Lankavatara: Instructions for disciples

(p. 309)
343. The Yogin should regard the world as removed from birth and death, as not alternating between being and non-being, though it is seen in the aspect of qualified and qualifying.

344. When birth is not discriminated, the Yogin before long will attain Samadhi, the powers, the psychic faculties, and self-mastery.

345. The Yogin should not hold the belief that the world exists due to such causal agents as atoms, time or a supreme being, nor that it is born of causes and conditions.

346. From self-discrimination the world is imagined, arising from different types of habit-energy; let the Yogin always perceive existence as being like Maya and a dream.

347. True insight is always removed from assertions as well as from negations. Let him not discriminate the triple world [past, present, future] which appears as body, belongings, and abode.

348. Not thinking how to obtain food and drink but holding his body upright, let him pay homage over and over again to the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas.

349. Gathering truth from the Vinaya, from the teachings in the sutras, let the Yogin have a clear insight into the five Dharmas, Mind itself, and egolessness.

(p. 310)
350. The Yogin should have a distinct understanding of the undefiled truth of self-realisation and as to what the stages of Buddhahood are, and be anointed on the great lotus.

351. Wandering through all the paths [the six realms of existence] he becomes averse to existence, and directing his steps toward some quiet cemetery he will begin various practices.

(p. 311)
358. When Mind-only is understood, external objects are let go of and discrimination no longer takes place. Here the Middle Path is reached.

359. There is Mind-only; there is no world seen. As there is no world seen, the mind is not risen. This is what I teach to be the Middle Path.

360. Birth and no-birth, being and non-being—these are all empty. All things are without a self-nature; duality is not to be held on to.

361. Where there is no possibility of discrimination rising [in the extinction of thoughts and sensations–nirodha], the ignorant imagine there is emancipation; but not understanding the rising of a mind, how can they destroy their attachment to duality!

362. When it is understood that there is nothing but what is seen of Mind, the
attachment to duality is destroyed. Knowledge, indeed, is the letting go of attachment to the discriminated world, not its annihilation [in nirodha].

363. As it becomes thoroughly realised that there is nothing but what is seen of Mind, discrimination ceases. As discrimination ceases, Suchness is removed from intellection (citta).

364. If a man, seeing the rising [of things], nevertheless perceives Nirvana, this is the Nirvana of the sage, which is not annihilation.

365. This realisation is said by myself and the Buddhas to be Buddhahood. If there is any other discrimination, one is following the philosophers’ views.

366. Nothing is born, yet things are being born; nothing dies and yet things are passing away. (p. 312) Across millions of worlds what is seen simultaneously is like the reflection of the moon in water.

367. Wholeness being transformed into plurality, rain falls and fire burns. Just as one mind becomes [many] thoughts, Buddhas take on many forms to teach that there is Mind-only.

368. The mind is Mind-only; no-mind is also Mind-only. When this is understood, varieties of forms and appearances are [seen to be] of Mind-only.

369. By assuming the forms of Buddhas, Sravakas, Pratyekabuddhas and varieties of other forms, they teach [the Dharma of] Mind-only.

370. For the sake of beings they show their forms, from the formless and form realms down to the hells where the hell-dwellers are [the triple world]; all of this originates from Mind-only.

371. When they experience the turning-about they will attain the Samadhi called Maya-like (samadhi mayopama), the will-body (manomakaya), the ten stages, and self-mastery.

372. On account of self-discrimination which causes delusion and sets false imagination (parikalpita) in motion, the ignorant are bound up by delusion in everything they see, hear, think, or understand.

[Comment by the Editor: This is a reference to the practice of quietism, the extinction of thoughts and sensations (nirodha). With the mind made an utter blank there is no possibility of discrimination, and the practitioner imagines that this absence of sense-objects is emancipation. However, emancipation is not attained by making the mind blank, but by single-minded or one-pointed concentration as a way of exposing the illusory quality of the ego (atman). With the ego out of the way, one sees things as they truly are, as illusions or lacking a self-nature–Parinishpanna-svabhava.]


Suzuki, D. T. (1932). The-Lankavatara-Sutra: A Mahayana Text. Translated for the first time from the original Sanskrit. (

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