Posted by: Soh

Third translation by the one thought traveler. Again if you know Chinese and can help out with or improve this translation, please post a comment or contact me, it will be much appreciated!

观自在的三个阶段 (The Three Stages of Observing/Contemplating Freedom)
(2012-07-31 08:44:30)

涉入修行,从一个凡夫到一位观自在菩萨,大约经历三步路: Embarking on cultivation, from being an ordinary person to becoming a Bodhisattva that observes/contemplates freedom (another name for Avalokitesvara Bodhisattva), there are roughly three steps to undergo:

一、观“自在”。 观“所”期。

1. Observe "freedom". Period of observing "object".


When reading these three words, the emphasis lies on the word "freedom", "freedom" is the object of observation. When an ordinary person practices, and begins to observe the actions of mind and body, walking-standing-sitting-lying down, whatever is performed is without obstructions... this is the coarsest level of "observing/contemplating freedom".


At this point in time, "observing" is a verb, "freedom" is an object, it is a verb-object structure. At this stage of observing, the emphasis lies in the object of observation, the object of mind, the "dusts" of all dharmas!


This stage of practice is the stage of "turning one's back on Awareness and uniting with the dust", the main results that come from such cultivation is concentration and tranquility. It belongs to the arena of cultivating samadhi.

This kind of observing still belongs to the observing of ordinary beings.


2. "Observing" freedom. Period of observing "Subject"


When reading these three words, the emphasis lies in the word "Observing". At this stage the emphasis lies in the Subject of observation.


This is "observing freedom" being evolved to another level, from the "observing the objects of mind" at the beginning, proceeding into beginning to observe the Mind itself, that is the changeless Subject in the midst of changes.


At this point, the word class of "Observing" , begins to be transformed from a verb into a noun, "Observing" is a Subject, "freedom" is an object, it is of a subject-object structure. At this stage the emphasis in contemplation lies in the Mind's Awareness-nature, that Mind's mirror which manifests when encountering dusts.


At this stage of Observing, it is the stage of "turning one's back on dust to unite with Awareness", or what practitioners often call "turning the perceiving around to perceive Self-Nature", "Observing the Observing", "Seeing the Seeing", "Hearing the Hearing", Awareness of Awareness", etc. From this phase onwards one begins to embark on practicing Wisdom.


This kind of Observing belongs to the observing of the Bodhisattva seat.

三、观自在。离能所期。Observing freedom. Period of departing from subject-object.


The observing of this point in time does not fall into the binds of dualism, it departs from Subject and Object. There is no Observer, there is no object of observation, there is purely a single mind's luminosity. Mind is like a clear mirror, attaining to the wisdom of the perfect great mirror wisdom.


At this point the words "observing freedom" means "observation - alone exists", "only 'observation' exists". At this point the sentence is no longer of a verb-object nor subject-object structure, it is purely a declarative sentence/statement, and does not contain any "action".


This is the period of leaving "subject, object", entering into the "dharma of non-action"/"unconditioned dharma", the period of becoming the "Great Bodhisattva", enjoying the "bliss of quiescent cessation", the period of becoming the "free man without anything to do", the period of realizing "all dharmas are without self-nature".


At this point one deeply understands, "the nature of all dharmas are originally empty, all appearances of dharmas are purely [the fabrications of] consciousness", directly experiencing "all dharmas are empty appearances". The state of the 260 words of Heart Sutra, is precisely seen in this kind of "contemplating/observing freedom". This is the Observing of Buddha that has crossed over to the other shore.


The above-mentioned three kinds of observing are gradual to some people and non-gradual to some people. Those practitioners at a lower state of evolution can only observe up to whatever is within and prior to his present state of evolution, whereas those practitioners at a higher level of evolution can simultaneously observe all states.
1 Response
  1. Anonymous Says:

    The buddha said:bhikkhus,whenever there is arising,ill(dukkha)is inevitable.

    One ,must strive hard to experience release from arising,only then can liberation possible