The Mahāyāna Mahāparinirvāṇa Sūtra is one of the major sutras of Mahāyāna Buddhism. Its main teachings centre on the eternity of the Buddha, the reality of the True Self, and the presence of the Buddha-dhatu (Buddha Nature) in all beings. Simple name: Nirvāṇa Sūtra....
"Also, next, O good man! How does the Bodhisattva-mahasattva practise the Way of the All-Wonderful Sutra of Great Nirvana and perfect the seventh virtue? The Bodhisattva-mahasattva, having practised the Way of the All-Wonderful Sutra of Great Nirvana, thinks: “What is the proximate cause of Great Nirvana? The Bodhisattva knows that four things are the proximate cause of Great Nirvana.” A person might say that the practice of all kinds of penance constitutes the proximate cause. But this is not so. Why not? There are no other than four by which one may arrive at Nirvana. What are the four?
"Firstly, one associates with a good teacher of the Way; secondly, one listens to Dharma exclusively; thirdly, one thinks exclusively [about Dharma]; fourthly, one practises the Way according to Dharma.
"O good man! As an example: there is a man who has various illnesses - fever, cold, vague weariness, loose bowels, ague, various kinds of evil poisoning - and he goes to a good doctor. The good doctor speaks of medicine in relation to the nature of the illness. The man faithfully follows the doctor's instructions, makes up the medicine as directed and takes it as instructed. On his having partaken of it, his illnesses retreat and he gains health and peace.
"This sick man is analogous to the Bodhisattva; the great doctor is comparable to the good teacher of the Way; the instructions can be compared to the vaipulya sutras; the faithful following of those instructions to meditating upon the vaipulya sutras; preparing the medicine as directed can be compared to practising the Way in accordance with the assisting directions constituted in the 37 Bodhyangas [factors of Enlightenment]; curing the illnesses can be compared to the extinction of defilements; and gaining peace and happiness can be compared to the gaining of the Eternal, Bliss, Self, and the Pure of Nirvana.
"O good man! As an example: there is a king who wishes to govern his state in a lawful way and to enable the people to enjoy peace, and he asks his wise ministers how to do this. All the ministers tell of the laws that have obtained until now. The king listens, puts faith in what he has been told, acts faithfully, and governs according to law, and there is nobody who entertains any ill will [against him]. Thus the people enjoy peace and have no worries.
"O good man! The king is comparable to the Bodhisattva; all his wise ministers to the good teachers of the Way; what the wise ministers advise the king regarding the lawful governance of his state to the 12 types of sutra; the king's listening and acting faithfully is comparable to the Bodhisattva's meditating upon all the profound meanings of the 12 types of sutra; the lawful administration of the state is comparable to practising the law of all Bodhisattvas, namely the six so-called paramitas; saying that there now remains no enemy is comparable to the Bodhisattva's segregating himself from the bonds of the evil robbers of all the defilements; and attaining peace is comparable to the Bodhisattva's gaining the Eternal, Bliss, Self, and the Pure of Great Nirvana.
"O good man! As an example: there is here a man who contracts hateful leprosy. A good teacher of the Way says to him: “Go to Mount Sumeru and you will see your illness cured. Why? Because there is good, sweet, medicinal amrta [ambrosia] there. Once this has been taken, there is never an instance where a cure does not ensue.” The man faithfully follows his words, goes to the mountain, takes the medicine, and obtains the cure for his illness, and there is peace. The case is thus.
"This hateful leprosy is comparable to the common mortal; the good teacher of the Way to all Bodhisattvas; the faithful following [of instructions] to the four immeasurable minds [i.e. of love, compassion, sympathetic joy, and equanimity]; Mount Sumeru to the Noble Eightfold Path; the amrta to the Buddha-Nature; the curing of the leprosy to the extinction of defilement; and the attaining of peace to the gaining of the Eternal, Bliss, Self and the Pure of Nirvana.
"O good man! As [another] example: there is a man who has many disciples and who is extremely erudite. He teaches untiringly day and night. It is the same with all Bodhisattvas. Whether all beings believe them or not, they go on teaching untiringly.
"O good man! We say “teacher of the Way”. This is none other than the Buddha, the Bodhisattva, pratyekabuddha, sravaka, and those who believe in the vaipulya, etc. Why do we say “good teacher of the Way”? The good teacher of the Way teaches beings well and enables them to do away with the ten evil deeds and practise the ten good deeds. That is why we say “good teacher of the Way”.
"Also, next, the good teacher of the Way speaks of the Way just as it ought to be taught and himself acts as he ought to act.
"Why do we say that we speak as we ought to speak and act as we ought to act? We refrain from killing and teach others not to kill. And we have the right view and teach the right view to others. If matters stand thus, we say that such a person is a true, good teacher of the Way. A person practises the Way of Enlightenment and also teaches others the Way of Enlightenment. Thus we say “good teacher of the Way”. We practise faith, morality, giving, listening, and Wisdom for our own sake, and also teach others faith, morality, giving, listening, and Wisdom. So, too, we say “good teacher of the Way”.
"We say “good teacher of the Way” because there is Wonderful Dharma. What is Wonderful Dharma? One does not seek bliss for one's own sake; one always seeks peace and bliss for others' sake. On seeing a fault in others, one does not reproach them with their shortcomings, but always speaks what is purely good. So we say “good teacher of the Way”.
"O good man! The moon that hangs in the heavens waxes from the first of the month up to the fifteenth. So do things obtain with the good teacher of the Way. One causes all those who study the Way to segregate themselves from evil and to grow in good deeds.
"O good man! If a person who approaches a good teacher of the Way does not have: 1) maintenance of sila [morality], 2) samadhi [deep meditation], 3) Wisdom, 4) liberation and 5) knowledge of liberation [i.e. “’asamasama-panca-skandha“’: the fivefold-body concept of the Buddha, which refers to Enlightenment itself], these will come about. If these are not [yet] perfect, they will grow. Why? Because of associating with a good teacher of the Way. Through such association, a person comes to the profound meaning of the 12 types of sutra. When a person comes to the profound meaning of the 12 types of sutra, we say that he has heard Dharma. To hear Dharma means none other than to hear the Mahayana vaipulya sutras. To hear the vaipulya is to hear Dharma. True hearing is none other than hearing the teaching of the Sutra of Great Nirvana. In the Great Nirvana, we see the Buddha-Nature, and we hear that the Tathagata does not ultimately enter Parinirvana. Hence, we say that we excusively hear Dharma. Exclusively hearing Dharma is none other than the Noble Eightfold Path. By means of the Noble Eightfold Path, we thoroughly do away with greed, hatred and delusion. Hence, hearing Dharma.
"Now, hearing Dharma relates to the 11 shunyatas. Due to these voids, we see no form in anything. Now, hearing Dharma begins with the first aspiration and proceeds up to the ultimate unsurpassed Bodhi Mind. By gaining the first aspiration, one gains Great Nirvana. Through hearing, one does not gain Great Nirvana; by practising, one attains Great Nirvana.
"O good man! As an illustration: a person suffering from illness might hear of a medicinal teaching or the name of a medicine, but cannot gain a cure for his illness. By partaking [of the medicine], he can make away with it. A person might well hear of the depths of meaning of the 12 links of interdependent origination, but he cannot make away with all the defilements. Segregation can only result when, with a careful mind, he meditates upon [such matters]. This is the third careful meditation.
"And again, why do we say “careful meditation”? This is none other than the three samadhis of the Void, non-thought, and non-doing. We say “Void”. This is seeing nothing that is real in the 25 existences. Non-doing means that one has no desire to possess the 25 existences. Non-form means that one sees no form in the ten characteristics, namely of: colour, sound, smell, taste, touch, birth, abiding, death, male, and female. The practice of the three samadhis is the Bodhisattva's careful meditation.
"What is the practising of the Way by Dharma? Practising by Dharma is to practise danaparamita or up to prajnaparamita. This is to know the true state of the five skandhas, the 18 [sensory] realms and the 12 [sensory] spheres, and sravakas and pratyekabuddhas walk one and the same way, and that this leads to Nirvana.
"“’Dharma is the Eternal, Bliss, the Self and the Pure, non-birth, non-ageing, non-illness, non-death, non-hunger, non-thirst, non-suffering, non-worry, non-retrogressiveness, and non-drowningness “’[emphasis added].“’
“’ "O good man! One who knows the meaning of Great Nirvana realises the fact that all Buddhas do not ultimately enter Nirvana.
"O good man! The foremost and true teacher of the Way is the so-called Bodhisattva and the All-Buddha-World-Honoured One. Why? Because they are always well trained in three things. What are the three? The first is uttermost gentle words; the second is uttermost reproach; and the third is gentle words and reproaching. Due to these, the Bodhisattvas and Buddhas are the best good teachers of the Way.
"Also, next, the Bodhisattvas and all Buddhas are good doctors. Why? They know illnesses and medicines and prescribe medicine in accordance with the illness. For example, a good doctor is well versed in eight things. He first sees the nature of the illness, which is threefold. What are the three? They are: wind, heat, and water. To one who suffers from wind he gives butter; to one suffering from fever he gives sugar; to one suffering from water he gives a decoction of ginger. He knows the cause of the illness, gives medicine, and a cure ensues. So we say “good doctor”. It is the same with the Buddha and Bodhisattvas. They know that all beings possess the three kinds of illness, which are: greed, anger, and ignorance. One suffering from the illness of greed is taught to meditate on white bones; one suffering from anger is taught loving-kindness; one suffering from ignorance is made to meditate on the 12 links of interdependent origination. So we call all Buddhas and Bodhisattvas good teachers of the Way. O good man! For example, since a master mariner passes people across to the other shore, we call him a great master mariner. It is the same with all Buddhas and Bodhisattvas. They pass all beings across the great ocean of birth and death. So they are good teachers of the Way.
"Also, next, O good man! It is because beings are made to practise the cause of good by Buddhas and Bodhisattvas. O good man! Just as, for example, the Himalayas are the basic place where all kinds of wonderful medicine can be found, so is it the same with the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas. They are the place where goodness springs forth. So we say good teachers of the Way. O good man! In the Himalayas, we have a very fragrant medicine called “saha”. If one sees this, one can be blessed with immortality, and when one sees it, there will be no pain of illness. Even the four poisons cannot harm one. If one touches it, one's life extends up to 120. If meditated upon, one can read one's own past. Why? Because of its medicinal power. It is the same with all Buddhas and Bodhisattvas. If one sees them, one can make away with all the worries of defilement. The four Maras cannot wreak their havoc. [If this medicine is] touched, one cannot die an untimely death. It is birthlessness and deathlessness, retrogressionlessness and drowninglessness. To touch means to be with the Buddha and hear his sermons. [These having been] meditated on, one attains unsurpassed Enlightenment. Hence, we call Buddhas and Bodhisattvas the good teachers of the Way.
"O good man! In Gandhamadana there is a lake called Anavatapta. From this lake emerge four rivers, namely: the Ganges, Indus, Sita, and Vaksu. Worldly people always say: “Any sinful person will gain absolution if he bathes in these rivers.” Know that all this is false and not true. Other than this, what can be true? All Buddhas and Bodhisattvas take this as true [i.e. bathing in the company of Buddhas and Bodhisattvas gives absolution]. Why? Befriending these, one can do away with all sins. So we say “good teachers of the Way”.
"Also, further, O good man! As an illustration: all the medicinal trees, all the forests, cereals, sugar-cane, flowers and fruits of the great earth are about to perish on encountering a long drought, until the naga kings, Nanda and Upananda, pitying the people, come out of the great sea and bestow sweet rain. And all the forests and bushes, hundreds of cereals, grass and trees receive moisture and return to life. It is the same situation with all beings. When the root of good is about to die out, all Buddhas and Bodhisattvas enact loving-kindness and cause the rain of amrta [Immortality] to fall from the sea of Wisdom and enable all beings to be perfect again in the ten good deeds. Therefore, we call all Buddhas and Bodhisattvas the good teachers of the Way.
"O good man! A good doctor is well versed in the eight medicinal arts. When he sees a patient, he does not see his caste, rightness in attitude or ugliness, wealth or treasure. And he cures all. So we say “great doctor”. The same is the case with all Buddhas and Bodhisattvas. They see the illness of defilement of all beings, but not their caste, their good or bad outer garb, wealth or treasure. With a mind of loving-kindness, they speak of Dharma. Having heard this, beings do away with the illness of defilement. For this reason, alll Buddhas and Bodhisattvas are called the good teachers of the Way. Befriending [such] a good friend, one approaches Mahaparinirvana.
"How does the Bodhisattva approach Mahaparinirvana just by giving ear to Dharma? All beings, when they hear Dharma, gain the root of faith. When one gains the root of faith, one's mind cares to look towards giving, morality, patience, effort, meditation, and Wisdom, by which one reaches the stages of srotapanna up to Buddhahood. Thus one should know that it is due to giving ear to Dharma that one arrives at Wonderful Dharma.
"O good man! As an example: a rich man has an only son. He sends this son abroad and sells what he has. He points out to him where the road is closed or open, and warns him to take care. He says: “Should you encounter a lusty woman, take care not to befriend her. If you come into close relations with her, you will lose your life and wealth. Also, take care not to befriend any bad persons.” The son follows his father's words. He is safe and obtains much wealth. The same is the case here. So do matters stand with the Bodhisattva-mahasattva, who expounds Dharma for beings' sake. He points out to all beings and to the four classes of the Sangha where the road is passable and where it is closed. All these people, as they give ear to the teaching, are able to do away with all evil and be perfect in Wonderful Dharma. For this reason, one approaches Mahaparinirvana by giving ear to the teaching.
"O good man! For example, just as a clear mirror fully reflects one's features, so does it obtain with giving ear to the teaching. If one looks into this, one clearly sees what is good and evil, and nothing is concealed. For that reason, giving ear to Dharma brings one near to Mahaparinirvana.
"O good man! There is, for example, a merchant who desires to reach a beach of treasures, but does not know the way. A man points the way out to him. Following his words faithfully, he reaches the beach of treasures and obtains innumerably diverse good things. It is the same with all beings. They wish to reach a good place and come upon treasures, but do not know where the way is blocked or open. The Bodhisattva shows them this. The beings follow the way indicated and reach the good place, and arrive at unsurpassed Nirvana. Hence, giving ear to Dharma enables one to draw near to Mahaparinirvana.
"O good man! For example, there is an intoxicated elephant, which is mad and behaves badly and means to harm people. But when the driver pricks its head with a great iron hook, it immediately becomes obedient, with its evil intention of harming totally gone. The same with all beings. Due to the intoxication of greed, anger and ignorance, they mean to do evil. But all Bodhisattvas suppress this with the hook of giving ear to Dharma, and they no more can raise the mind towards any evil. For this reason, we say that giving ear to Dharma enables one to draw close to Mahaparinirvana. That is why I say here and there in the sutras that as my disciples practise the 12 types of sutra exclusively, they make away with the five shadowings [“’pancavaranani“;’ perhaps the five “’nivaranas“ ’("obstructions", "hindrances", "coverings") are meant here, i.e. desire; anger; drowsiness and torpor; excitability and remorse; and doubt] and practise the seven factors of Enlightenment [i.e. mindulness“; ’discriminative investigation of Dharma; vigour“; ’joy; tranquillity in body and mind; samadhi; and equanimity]. By practising the seven factors of Enlightenment, one draws near to Mahaparinirvana. On hearing Dharma, a person of the stage of srotapanna segregates himself from fear. How so? The rich man, Sudatta, being seriously ill, greatly fears. He hears that Sariputra says that a srotapanna has four virtues and ten consolations. When he hears this, fear leaves him. Thus, giving ear to Dharma enables one to come near to Mahaparinirvana. How? Because one gains the Dharma-Eye.
"There are three types of person in the world. The first has no eyes; the second has one eye; and the third has two eyes. The person with no eyes does not always listen to Dharma. The person with one eye listens to Dharma for a time, but his mind is not settled. The person with two eyes listens with an exclusive mind and acts just as he has heard. Of hearing, we know that there are three such kinds. For this reason, giving ear to Dharma brings one close to Mahaparinirvana.
"O good man! I once was in Kusinagara, when Sariputra became sick and was suffering from an illness. At that time, I looked back to Ananda and had him speak extensively of Dharma. Then Sariputra, having heard this, said to his four disciples: “Put my bed on your shoulders and carry me to the Buddha. I desire to hear Dharma.” Then the four disciples carried him to the Buddha, at which he was able to hear the sermon. Through the power of hearing [the sermon], pain left him and he gained peace. The case is such. For this reason, giving ear to Dharma makes one come near to Mahaparinirvana.
"How can the Bodhisattva approach Mahaparinirvana by thinking? Because he gains emancipation of mind by this thinking. How? All beings are always chained to the five desires. Through thinking, he attains emancipation. For this reason, we say that one approaches Mahaparinirvana through thinking.
"Also, next, O good man! All beings always have upside-down views as regards the Eternal, Bliss, the Self, and the Pure. By thinking, they can see that all dharmas are non-eternal, non-bliss, non-Self, and non-pure. Thinking thus, they segregate themselves from the four upside-downs [i.e. the four inversions]. For this reason, we say that by thinking one draws near to Mahaparinirvana.
"Also, next, O good man! There are four phases to all things. What are the four? The first is the phase of birth; the second the phase of ageing; the third the phase of illness; and the fourth the phase of extinction. These four cause all common mortals, up to srotapanna, great pain. Those who well think about [these matters] do not experience pain, even when they encounter these four. For this reason, we say that by thinking one approaches Mahaparinirvana.
"Also, next, O good man! There are no good dharmas that are gained by ways other than by thinking. Why not? Even though one might give ear with an undivided mind to Dharma over the course of innumerable, boundless asamkhyas of kalpas, there cannot be any attainment of unsurpassed Enlightenment unless one thinks. Thus, by thinking one approaches Mahaparinirvana.
"Also, next, O good man! If all beings believe in the fact that there is no change in the Buddha, Dharma and Sangha, and gain a respectful mind, know that all this thus comes about by reason of this mindfulness and thinking and that they thus make away with all defilements. Thus, thinking makes one come near to Mahaparinirvana.
"How does a Bodhisattva practise the Way as directed? O good man! He segregates himself from all evil and practises good. This is practising the Way in accordance with Dharma.
"Also, next, how does one practise the Way in accordance with Dharma? One sees that all dharmas are void and have nothing to possess, and that all dharmas are non-eternal, non-bliss, non-Self, and non-purity. Seeing things thus, one does not transgress, even if it means sacrificing one's own body and life. This is how the Bodhisattva practises the Way in accordance with Dharma.
"Also, next, how does one practise the Way in accordance with Dharma? Of practising there are two kinds. One is true and the other non-true. In what is non-true, one does not know the phases [i.e. elements] of Nirvana, the Buddha-Nature, the Tathagata, Dharma, the priest, the real state, and the Void. This is what is non-true.
“’"What is the True? One knows well the phases of Nirvana, the Buddha-Nature, the Tathagata, Dharma, the priest, the Real State, and the Void. This is what is True.
“’ “’ "What is the phase “’[i.e. nature] “’of Nirvana? In the phase of Nirvana, there are in all eight phases “’[aspects]“’. What are the eight? These are: 1) Ending, 2) Good Nature, 3) the Real, 4) the True, 5) the Eternal, 6) Bliss, 7) the Self, and 8) the Pure. These are Nirvana. “’[Emphasis added].
"Also, there are eight things. What are the eight? They are: 1) liberation, 2) good nature, 3) the non-real, 4) the non-true, 5) the non-eternal, 6) non-bliss, 7) the non-Self“’, “’and 8) non-purity.
"Also, there are six phases, namely: 1) liberation, 2) good nature, 3) the non-real, 4) the non-true, 5) peace, and 6) purity. There may be beings who segregate themselves from defilement by way of what obtains in the world. There may be eight things in Nirvana. Then the liberation is not real. Why not? Because of the non-eternal. When there is not the Eternal, there cannot be the Real. When there is not the Real, there is not the True. One might do away with defilement, but it will rise up again. Hence, the non-eternal, non-bliss, non-Self, and non-purity. These are the eight things of liberation of Nirvana.
"What are the six phases? Sravakas and pratyekabuddhas speak of liberation when they cut away defilement. Yet they do not attain unsurpassed Enlightenment. So we say the non-Real. Being not the Real, it is not the True. They will gain unsurpassed Enlightenment in days to come. Hence, non-eternal.
"On gaining the undefiled Noble Eightfold Path, we speak of pure Bliss. O good man! When this is known, there is Nirvana. We do not call this the Buddha-Nature, the Tathagata, Dharma, the priest, the Real State, or the Void.
"How does the Bodhisattva know the Buddha-Nature? There are six aspects to the Buddha-Nature. What are the six? They are: 1) the Eternal, 2) the Pure, 3) the Real, 4) the Good, 5) the Visible, and 6) the True.
"Also, there are seven things, namely: what is attestable, plus the other six stated above. This is called how the Bodhisattva comes to know of the Buddha-Nature.
“’"How does the Bodhisattva know the form of the Tathagata? The Tathagata is a form of Awakening and of Good. He is the Eternal, Bliss, the Self, and the Pure, and is“’ “’Liberation and the True. He is the pointing out of the Way and is visible.“’ [Emphasis added]. This refers to what the Bodhisattva knows the form of the Tathagata to be.
"In what way does the Bodhisattva know about Dharma? By Dharma is meant [seeing] the Good or non-Good, the Eternal or non-Eternal, Bliss or non-Bliss, Self or non-Self, Pure or non-Pure, Knowing or not Knowing, Understanding or not Understanding, the True or the not-True, Practice or non-Practice, Teacher or non-Teacher, the Real or the non-Real. This is how the Bodhisattva knows the phase of Dharma.
"How does the Bodhisattva know the phase of a priest? The priest is the Eternal, Bliss, Self, and the Pure. This is the phase of a disciple. It is a form visible. It is the Good and True, and is not real [?]. Why? Because all sravakas gain the Buddhist teaching. Why do we say True? Because the person is awake to “’Dharmata“’ [Dharma-Essence]. This is what we mean when we say that the Bodhisattva knows the form of the priest.
"How does the Bodhisattva know the Real State? These are: the Eternal or non-Eternal, Bliss or non-Bliss, Self or non-Self, Pure or non-Pure, Good or non-Good, “is” or “not-is”, Nirvana or non-Nirvana, Liberation or non-Liberation, Knowing or not Knowing, [defilement] being cut off or not cut off, to attest or not to attest, to practise or not to practise, to see or not to see. These are the Real State. This is not Nirvana, the Buddha-Nature, the Tathagata, Dharma, the priest or the Void. This is the sense in which we speak of the Bodhisattva's knowing, as he practises all such Great Nirvana, the different phases of Nirvana, the Buddha-Nature, the Tathagata, Dharma, the priest, the Real State, and the Void.
"O good man! The Bodhisattva-mahasattva practises the Way of the All-Wonderful Great Nirvana Sutra, but he does not see the Void. Why not? The Buddha and the Bodhisattvas have the five eyes. These are not what can be seen [?]. Only with the Eye of Wisdom can one truly see. This is what the Eye of Wisdom can see. There is no thing to be seen. So we say “to see”. If we term whatever is not as the Void, this Void is the real. As it is real, there is the eternal “not-is”. Being “not-is”, there is no Bliss, Self or Purity.
"O good man! The Void is called “no thing”. “No thing” is the Void. For example, in the world, when nothing is there, we say “empty”. The same is the case with the nature of “space” [“’akasha“’ - i.e. space, wherein a thing can exist and where there is nothing that obstructs existence]. As there is nothing to possess [here], we say “empty”.
"O good man! Both the nature of all beings and that of space have no real nature. Why not? This is as when we say “empty” when we make away with what there is. The case is like this. Besides, this space is, truth to tell, not to do anything with [?]. Why? Because there is nothing to exist. As it is not “is”, we can know that there can be no saying “not-is”. If the nature of space were something made, it would have to be non-eternal. If it were non-eternal, we would not call it space.
"O good man! The people of the world say: “Space has no colour, nothing that obstructs, and no change”. The case is thus. That is why we say that the nature of space is the fifth great element. O good man! And this space has no nature [for us] to name. Being a light, it is called space. And there is no space. It is as with secular truth, which really does not have its own nature [for us] to name and which is only said so to exist for the sake of beings.
"O good man! The same is the case with the body of Nirvana. There is no place where it is. When all Buddhas do away with defilement, we call this Nirvana. Nirvana is at once the Eternal, Bliss, the Self, and the Pure. We say that Nirvana is Bliss. But it is no feeling of Bliss. This is the all-wonderful, unsurpassed silence and extinction. The All-Buddha-Tathagata has two kinds of Bliss. One is that of silence and extinction; the second is the “Bliss that is sensed by the sense-organs”. There are three Blisses in the body of the Real State, which are: 1) the feeling of Bliss, 2) the Bliss of silence and extinction, and 3) the Bliss of sensing. The Buddha-Nature is a single Bliss, as it is what is to be seen. When one gains unsurpassed Bodhi, we call this the Bliss of Bodhi."
Then Bodhisattva-mahasattva Highly-Virtuous King said to the Buddha: "O World-Honoured One! You say that when defilement is done away with, there is Nirvana. But this is not so. Why not? The Tathagata in days gone by, when you attained Bodhi, went to the River Nairanjana. Then King Mara, with his retinue, went to where the Buddha was and said: “O World-Honoured One! It is now time that you enter Nirvana. Why do you not enter it?”. The Buddha said to King Mara: “I will not. Because I do not now see many learned disciples of mine upholding morality and wise enough to teach beings well.” If when defilement is done away with there is Nirvana, all Bodhisattvas had all done away with defilements innumerable kalpas ago. How could it be that they had not attained Nirvana? There is the same segregation. Why should it only refer to all Buddhas alone and not to Bodhisattvas? If segregation of defilement is not Nirvana, why did the Tathagata, in days gone by, speak to the Brahmin, “Birth-Name” [?], and say: “This present body of mine is Nirvana itself”? Also, the Tathagata was once in the state of Vaisali. Mara again beseeched you and said: “The Tathagata, in days gone by, did not enter Nirvana because the disciples could not teach beings well, not having much [in the way] of hearing, upholding the precepts, Wisdom, or sharpness of mind. Now they are perfect in all of these. Why do you not enter Nirvana?” The Tathagata then said to Mara: “You should have no fear that I am now too late. I shall, three months from now, enter Nirvana.” If extinction is not Nirvana, why did you yourself state that you would enter Nirvana after three months? O World-Honoured One! If the segregation of defilement is Nirvana, there was Nirvana in the past when you severed yourself from defilement under the Bodhi-Tree. Why should you say that you will enter Parinirvana in three month' times? O World-Honoured One! If it was the case that the Nirvana at the time was not Nirvana, how could you say to the Mallas at Kusinagara that you would enter Parinirvana in the final part of today [i.e. about 4 a.m., or the early part of the dawn]? How could you, who are Truth itself, say such a thing?"
Then the World-Honoured One said to the All-Shining Bodhisattva Highly-Virtuous King: "O good man! If you mean to say that the Tathagata talks overmuch, know that he did away with speaking falsehoods innumerable kalpas past. No Buddhas or Bodhisattvas speak any falsehood, only the truth. O good man! The Papiyas [i.e. Mara, the Devil] you refer to is none other than the one who once beseeched me to enter Nirvana. O good man! And this Mara does not know what Nirvana truly is. Why not? The Papiyas thinks that when I am silent and do not teach, this is Nirvana. O good man! The people of the world think that when one does not speak and does not do anything, one is like death itself. The same is the case with King Marapapiyas. What he says refers to the fact that the Tathagata sits and does not talk to people of Dharma. And he says that the Tathagata has entered Parinirvana.
"O good man! The Tathagata does not say that there is no difference between the Buddha, Dharma, and the priest. What he says is only that there is no difference between the Eternal and the Pure. O good man! The Buddha does not say, either, that the characteristics of the Buddha, the Buddha-Nature, and Nirvana are not different. What he says is that all are Eternal and Unchanging, with no difference. The Buddha does not say, either, that the characteristics of Nirvana and the Real State are not different. What he says is that the Eternal, the “is”, the Real, and the Changeless are not different.
"O good man! Then all my disciples call forth disputations. The situation was as with the bhiksus of Kausambi. Acting contrary to what I taught, they violate the prohibitions; they accept imure things as alms and greedily seek profit, and to all white-clad people [i.e. the laity] they praise their own self and say: “I have now gained the undefiled state, the fruition of the srotapanna or arhatship, and so on.” They speak ill of other persons, do not respect the Buddha, Dharma and Sangha and the vinaya teachers, and openly say before me: “Such things the Buddha has permitted us to keep, and such and such things the Buddha does not allow us to possess.” And going against me, they say: “The Buddha permits all such things.” Such evil persons do not believe in my words. For this reason, I say to Marapapiyas: “Have no fear that I am slow. I shall enter Nirvana in three months' time.” O good man! Relying on such evil bhiksus, all the sravaka disciples who are still on the way to learning do not see me and do not listen to my words, and they say that the Tathagata now enters Nirvana. Only all the Bodhisattvas well see me and give ear to what I speak of Dharma. So I do not say that I enter Nirvana. Sravaka disciples may say that the Tathagata now enters Nirvana, but, truth to tell, I do not enter Nirvana. O good man! If all of my sravaka disciples say that the Tathagata enters Nirvana, know that such are no disciples of mine. They belong to Mara's clan, the evil people who abide in twisted views and who do not hold the right view of life. If they say that the Tathagata does not enter Nirvana, they are my disciples. They are not comrades of Mara, but men of right view and not evil. O good man! It is not the case that I have ever said that the Tathgata does not teach, but sits silently, and that this is Parinirvana. O good man! For example, there is a rich man who has many sons. He leaves them and goes to other countries and has not yet come home when his sons may say that their father is long since dead. But this rich man is not yet dead. All his sons are upside down [in their view] and think of death. It is the same with my sravaka disciples. Not seeing me, they think: “The Tathagata, at Kusinagara, between the twin sal trees, enters Parinirvana.” But, truth to tell, I do not enter Nirvana. The sravaka disciples think in terms of Nirvana.
"O good man! For example, there is a bright lamp. A person puts a cover over it. Other people will think that the lamp has already gone out. Not knowing, they think that the lamp is extinguished. It is the same with my sravaka disciples. They have the Eye of Wisdom and yet are overspread by defilement; their mind is upside-down and cannot see the True Body. And they loosely entertain the idea that I have gone. Yet I am not yet ultimately gone. O good man! A person born blind cannot see the sun and the moon. Not able to see, he does not know that there is night and day. Not knowing this, he says that there truly are no sun and moon. Actually there are the sun and the moon. But the blind man cannot see them. Not seeing them, he gains an upside-down mind and says that there are no sun and moon. It is the same with my sravaka disciples. As with the man born blind, not seeing the Tathagata, they say that the Tathagata has entered Nirvana. The Tathagata, in truth, has not yet entered Nirvana. Due to their upside-down minds, they gain such a thought.
"O good man! For example, when cloud and mist come in the way, the ignorant say that there are no sun and moon. In truth, there are the sun and moon. Because they are obstructed, beings cannot see. It is the same with the sravaka disciples, too. With all the defilements overspreading the Eye of Wisdom, they cannot see the Tathagata, and say the Tathagata has entered Nirvana. O good man! This only derives from the fact that the Tathagata merely “acts like a child” [?]. It is not entering into extinction. O good man! When the sun has set in the west in Jambudvipa, beings cannot see it. Because the Black Mountain obstructs their sight. But the nature of the sun has nothing of hiding within it. As beings cannot see, they think there is sundown. It is the same with my sravaka disciples. Obstructed by all the mountains of defilement, they cannot see me. Not seeing me, they think that the Tathagata has truly entered Nirvana. “’But truly, there is no extinction with me eternally.“’ [Emph. added]. That is why at Vaisali I said to Papiyas: “In three months, I shall enter Nirvana.”
"O good man! I long before foresaw“’ “’that the virtues of good amassed by Kasyapa would ripen and bear fruit in three months' time and that, after the ending of the sitting of the varsika, Subhadra of Gandhamadana [i.e. a learned Brahmin who was the last person to enter“’ “’the Buddhist Sangha] would come to my place. That is why I said to Marapapiyas: “In three months' time I shall enter Nirvana.” O good man! There are 500 wrestlers. In three months' time they are to aspire to unsurpassed Bodhi. That was why I said to Papiyas: “In three months' time, I shall enter Parinirvana.” O good man! As the virtues amassed by Cunda and the 500 Licchavis and Amrapali were to ripen and they were to asire to unsurpassed Bodhi, I said to Papiyas: “In three months' time I shall enter Nirvana.”
"O good man! Sunaksatra befriended the tirthikas and Nirgranthaputra. I spoke of Dharma for 12 long years. But the man's mind was twisted, and he would not believe and accept what I said. I foresaw that the root of this man's distorted vision would unfailingly get uprooted. So I said to Papiyas: “In three months' time, I shall enter Parinirvana.”
"O good man! Why did I once, in the past, on the bank of the river Nairanjana, say to Marapapiyas: “I do not yet possess any erudite disciples. So I cannot enter Nirvana”? I said this because I wanted to turn the Wheel of Dharma for the five bhiksus at Varanasi [i.e. the five bhiksus sent by the Buddha's father to look after his son]. Next, too, this was for the sake of the other five bhiksus, namely: Yasas, Purna-Maitrayaniputra, Vimala, Gavampati, and Subahu.
"Also, this was for the rich man, Ugra, and his 50 people. Also, it was for the sake of Bimbisara, King of Magadha, and innumerable others and those of heaven. Also, it was for the sake of Uruvilva-Kasyapa and his 500 disciple bhiksus. Also, this was for the sake of the two brothers, Nadi-Kasyapa and Gaya-Kasyapa, and their 500 disciple bhiksus. Also, this was for the sake of Sariputra and Maudgalyayana and their 250 bhiksus. That was why I said to Papiyas, the King of Maras, that I would not enter Parinirvana.
“’"O good man! We speak of “Nirvana”. But this is not “Great“’ “’Nirvana”. Why is it “Nirvana”, but not “Great Nirvana”? This is so when one cuts away defilement without seeing the Buddha-Nature. That is why we say Nirvana, but not Great Nirvana. When one does not see the Buddha-Nature, what there is is the non-Eternal and the non-Self. All that there is is but Bliss and Purity. Because of this, we cannot have Mahaparinirvana, although defilement has been done away with. When one sees well the Buddha-Nature and cuts away defilement, we then have Mahaparinirvana. Seeing the Buddha-Nature, we have the Eternal, Bliss, the Self, and the Pure. Because of this, we can have Mahaparinirvana, as we cut away defilement. “’[Emphasis added].
"O good man! “Nir” means “not”; “va” means “to extinguish”. Nirvana means “non-extinction”. Also, “va” means “to cover”. Nirvana also means “not covered”. “Not covered” is Nirvana. “Va” means “to go and come”. “Not to go and come” is Nirvana. “Va” means “to take”. “Not to take” is Nirvana“’. “’“Va” means “not fixed”. When there is no unfixedness, there is Nirvana. “Va” means “new and old”. What is not new and old is Nirvana.
"O good man! The disciples of Uluka [i.e. the founder of the Vaisesika school of philosophy] and Kapila [founder of the Samkhya school of philosophy] say: “Va means charactersitic”. “Characteristiclessness” is Nirvana.“’
“’"O good man! Va means “is”. What is not “is” is Nirvana. Va means harmony. What has nothing to be harmonised is Nirvana. Va means suffering. What has no suffering is Nirvana.
"O good man! What has cut away defilement is no Nirvana. What calls forth no defilement is Nirvana. O good man! The All-Buddha-Tathagata calls forth no defilement. This is Nirvana.
"The Wisdom that there is is not barred at Dharma [i.e. not obstructed before Dharma?]. This is so with the Tathagata. The Tathagata is no common mortal, no sravaka, no pratyekabuddha, and no Bodhisattva. This is the Buddha-Nature.
“’"The Wisdom of the Tathagata's Body and Mind fills innumerable, boundless asamkhyas of lands, with nothing to obstruct it. This is space. "The Tathagata is Eternal and does not change. This is the Real State. “’[Emphasis added]. Because of this, the Tathagata does not ultimately enter Nirvana.“’ “’This is what we call the Bodhisattva's practice of the Way of the All-Wonderful Great Nirvana Sutra and perfecting the seventh virtue.
"O good man! How does the Bodhisattva practise the Way of the All-Wonderful Great Nirvana Sutra and perfect the eighth virtue?
"O good man! The Bodhisattva-mahasattva practises Great Nirvana and extirpates five things, and segregates himself from five things, accomplishes six things, practises five things, and protects one thing, befriends four things, puts faith in one truth, and his mind emancipates itself, and thoroughly emancipates Wisdom itself.
"O good man! How does the Bodhisattva extirpate five things? These five are so-called: 1) matter [“’rupa“’], 2) feeling [“’vedana“’], 3) perception [“’samjna“’], 4) volition [“’samskara“’], and 5) consciousness [“’vijnana“’] - the five skandhas.“ ’Why do we say skandha? It truly causes beings to repeat birth and death, and they cannot cut off the heavy burden. There is dispersal and gathering-together, bound up for the Three Times. Try as one might, one cannot gain the true meaning. Because of all these meanings, we say skandha.
"The Bodhisattva-mahasattva sees the “matter-skandha”, but he does not see its form. Why not? Though we may seek to gain it in ten forms of matter, we cannot arrive at its nature. We intend to explain it for the sake of the world and we say “skandha”.
"Of “feeling”, there are 108 kinds. We look into the skandha of feeling. But there is no form to feeling. Why not? Though 108, there is no fixed, real form. Hence, the Bodhisattva does not see the skandha of feeling. The same applies to the skandhas of perception, volition, and consciousness.
"The Bodhisattva-mahasattva sees profoundly in the five skandhas the well-spring of all the ills of defilement. So he puts into effect the means whereby to cut them off.
"How does the Bodhisattva segregate himself from five things? These are the five twisted views [“’panca-drstayah“’: the five heretical views]. What are the five? They are: 1) the twisted view regarding man's carnal existence [“’satkaya-drsti“’: the heretical view that there is an unchanging entity in the carnal self which can be called an eternal self and regarded as one's own], 2) the one-sided view of “is” or “not-is” [“’antagraha-drsti“’: the one-sided or heretical view of “is” or “not-is” regarding phenomenal existence, or the “is” or “not-is” view regarding the wrongly accepted notion of Self], 3) the evil view that denies causality [“’mithya-drsti“’: the evil view that denies the law of causality in regard to what exists], 4) the twisted view of cleaving to one-sided personal opinions [“’silavrata-paramarsa“’: the heretical view of life which denies the moral precepts and prohibitions and regards what is wrong as true and right], 5) addiction to twisted views and regarding these as correct [“’drstiparamarsa“’: the heretical world-view in which one cleaves to the satkaya-drsti, the antagraha-drsti, and the mithya-drsti and regards these as true]. From these five twisted views spring the 62 evil views of life. Due to these, there is no ceasing of birth and death. Therefore, the Bodhisattva guards himself so that these do not come near [to him].
"How does the Bodhisattva accomplish six things? These six things refer to six thinkings. What are the six? They are: 1) thinking of the Buddha, 2) thinking of Dharma, 3) thinking of the Sangha, 4) thinking of heaven, 5) thinking of giving, and 6) thinking of the moral precepts. These are the six things which the Bodhisattva accomplishes.
"How does the Bodhisattva practise five things? These are the five samadhis, namely: 1) samadhi of knowledge, 2) samadhi of silence, 3) samadhis of the pleasantness of body and mind, 4) samadhi of non-bliss, and 5) surangama samadhi. If one practises these five samadhis, one draws near to Mahaparinirvana. Hence, the Bodhisattva practises with a full mind.
“’"In what sense does the Bodhisattva guard one thing? This is Bodhichitta “’[i.e. the mind of Enlightenment - the resolve to gain Bodhi]. The Bodhisattva-mahasattva always guards this Bodhichitta just as people of the world do their only son. Also, it is as with a one-eyed man who protects the other eye that still remains [to him]. It is as when people protect the man who is guiding them through the wilderness. It is the same with the Bodhisattva, who guards his Bodhichitta. “’Thus guarding Bodhichitta, he reaches unsurpassed Enlightenment. When unsurpassed Enlightenment has been gained, perfect are the Eternal, Bliss, the Self, and the Pure. This is unsurpassed Mahaparinirvana. “’[E. added]. Thus the Bodhisattva guards the one Dharma.“’
“’"How does the Bodhisattva draw near to four things? These are the four limitless minds [“’catvari-apramanani“’]. What are the four? They are: 1) Great Loving-Kindness, 2) Great Compassion, 3) Great Sympathetic Joy, and 4) Great Equanimity. By means of these four minds, he calls forth Bodhichitta in the minds of innumerable, boundless numbers of beings. For this reason, the Bodhisattva, with full mind, tries to draw near to this.“’
“’"How is the Bodhisattva one-mindedly obedient? The Bodhisattva knows that all beings turn back to the one Way. The one Way is Mahayana. All Buddhas and Bodhisattvas, for beings' sake,“’ “’break this up into three. For this reason, the Bodhisattva follows obediently and does not transgress.
"How does the Bodhisattva thoroughly emancipate his mind? He eternally does away with the mental states of greed, anger, and ignorance. This is how the Bodhisattva emancipates his mind.
"How does the Bodhisattva thoroughly emancipate himself in his knowledge? The Bodhisattva-mahasattva knows all things and is unhindered. This is how the Bodhisattva emancipates himself in knowledge. Through emancipation in knowledge, he now knows what he once did not know."
Then the All-Shining Bodhisattva-mahasattva Highly-Virtuous King said: "O World-Honoured One! What you the Buddha say regarding emancipation of the mind does not hold good. Why not? The mind originally has nothing that can be bound up. Why not? Originally, the mind is not bound by any such defilements as greed, anger, and ignorance. If there is originally nothing that binds one, how can we say that the mind now gains emancipation? O World-Honoured One! If the mind originally has nothing that can be bound by greed, how can there be any binding? A person might well try to get milk from the horns of a cow, but no milk will come out, try as he might, since there is no [appropriate] nature there for the milk to come out. No milk can come about, however one might try to get the milk. One who milks does not do thus. With little effort, he gains a lot of milk. The same with the mind. If there was originally no greed, how can any greed come about? If there was originally no greed and later there is a bit of greed, we might infer that all Buddhas and Bodhisattvas who originally possessed no greed might now all have it.
"O World-Honoured One! A barren woman, for example, has no capacity for bearing a child. With whatever art and effort, she cannot bear a child. It is the same with the mind. Originally it does not have the nature of greed. In no circumstances whatever can greed then come about.
"O World-Honoured One! Rub wet wood as we may, we will not get any fire. The same is the case with the mind. Try as we may, we will not get any greed. How can the bond of greed fetter the mind?
"O World-Honoured One! However much we might press sand, we cannot gain any oil. It is the same with the mind. We may well press it, but no greed will come out. Know that greed and mind are of different stuff. Though there is greed, how can it defile the mind? O World-Honoured One! For example, a person might try to hang a spike in the air. It can never remain there. It is the same with trying to have greed peacefully chain the mind. No number of however artful efforts can possibly have greed chain the mind.
"O World-Honoured One! How can one emancipate the mind when there is no greed in it? Why do not all the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas extract a prickle from the sky?
"O World-Honoured One! We do not call the mind of the past “emancipated”. There is no emancipation of the mind of the future. And the mind of the present, too, does go along with the way [?]. What mind of what world can we call “emancipation”? O World-Honoured One! This is just as the light of the past cannot make away with the gloom. The light of the future cannot make away with the gloom, either. The light of the present also does not make away with the gloom. Why not? Because light and gloom cannot go in parallel. It is the same with the mind. How can we say that the mind gains emancipation?
"O World-Honoured One! It is the same with greed [i.e. lust, desire]. If one does not possess greed, one cannot have greed when one sees a woman. If it comes about by the form of the woman, know that this greed truly is an “is”. Due to greed, one falls into the three unfortunate realms.
"O World-Honoured One! For example, one sees a woman in a picture and gains the feeling of desire. From gaining desire, various sins result. If originally there is no desire, how can one gain desire by seeing the picture of a woman? If there is no greed in the mind, how can you the Tathagata say that the Bodhisattva gains emancipation of mind? If there is desire in the mind, how comes it that it comes about after having seen [the picture], and that a person who has not seen it does not gain it? I now actually see. An evil return ensues. This shows that I have desire. It is the same with anger and ignorance.
"O World-Honoured One! For example, beings possess a body and not the self. And yet common mortals unreasonably gain the thought of a self. One can have the thought of a self and yet one does not fall into the three unfortunate realms. How can it be that a person with greed [i.e. desire] does not see a womanly form and gains the thought of a woman, and falls into the three unfortunate realms? O World-Honoured One! For example, one rubs wood and obtains fire. And the nature of this fire has no place in any thing. How does it come about? O World-Honoured One! It is the same with greed. In “matter” there is no greed; in smell, taste, touch, and law [dharma ?], too, we do not have any greed. And yet, how comes it that a person gains greed in smell, taste, touch, and law? If it is the case that there is no element of greed anywhere, why do only beings acquire greed and the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas do not? O World-Honoured One! The mind, too, is not fixed. If the mind were fixed, there could be no greed, anger, and ignorance. If it is not fixed, how can the mind gain emancipation? Greed, too, is not fixed. If it is not, how can one, through it, fall into the three unfortunate realms? The two things of the person with greed and the world in which he dwells are both not fixed. Why not? Each calls forth one thing and acquires greed, anger, or ignorance. This tells us that the person who has greed and the world he is in are both not fixed. If both are not fixed, why does the Tathagata say: “The Bodhisattva practises the Way of Great Nirvana and gains emancipation of mind”?
Then, the Buddha said to the All-Shining Bodhisattva-mahasattva Highly-Virtuous King: "Well said, well said! The mind does not get bound by the defilement of greed, and also, it is not the case that it does not get bound. This is no emancipation, and it is not that there is no emancipation. It is not “is”, and it is not “is-not”. It is not the present, nor the past, nor the future. Why not? Because all things have no self of their own.
"O good man! All tirthikas say: “When the causal concatenations harmonise, there are instances in which fruits result. When things have no nature of their own, and when they well come about without any nature of so coming about, there would have to be a result arising even from the birthlessness of space. Because the nature of birthlessness is no cause. This tells us that in all things there is the original nature of fruition [i.e. the engendering of results]. Thus do things foregather, and the result comes about. Why? When Devadatta desires to build a bulwark, he takes mud, and not paint. When he desires to draw a picture, he collects paints, and not grass or plants. When making clothes, one uses thread, and not mud and wood. This is as when one builds a house and uses mud, not thread. In accordance with what a man takes, the result will follow. As the result comes about, we can know that in the cause there is unfailingly the [relevant] nature. If there is not any nature to be named [here], one thing could well call forth all things. If one can take up, make, and put out [something], know that there must be the result prior to the coming about. If there is no result, a person will not take up, make, or put [anything] out. The only thing where there is no taking and making is space. Because of this, all things can come about. As there is the cause, the seed of the nyagrodha can live in the nyagrodha tree. So does milk possess sarpirmanda [ghee?], thread cloth, and mud a pot.”
"O good man! All common mortals are blinded by ignorance. They say definitely: “In paint there definitely is the quality of sticking, and in the mind the nature of greed.” Also, we say: “The mind of the common mortal has the nature of greed, which is the nature to be emancipated. If one encounters the causal relations of greed, the mind gains greed. When it encounters emancipation, the mind gets emancipated.” Although this is said, it is not so. There are many people who say: Every cause cannot contain a result. There are two kinds of cause. One is minute and the other coarse. What is minute is eternal, and what is coarse is non-eternal. The minute cause shifts onto what is coarse, and from the coarse there later comes about the result. As what is coarse is non-eternal, the result, too, is non-eternal.
"O good man! There are beings who say: “The mind has no cause; greed also has no cause. The greedy mind comes about by season.” All such people do not know that all sits in the mind, and they transmigrate through the six realms, repeating birth and death.
"O good man! For example, we put a collar on a dog and chain it to a pillar, and it goes round the pillar the whole day and cannot get away. It is the same with all beings. They wear the fetter of ignorance, are chained to the pillar of birth and death, and repeat lives through the 25 existences, and cannot get away.
"O good man! For example, there is a man who falls into the toilet and gets out, and falls in again. A person is cured of an illness and then contracts the cause of the illness again. A traveller, on his way, comes across a wilderness. After having passed through it, he turns back into it again. A person washes his body and then puts mud on it again. That is how things go with all beings. A person is already out of the stage of the non-possession “’bhumi“’ [i.e. the eighth of the nine stages of mental training, in which one no longer has any sense of possession], and is not yet quite out of the stage of the thoughtlessness-non-thoughtlessness “’bhumi“’ [i.e. the final of the nine stages of mental practice]. And he comes back to the three unfortunate realms again. Why? All beings think only of the result and not of the causation. It is as with a dog who goes after a piece of mud, and not after the man himself. It is the same with the common mortal. He only thinks of the result and not of the causal relations. Not thinking of this, he draws back from the stage of the “’bhumi“’ of thoughtlessness-non-thoughtlessness and falls into the three unfortunate realms.
"O good man! All Buddhas and Bodhisattvas do not definitely say that the cause embosoms the result, no result rests in the cause, or “is” has no result, or that “is-not” is resultless. If we say that there definitely is a result in a cause, or that there definitely is no result in a cause, or that there definitely is no result in “is”, or that “is-not” is definitely resultless, know that we belong to the clan of the Maras. We belong to the class of Mara. We are those belonging to “craving” [“’trsna“’]. Such a person of craving cannot eternally do away with the bond of birth and death. Such a person does not know what obtains regarding the mind and greed.
"O good man! All Buddhas and Bodhisattvas show us the Middle Path. Why? Things can be “is-not” or “not-is-not”. But nothing can ever be definite. Why not? Because consciousness comes about through the eye, colour, brightness, mind, and thinking. Now, this consciousness is never definitely in the eye, in colour, brightness, mind, or thinking. Also, it is not in between; it is not in “is”, nor is it in “is-not”. As it comes about through causal relations, we say “is”. As it has no nature of its own, we say “is-not”. That is why the Tathagata expounds and says: “All things are not “is” and not “is-not”.
"O good man! All Buddhas and Bodhisattvas do not say definitely that there is the nature of purity or the nature of non-purity in the mind. Because there is no definite place where the mind that is pure or the mind that is not pure exists. Through causal relations there comes about greed. So we say “not-is-not”. As there is originally no nature of greed, we say “is-not”.
"O good man! Through causal relations, the mind acquires greed; through causal relations, the mind can liberate itself."