Chapter 11: The Fully Enlightened One
The Lord asked: What do you think, Subhuti, does it occur to the Tathagata, “By me has dharma been demonstrated”? Whosoever, Subhuti, would say, “The Tathagata has demonstrated dharma,” he would speak falsely, he would misrepresent me by seizing on what is not there.
And why?.Because not even the least dharma is there found or got at. Therefore is it called “utmost, right and perfect enlightenment.”
Furthermore, Subhuti, self-identical is that dharma, and nothing is therein at variance. Therefore is it called “utmost, right and perfect enlightenment.” Self-identical through the absence of a self, a being, a soul, or a person, the utmost, right and perfect enlightenment is fully known as the totality of all the wholesome dharmas..
What do you think, Subhuti, does it occur to a tathagata, “by me have beings been set free”?
Not thus should you see it, Subhuti!
And why? There is not any being whom the Tathagata has set free.
Further the Lord taught on that occasion the following stanzas:
Those who by my form did see me,
And those who followed me by voice
Wrong the efforts they engaged in,
Me those people will not see.
From the dharma should one see the buddhas,
From the dharma-bodies comes their guidance.
Yet dharma’s true nature cannot be discerned.
And no one can be conscious of it as an object..
Whosoever says that the Tathagata goes or comes, stands, sits or lies down, he does not understand the meaning of my teaching.
And why? “Tathagata” is called one who has not gone anywhere, nor come from anywhere. Therefore is he called “the Tathagata, the arhat, the fully enlightened one.”
To recapitulate: The Lord said: The Tathagata speaks in accordance with reality, speaks the truth, speaks of what is, not otherwise.. “Tathagata,” Subhuti, is synonymous with true suchness.
The word suchness is of immense importance in Buddha’s approach towards reality. The word suchness is as important in Buddhism as God is in other religions.
The Buddhist word for suchness is tathata. It means, “Seeing things are such, don’t take any attitude, don’t make any opinion, don’t judge or condemn.” The Buddhist meditation consists of suchness. The method is very practical and very deep going. Buddha has said to his disciples, “Just watch things as they are, without interfering.” For example, you have a headache. The moment you note it, immediately the opinion enters that this is not good: “Why should I have a headache? What should I do not to have it?” You are immediately worried, you have taken an opinion, you are against it, you have started repressing it. Either you have to repress it chemically, through an Aspro or Novalgin, or you have to repress it in the consciousness - you don’t look at it, you put it aside. You get involved in something else, you want to be distracted in something else so you can forget it. But in both ways you have missed suchness.
What will Buddha suggest? Buddha says take note twice, “Headache, headache.” Don’t feel inimical towards it, neither friendly nor antagonistic. Just take simple note, as if it has nothing to do with you: “Headache, headache.” And remain undisturbed, undistracted, uninfluenced by it, without any opinion.