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The Gospel of Buddha

A modern retelling of the Buddha's work and life.

Chapter 55 - One Essence, One Law, One Aim

THE Tathagata addressed the venerable Kassapa, to dispel the uncertainty and doubt of his mind, and he said:

"All things are made of one essence, yet things are different according to the forms which they assume under different impressions. As they form themselves so they act, and as they act so they are. It is, Kassapa, as if a potter made different vessels out of the same clay. Some of these pots are to contain sugar, others rice, others curds and milk; others still are vessels of impurity. There is no diversity in the clay used; the diversity of the pots is only due to the moulding hands of the potter who shapes them for the various uses that circumstances may require.

"And as all things originate from one essence, so they are developing according to one law and they are destined to one aim which is Nirvana. Nirvana comes to thee, Kassapa, when thou understandest thoroughly, and when thou livest according to thy understanding, that all things are of one essence and that there is but one law. Hence, there is but one Nirvana as there is but one truth, not two or three.

"And the Tathagata is the same unto all beings, differing in his attitude only in so far as all beings are different. The Tathagata recreates the whole world like a cloud shedding its waters without distinction. He has the same sentiments for the high as for the low, for the wise as for the ignorant, for the noble minded as for the immoral.

"The great cloud full of rain comes up in this wide universe covering all countries and oceans to pour down its rain everywhere, over all grasses, shrubs, herbs, trees of various species, families of plants of different names growing on the earth, on the hills, on the mountains, or in the valleys. Then, Kassapa, the grasses, shrubs, herbs, and wild trees suck the water emitted from that great cloud which is all of one essence and has been abundantly poured down; and they will, according to their nature, acquire a proportionate development, shooting up and producing blossoms and their fruits in season. Rooted in one and the same soil, all those families of plants and germs are quickened by water of the same essence.

"The Tathagata, however, O Kassapa, knows the law whose essence is salvation, and whose end is the peace of Nirvana. He is the same to all, and yet knowing the requirements of every single being, he does not reveal himself to all alike. He does not impart to them at once the fullness of omniscience, but pays attention to the disposition of various beings."

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