The Treatise on the Golden Lion

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Zhen Li
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The Treatise on the Golden Lion

Post by Zhen Li »

Fa-tsang's Treatise on the Golden Lion is, evidently, one of my favourites. I read it first in Buddhism: Introducing the Buddhist Experience, by Donald W. Mitchell, pp 216-218. It discusses the idea of the co-arising of the world using the gold of a statue as a simile for emptiness (li) and the lion taken as a whole form to represent phenomena (shih).

The gold has no self-nature. The arising of the lion is due only to dependence, so it is called dependent arising. The lion is empty [not self-sustaining]; there is only the gold. Also, emptiness, having no self-nature, manifests itself through form. This means that since the gold takes in the totality of the lion, apart from the gold there is no lion to be found. This means that when we see the lion coming into existence, we are seeing only the gold coming in to existence as form. There is nothing apart from the gold.

Then Fa-tsang presents the "Ten Mysterious Gates" to explain this:
(1) Emptiness comes into being simultaneously with phenomena.
(2) This simultaneity doesn't obstruct the existence of unique identities.
(3) Distinct forms interpenetrate and thus contain each other.
(4) Despite this, they remain unique.
(5) When one looks at phenomena, emptiness is hidden, and when one looks at emptiness, phenomena are hidden.
(6) Despite this, they are completely compatible.
(7) Each phenomena reflects an image of every other phenomena, infinitely.
(8) Speaking phenomenally is for revealing ignorance, speaking of emptiness is for revealing truth, they're two sides of the same coin.
(9) All phenomena arise in moments dependent on all other moments.
(10) Both phenomena and emptiness depend on mental transformations.

(1) The gold and the lion arise simultaneously, perfectly complete. (2) The gold and the lion arise compatible with each other, the one and the many not obstructing each other. In this situation, emptiness [li] and forms [shih] are distinct. Whether one considers the one [emptiness] of the many [forms], each entity maintains its own position.

(3) If the eye of the lion takes in the whole of the lion, then the whole lion is purely the eye. (4) Since the various organs, and even each hair of the lion, takes in completely the whole lion in so far as they are all gold, then each element of the lion penetrates the whole of the lion. The eye of the lion is its ear, its ear is its nose, its nose is its tongue, and its tongue is its body. Yet, they all exist freely and easily, not hindering or obstructing each other.

(5) If one contemplates the lion, there is only the lion, and the gold is not seen. The gold is hidden and the lion is manifest. If one contemplates the gold, there is only the gold, and the lion is not seen. The lion is hidden and the gold is manifest. (6) The gold and the lion may be hidden or manifest. The principle [emptiness] and the jointly arisen [phenomena] mutually shine. Principle and phenomena appear together as completely compatible.

(7) In each eye, ear, limb, joint and hair of the lion is reflected a golden lion. All these golden lions in all the hairs simultaneously enter in to a single hair. Thus in each hair, there are an infinite number of lions. In addition, all single hairs, together with the infinite number of lions, enter in to a single hair. In a similar way, there is an endless progression of realms interpenetrating realms just like the jewels of Indra's net.

(8) The lion is spoken of in order to demonstrate the result of ignorance, while its golden essence is spoken of in order to make clear its true nature. (9) This lion is a created dharma, arising and passing away in every moment. Yet, since the different periods of time are formed dependent on one another, they are merging harmoniously and mutually penetrating together without obstruction in each moment of time. (10) The gold and the lion may be hidden or manifest, but neither has any own-being. They are constantly being evolved through the transformations of the mind.

Wisdom means that when we see the lion, we realize right away that all dharmas are produced by causes, and are from the very beginning quiescent and empty. By being free from attachments to the world and from renunciation of the world, one flows along this way into the sea of perfect knowledge, and the afflictions that result from desires will no longer be produced. Whether one sees beauty or ugliness, the mind is calm like the sea. Wrong views cease, and there are no negative mental formations. One escapes bondage, is free from hindrances, and forever cuts the roots of duhkha. This is called the entry into Nirvana.


:anjali:
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Re: The Treatise on the Golden Lion

Post by tingdzin »

Yes, this is a brilliant teaching
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Re: The Treatise on the Golden Lion

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May all seek, find & follow the Path of Buddhas.
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Zhen Li
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Re: The Treatise on the Golden Lion

Post by Zhen Li »

Thanks Will, I had been searching for another translation. :anjali:
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Re: The Treatise on the Golden Lion

Post by Nicholas Weeks »

Zhen Li wrote:Thanks Will, I had been searching for another translation. :anjali:
Also Scribd has several copies of Chan's classic work A Source Book in Chinese Philosophy which has the Golden Lion - that is where I first read it.
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Re: The Treatise on the Golden Lion

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May all seek, find & follow the Path of Buddhas.
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Re: The Treatise on the Golden Lion

Post by Nicholas Weeks »

Also see Fung's A History of Chinese Philosophy, volume 2:339 ff. He devotes 20 pages to translating Fa Tsang's work.
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Re: The Treatise on the Golden Lion

Post by Nicholas Weeks »

This is Bodde's translation of a passage of Fazang's Hundred Theories:
The one is the many, and only thus may be called the one. The many are the one, and only thus may be called the many. There is no separate one outside of the many, from which we may know that within the many lies the one. But there are also no separate many outside of the one, from which we may know that within the one lie the many. Not many, yet it can be one within the many. Not one, yet they can me many within the one.
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Re: The Treatise on the Golden Lion

Post by SeekerNo1000003 »

Awesome treatise, thank you for sharing.
AmericanBuddhism
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Re: The Treatise on the Golden Lion

Post by AmericanBuddhism »

Hi - where can I read the rest of this?
Nicholas Weeks wrote: Fri Feb 28, 2014 10:18 pm This is Bodde's translation of a passage of Fazang's Hundred Theories:
The one is the many, and only thus may be called the one. The many are the one, and only thus may be called the many. There is no separate one outside of the many, from which we may know that within the many lies the one. But there are also no separate many outside of the one, from which we may know that within the one lie the many. Not many, yet it can be one within the many. Not one, yet they can me many within the one.
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Re: The Treatise on the Golden Lion

Post by Svalaksana »

Thanks for this, I've been looking for a book containing the full translation of The Treatise on the Golden Lion for some time now.
Looking but not seeing - that's my eye.
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Speaking but not expressing - that's my tongue.
Traveling but not going - that's my path.
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Re: The Treatise on the Golden Lion

Post by FiveSkandhas »

Also recommended is Thomas Cleary's Entry into the Inconceivable: An Introduction to Hua-yen Buddhism . It has similar conceptual schema presented in essays from the Hua-yen thinkers Tu Shun, Cheng-kuan, Chih-yen, as well as Fa-tsang. (Fazang, as spelled in more contemporary style in this thread). They form a fine suite of thinkers.

Clearly also did an English translation of the entire Avatamsaka Sutra. I don't know if these translations from the 1970s have since been improved upon, but they are pioneering and comprehensive.
"One should cultivate contemplation in one’s foibles. The foibles are like fish, and contemplation is like fishing hooks. If there are no fish, then the fishing hooks have no use. The bigger the fish is, the better the result we will get. As long as the fishing hooks keep at it, all foibles will eventually be contained and controlled at will." -Zhiyi

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Re: The Treatise on the Golden Lion

Post by Svalaksana »

Yes, I had come across "Entry into the Inconceivable: An Introduction to Hua-yen Buddhism" while I was looking from Fazang's Golden Lion and I shall acquire it in a near future.

I managed to get Cleary's single volume translation of the Avatamsaka Sutra a couple of months ago, certainly will give it a study after getting into Vasubandhu's Ornament of Abhidharma probably.
Looking but not seeing - that's my eye.
Thinking but not minding - that's my mind.
Speaking but not expressing - that's my tongue.
Traveling but not going - that's my path.
humble.student
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Re: The Treatise on the Golden Lion

Post by humble.student »

AmericanBuddhism wrote: Fri Nov 20, 2020 4:05 pm Hi - where can I read the rest of this?
In Bodde’s translation of Feng Youlan’s A History of Chinese Philosophy.
taleen
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Re: The Treatise on the Golden Lion

Post by taleen »

There should be an English translation in this book too -

https://anlacpublications.com/399-2/
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Re: The Treatise on the Golden Lion

Post by Nicholas Weeks »

Another book source is Chang's Buddhist Teaching of Totality which has comments and a complete translation.
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