Armed with the great armour, the Bodhisattva should so develop that he does not
take his stand on any of these: not on form, feeling, perception, impulses,
consciousness; not on eye, ear, nose, tongue, body, mind; not on forms,
sounds, smells, tastes, touchables, mind-objects; not on eye-consciousness,
etc., until we come to: not on mind-consciousness, etc., until we come to:
not on the elements, i.e., earth, water, fire, wind, ether, consciousness: not
on the pillars of mindfulness, right efforts, roads to psychic power, faculties,
powers, limbs of enlightenment, limbs of the Path;
not on the fruits of Streamwinner, Once-Returner, Never-Returner, or Arhatship; not on
Pratyekabuddhahood, nor on Buddhahood. He should not take his stand on
the idea that 'this is form,' 'this is feeling,' etc., to: 'this is Buddhahood.'
He should not take his stand on the ideas that 'form, etc., is permanent,
[or] impermanent'; that 'form is ease or ill'; that 'form is the self, or
not the self,' that 'form is lovely or repulsive,' that 'form is empty, or
apprehended as something.' He should not take his stand on the notion
that the fruits or the holy life derive their dignity from the Uncondilioned.
Or that a Streamwinner is worthy of gifts, and will be reborn seven times
at the most. Or that a Once-Returner is worthy of gifts, and will, as he has
not yet quite won through to the end, make an end of ill after he has once
more come into this world. Or that a Never-Returner is worthy of gifts,
and will, without once more returning to this world, win Nirvana elsewhere.
Or that an Arhat is worthy of gifts, and will just here in this very
existence win Nirvana in the realm of Nirvana that leaves nothing behind.
Or that a Pratyekabuddha is worthy of gifts, and will win Nirvana after
rising above the level of a Disciple, but without having attained the level of
a Buddha. That a Buddha is worthy of gifts, and will win Nirvana in the
Buddha-Nirvana, in the realm of Nirvana that leaves nothing behind, after
he has risen above the levels of a common man, of a Disciple, and of a
Pratyekabuddha, wrought the weal of countless beings, Ied to Nirvana
countless hundreds of thousands of niyutas of kotis of beings, assured
countless beings of Discipleship, Pratyekabuddhahood and full Buddhahood,
stood on the stage of a Buddha and done a Buddha's work,
- even thereon a Bodhisattva should not take his stand.
Thereupon the Venerable Sariputra thought to himself: If even thereon
one should not take one's stand, how then should one stand, and train
oneself? The Venerable Subhuti, through the Buddha's might, read his
thoughts and said: What do you think, Sariputra, where did the Tathagata
Sariputra: Nowhere did the Tathagata stand, because his mind sought
no support. He stood neither in what is conditioned, nor in what is unconditioned,
nor did he emerge from them.