Dharma]. This [endowment of wisdom] is comparable to when the eye gains [illumination from] the sun, things are illumined fully and without distortion. Contemplative practice is also like this. You do not stop your mental contemplation even though you have not yet fathomed the principle [of reality]. This [practice] is like the simile in the Surangama Samadhi Sutra of shooting arrows at a target. This is called the bodhi[citta] of contemplative practice.
This is also called the “cessation-and-contemplation of contemplative practice.” To constantly produce these thoughts is called “contemplation” [at the level of contemplative practice], and to suspend other thoughts is called “cessation” [at the level of contemplative practice].
4. Identity in Resemblance [10c6]
Positive bodhi[citta] [at the level] of identity in resemblance means that your contemplation becomes increasingly clear and your cessation becomes increasingly quiescent, as one learns archery and hits the target more accurately. This [improvement] is called contemplative wisdom that [increasingly] resembles [that of the Buddha]. [As it says in the Lotus Sutra, at this level of your understanding,] all the worldly occupations that sustain life are in no way contradictory [to the
practice of the Buddha Dharma], and your thoughts and conceptions are all what have already been expounded in the sutras by previous Buddhas. It is as explained [in the Lotus Sutra] concerning the purification of the six senses. [At this level] “cessation” is the perfect overcoming of ignorance, and “contemplation” resembles the meaning of the Middle Path.
5. Identity in Partial Realization [10c11]
Identity in partial realization means that by the power of the contemplation [achieved at the previous level] of resemblance, you enter the stage of the copper wheel. [At this level] first you destroy ignorance and perceive Buddha-nature, opening the storehouse of treasures and manifesting true thusness. This is called the bodhi[citta] [of the stages] of abodes. Eventually you reach [the stage of] “(almost) equivalent to awakening” as ignorance becomes minute and weak, and wisdom in turn grows prominent. This [progress] is like [the lunar cycle where] from the first day to the fourteenth day the disk of the moon [gradually] becomes round and perfect as the dark area [gradually] disappears. If you wish to attain enlightenment with the body of a Buddha, then you pass through the eight highlights for attaining the path if you are to attain the path with the body of one of the other nine destinies, you appear in various incarnations [as a bodhisattva, such as Avalokitešvara] in the “Gateway to Everywhere” chapter [of the Lotus Sutra], as explained extensively in the sutras.
This is called bodhi[citta] [at the level] of Partial Realization. It is also called “partial realization of cessation-and-contemplation,” and “partial realization of wisdom and severence [of passions].”
6. Ultimate Identity [10c17]
Bodhi[citta] [at the level of] ultimate identity means [advancing] one more step from [the level of] “[almost] equivalent to awakening” to enter subtle (sub-lime) awakening, where the light of wisdom is perfect and complete and does not need to increase any more. This is called the fruit which is bodhi-wisdom. Nothing more is severed at the time of mahaparinirvana. This is called the fruit of fruits. A person [at the stage of] “equivalent to awakening” does not pass [to this fruit]; only a Buddha is able to pass. There is no path to expound beyond [the last letter in the Siddham alphabet]. Therefore this is called “ultimate bodhi,” and is also called “ultimate cessation and contemplation.”
7. Summary [10c21]
To use a simile to illustrate all [Six Identities]:
1. a poor person has a house with a store of [buried] treasure, but does not know about it.
2. A friend points this out, and they come to know about it.
3. They clear away the weeds and dig,
4. until gradually they come near to getting [the treasure].
5. They approach and open the treasure, and
6. they exhaustively take it out and use it.
By putting together these six similes, one can understand [the Six Identities].