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....
Bodhisattva Lion's Roar said: "O World-Honoured One! If all actions do not definitely call forth [fixed] karmic results, and all beings have the Buddha-Nature and should practise the Noble Eightfold Path, why is it that all beings do not attain this Mahaparinirvana? O World-Honoured One! If all beings have the Buddha-Nature, they must definitely attain unsurpassed Enlightenment. Why is it that they definitely needs must practise the Noble Eightfold Path? O World-Honoured One! This sutra states: “There is a sick person who gains medicine, an attendant for the illness, and the food and drink needed for the illness; or there may by none such. But all will get cured. It is the same with all beings, too. They may encounter sravakas, pratyekabuddhas, all Buddhas and Bodhisattvas, and all good teachers of the Way, listen to sermons and practise the holy ways. Or they may not encounter, listen to and practise such, but they must [i.e. will unfailingly] all attain unsurpassed Enlightenment. Why? Because of the Buddha-Nature.” Thus does it stand. O World-Honoured One! For example, it is not possible for the light of the sun and moon to get obstructed on the way, so that it cannot get around the Antarava [Anderab] Mountains, or for the waters of the four great rivers not to reach the great ocean, or for the icchantika not to go to hell. It is the same with all beings, too. There cannot be any situation where hindrances come about so that they cannot attain unsurpassed Enlightenment. Why not? Because of the Buddha-Nature. O World-Honoured One! Because of this, all beings do not practise the Way. Because of the power of the Buddha-Nature, they attain unsurpassed Enlightenment. There is no reason that one needs to fall [depend?] on the power of the Holy Way. O World-Honoured One! If the icchantika, those of the four grave offences, and those of the four deadly sins cannot attain unsurpassed Enlightenment, one will surely practise the Way. Because one surely attains it by the power of the Buddha-Nature. It is not that one attains it by learning and practising. O World-Honoured One! For example, a magnet, though distant, attracts iron. It is the same with the Buddha-Nature of beings. Because of this, one need not practise the Way."
The Buddha said: "Well said, well said, O good man! By the Ganges there live seven kinds of men. They are afraid of robbers because they are now bathing. Or the case might be as with those who get into the river in order to pick flowers [?]. The first person gets drowned as he gets into the water; the second person sinks in mid-water, but comes up and sinks down again into the water. Why? Because his body is powerful and strong, he is able to get out. The one who has not learnt to float comes up and then sinks again. The third comes up after sinking. Coming up, he does not sink again. Why not? Because his body is heavy, so he sinks, but as his power is great, he comes up. Having already learnt to float, he stays up. The fourth person, on getting into the water, comes up again. Coming up, he looks around. Why? As he is heavy, he sinks, as he has great power, he comes up; as he has learnt to float, he remains [up]; not knowing where to get out, he looks around. The fifth person, on going into the water, sinks, and having sunk, he comes up. Having come up, he looks around; having looked, he goes. Why? Because he fears. The sixth person goes into the water, and gets out, and stays in the shallow waters. Why? Because he sees the robbers who are nearby and [also] far off. The seventh person is already up on the other bank and is on a great mountain. He fears nothing; out of the reach of the robbers, he is blessed with great bliss. O good man! It is the same situation with the great river of birth and death, too.
"These are the seven kinds of people. As they fear the robbers of defilement, they make up their minds and wish to cross the great river of birth and death. They abandon their homes, shave their heads, and don priestly robes. Having renounced their homes, they associate with evil friends, follow their teachings, and give ear to their doctrines, which state: “Man's body is the five skandhas. The five skandhas are none but the five great elements. When a man dies, he does away with the five great elements. When he parts with the five great elements, why does he any longer need to practise good or bad? Because of this, one may know that there can be no karmic returns of good or bad.” Such a person is an icchantika. He is cut off from the root of good or bad. Cut off from the root of good, he sinks into the waters of birth and death and is unable to get out. Why? Because of the great weight of evil deeds, and he has no power of faith. He is like the first person of those on the banks of the river Ganges.
"O good man! The icchantika has six causal relations. He falls into the three unfortunate realms and cannot get out of them. What are the six? They are: 1) his evil mind burns, 2) he does not see the after-life, 3) he takes pleasure in seeking defilement, 4) he walks away from good, 5) evil actions hinder his way, and 6) he associates with an evil teacher of the Way.
"This again possesses five things, by which the person falls into the three unfortunate realms. What are the five? They are: 1) he always says that there can be no karmic results to come about in regard to good or bad actions, 2) he kills a person who has aspired to Bodhi, 3) he takes pleasure in speaking about the evils committed by priests, 4) he says that what is right is not right and what transgresses Dharma is lawful, and 5) he gives ear to Dharma just to pick up what goes against [i.e. to find fault?].
"Also, there are three things by which the person falls into the three unfortunate realms. What are the three? These are saying that: 1) the Tathagata is non-eternal, and goes away eternally, 2) Wonderful Dharma is non-eternal and changes, and 3) the Sangha Jewel gets destroyed. For this reason, he always sinks into the three unfortunate realms.
"The second person aspires to cross the great river of birth and death, but devoid of amassed good sinks and is unable to get out. We speak of “getting out”. This is associating with a good teacher of the Way, through which one gains faith. By faith is meant believing that dana [giving] evokes the fruition of dana, that any action that can be called good calls forth the fruition of good, and any action that is evil that of evil, and it is believing in the suffering of birth and death, and believing in impermanence and dissolution. This is faith. Gaining faith, the person practises pure sila, upholds, recites, copies and expounds [the sutras]. He always gives and well practises Wisdom. If dull, the person encounters an evil friend. He is unable to learn how to practise the sila of body and the Wisdom of mind. He gives ear to evil teachings. Or he may happen to be visited by an evil period of time and be born in an evil land and be cut off from good deeds. Cut off from the root of goodness, he always sinks into birth and death. His case is like that of the second person on the banks of the river Ganges.
"The third person looks forward to crossing the great river of birth and death. Devoid of good, he sinks in mid-water. His drawing near to a good teacher of the Way is his getting out. The Tathagata is the All-Knower. He is Eternal and suffers no change. For the sake of beings, he speaks about the unsurpassed Way. All beings have the Buddha-Nature. The Tathagata does not go into extinction. It is the same with the Dharma and Sangha, too. There is no extinction. Not having done away with his own quality, the icchantika cannot attain unsurpassed Enlightenment. He needs must do away with it, and then he will attain it [Enlightenment]. Thus does he believe. Through faith, he practises pure sila. Having practised pure sila, he upholds, recites, copies and expounds the 12 types of sutra and speaks of them extensively for the benefit of beings. He is pleased to give and to practise Wisdom. Born sharp-minded, he firmly abides in faith and Wisdom and does not draw back in his determination. This is like the situation of the third person on the banks of the river Ganges.
"The fourth person desires to cross the great river of birth and death. Devoid of good amassed, he sinks in mid-water. Coming close to a good teacher of the Way, he gains faith. This is getting out. As he gains faith, he upholds, recites, copies and expounds, and for the sake of beings he propounds Dharma widely. He takes pleasure in giving and practises Wisdom. Born sharp-minded, he firmly believes in faith and Wisdom. There is no drawing back with him from his resolve, and he looks all around in the four directions. The four directions mean the four fruitions of a sramana. This is like the fourth person on the banks of the river Ganges.
"The fifth person is one who aspires to cross the great river of birth and death, but with no good amassed, sinks in mid-water. Associating with a good teacher of the Way, he gains faith. This is gettiing out. With faith, he upholds, recites, copies, expounds the 12 types of sutras and speaks expansively for the sake of beings. He takes pleasure in giving, and he practises Wisdom. Sharp-born, he firmly abides in faith and Wisdom, and there is no regression in his mind. Not regressing, he makes progress. Making progress refers to the pratyekabuddha. Although good as regards the salvation of his own self, this does not extend to others. This is getting out. This is as with the fifth person on the banks of the river Ganges.
"The sixth person aspires to cross the great river of birth and death. Devoid of accumulated good, he sinks in mid-water. Coming close to a good teacher of the Way, he gains faith. Gaining faith is getting out. Due to faith, he upholds, recites, copies and extensively speaks about [Dharma] for the sake of beings. He takes pleasure in giving and practises Wisdom. Sharp-born, he bases himself firmly on faith and Wisdom, and his mind does not retrogress. Not retrogressing, he proceeds on and at last gains the shallow waters. Arriving at the shallow waters, he remains there and does not move about. We say that he remains. This means that the Bodhisattva, in order to save all beings, abides there and meditates on defilement. He is like the sixth person on the banks of the river Ganges.
"The seventh person aspires to cross the great river of birth and death. But with no good amassed up to thus far, he sinks in mid-water. On meeting a good teacher of the Way, he gains faith. This gaining of faith is what we call “getting out”. Due to faith, he upholds, recites, copies and expounds the 12 types of sutra, and for the benefit of beings he speaks extensively of them. He takes pleasure in giving and practises Wisdom. Sharp-born, he firmly abides in faith and Wisdom, and he does not retrogress in mind. As he does not retrogress, he steps forward. Stepping forward, he reaches the other shore. Having gained the heights of a great mountain, he is now segregated from fear and is blessed with much peace. O good man! The mountain on the other shore can be likened to the Tathagata, peace to the Eternality of the Buddha, and the great and high mountain is Great Nirvana.
"O good man! Such persons on the banks of the river Ganges all have hands and feet, but they are difficult to save. It is the same with all beings, too. The Three Jewels of the Buddha, Dharma and Sangha truly exist, and the Tathagata always expounds the essentials of all laws [Dharma]. There are the Noble Eightfold Path and Mahaparinirvana. All beings can gain all of these. This is not what comes out of me or of those noble paths or of beings [?]. Know that all these go back to defilement [?]. Because of this, all beings cannot gain Nirvana.
"O good man! A good doctor knows about illness and speaks about medicine. If the sick person does not take it, the doctor is not to blame.
"O good man! A danapati [giver] gives things to all persons. There may be those who will not accept [the gifts]. The giver is not to blame for this.
"O good man! When the sun comes out, all gloom turns to brightness. But the blind cannot see this. The sun is not to blame for this.
"O good man! The water of the river Ganges indeed does away with thirst. There may be those who are thirsty, but who do not drink. The water is not to blame.
"O good man! The great earth brings forth fruit for everyone all-equally. But there may be farmers who do not plant [anything]. The earth is not to blame for this.
"O good man! The Tathagata gives and expounds the 12 types of sutra to all beings. But the Tathagata is not to blame if the beings will not take them. O good man! Those who practise the Way will all attain unsurpassed Enlightenment. O good man! You say that beings all have the Buddha-Nature and that it is as unfailing as a magnet that they will attain unsurpassed Enlightenment. It is well, it is well that because of the causal relations of the Buddha-Nature the person will attain unsurpassed Enlightenment. Should you say that there is no need to practise the Holy Path, this is not so.
"O good man! As an illustration: a man is journeying through a wilderness and feels thirsty, when he comes across a well. It is very deep, so that he cannot see the water. But we may know that there assuredly is water there. If the person brings forth the means and draws up the water with a rope and a bucket, then the water is assuredly there. It is the same, too, with the Buddha-Nature. All beings possess it. But only by practising the undefiled Noble Path can one truly see it.
"O good man! If there is sesame, we can get oil. If we do not have the means, we cannot get it. It is the same with sugar cane.
"O good man! Though the north of Uttarakuru of Trayastrimsa Heaven exists, one cannot see it other than by accumulation of good karma, miraculous power, and the power of the Way. The roots of trees and grass which are under the ground, and the water in the ground, cannot be seen by us, since the earth covers them. It is the same situation with the Buddha-Nature, too. If one does not practise the Holy Way, one cannot expect to see it.
"O good man! You say that the illnesses of the world will get cured with or without nursing, a good doctor, good medicine, and the food and drink needed for those illnesses. O good man! I spoke thus to all Bodhisattvas of the sixth stage.
"O good man! All the beings in space have no inside, no outside, and no in and no out. Hence, they are unmolested [unimpeded] in every way. It is the same with the Buddha-Nature of all beings, too.
"O good man! There is a man who possesses wealth in different places and not where he is. When asked, he may say that he has it. Why? Because he definitely possesses it. It is the same with the Buddha-Nature of beings, too. It is not this and not that. As one is sure to gain it in hand, we say that it all is.
"O good man! It is as in the case in which all beings make all things. They are not good, not bad, not in and not out. All such karmic natures are not existing and not non-existing. Also, it is not what once was not, but what is. It is not what has come about without any cause. It is not what I have done and I receive. It is not what I have done and he receives. It is not what he has and he receives. It is not what is done; it is not what one receives. Time agrees and fruition comes about. It is the same with the Buddha-Nature of all beings, too. It is again not what was not but what is now. It is neither in nor out. It is neither “is” nor “is-not”. It is neither this nor that. It is neither what comes from without, nor is it of no causal relations. It is not that all beings do not see. All Bodhisattvas see as time and causal relations come to conjoin. We say time. The Bodhisattva-mahasattva of the ten stages practises the Noble Eightfold Path and gains an all-equal mind, when it [the Buddha-Nature] can be seen. It is not what is done.
"O good man! You say that it is like a magnet. But this is not so. Why not? A stone does not attract iron. Why not? Because there is no mental action that works. O good man! There are things of different nature, and so a thing of different nature comes about. And when there is no different thing, a different thing breaks off [goes into dissolution?]. There is none doing and none that breaks. O good man! It is as in the case of a great fire which cannot burn the fuel. When the fire comes about, the fuel breaks [is used up, destroyed]. This we call the fuel burning. O good man! This is as with the sunflower, which turns by itself, following the sun. And this sunflower has no mind to respect, no consciousness, and no action to do. It is by the nature of a different thing [?] that it turns by itself.
"O good man! It is as with the plantain tree which grows by thunder. This plant has no ears and no consciousness. When there is a different thing, this different thing grows; when there is no different thing, this different thing dies out. O good man! It is as in the case of the asoka tree, which puts out flowers when a female touches it. This tree has no mind, no sense of touch. When there is a different thing, a different thing comes about; when there is no different thing, a different thing dies out.
"O good man! This is as in the case of citrus nobilis, which bears no further fruits when it gains a corpse [?]. Yet this plant has no mind and no sense of touch. By a different thing, there comes about a different thing; when there is no different thing, the different thing dies out. O good man! For example, the fruit of the pomegranate grows because of rotten calf-bones. But the pomegranate tree also does not possess a mind or touch. When there is a different thing, a different thing comes about, and when there is no different thing, a different thing dies out.
"O good man! The same applies to the case of the magnet attracting iron. When there is a different thing, a different thing comes about; when there is no different thing, the different thing dies out. It is the same with the Buddha-Nature of beings which cannot attract unsurpassed Enlightenment.
"O good man! Ignorance cannot attract all actions. Volition, too, cannot attract consciousness. And yet we can say that ignorance has a causal relationship with volition, and volition with consciousness. Whether there is the Buddha or not, the world is eternal.
"O good man! You may say that the Buddha-Nature lives in beings. O good man! You should know that what is Eternal has no place to dwell [i.e. is not confined to one limited place in space and time?]. If there is a place where it dwells, this tells us that what there is there is something that is impermanent. O good man! You may know that the 12 links of interdependent arising have no place to stay. If they had, we could not say that the 12 links of interdependent arising were eternal. It is the same with the Dharmakaya [Dharma-Body] of the Tathagata. It has no place to dwell. All such as the 18 realms, the 12 spheres, the skandhas, and space do not have anywhere to stay. It is the same with the Buddha-Nature, too. All do not have any place to stay.
"O good man! For example, the four great elements have powers that are all equal. But there are such qualities as hardness, heat, moisture, movability, lightness, weightiness, red, white, yellow, and black. These four elements do not have karmic action. Being different in the realm of existence, there is no sameness. It is the same with the Buddha-Nature, too. Different in nature in the realm of existence, it comes out into existence when the time comes.
"O good man! All beings do not come away from [i.e. are not separate from] the Buddha-Nature. Hence, we say “is”. Because of the unretrogressiveness of what can be “is” in the days to come, [because] of what is sure to be gained, and of what can definitely be seen. That is why we say that all beings possess the Buddha-Nature.
"O good man! For example, there is a king who says to his minister: “Fetch an elephant and show it to some blind persons.” Then, following the royal command, the minister called in many blind persons, to whom he showed the elephant. The blind persons all touched the elephant with their hands. The minister said to the king: “I have got the blind people to feel the elephant.” Then the king called in the blind persons and asked each of them: “Have you seen the elephant?” “Yes, sire! I have seen the elephant.” The king asked: “What do you think the elephant is like?” The person who had touched its tusk said: “The elephant is like the root of a goosefoot or a mushroom.” The man who had touched its ear said: “The elephant is like a winnow [?].” The one who had touched its trunk said: “The elephant is like a pestle.” The person who had touched its foot said: “The elephant is like a handmill [?] made of wood.” The one who had touched it by the spine said: “The elephant is like a bed.” The man who had touched its belly said: “The elephant is like a pot.” The man who had touched it by its tail said: “The elephant is like a rope.”
"O good man! All these blind persons were not well able to tell of the form of the elephant. And yet, it is not that they did not say anything at all about the elephant. All such aspects of representation are of the elephant. And yet, other than these, there cannot be any elephant.
"O good man! The king is comparable to the Tathagata-Arhat-Samyaksambuddha, the minister to the vaipulya Great Nirvana Sutra, the elephant to the Buddha-Nature, and the blind persons to all beings who are ignorant. All of these people, on hearing what the Buddha says, may say: “Form [“’rupa“’ - physical form, matter, body] is the Buddha-Nature. Why? Because this form, though it dies, continues to exist. Because of this, it attains the 32 unsurpassed signs of perfection of the Tathagata and the eternality of form of the Tathagata. Because the form of the Tathagata knows no disruption. That is why we say that form is the Buddha-Nature.
"“For example, the form of true gold may well change, but the colour is always one and is not different. It can be made into a bracelet, a serpent, and a basin, and yet the yellow colour never changes. It is the same with the Buddha-Nature of beings, too. The form may not be one, but the colour is one. Thus we can say that "rupa" is eternal.” So do they say.
"Or another might say: “Feeling [“’vedana“’] is the Buddha-Nature. Why so? Because through the causal relations of feeling, one gains the true bliss of the Tathagata. The feeling of the Tathagata is that of the absolute and is of “’Paramartha-satya“’. The nature of beings' feeling is non-eternal, but continues to exist successively. it is because of this that one gains the eternal feeling of the Tathagata. For example, a man's clan name is Kausika. The man himself is non-eternal, but his clan name goes on as it is and does not change, even in the course of thousands and millions of years. It is the same with the Buddha-Nature of beings, too. For this reason, feeling is the Buddha-Nature.”
"And another one says: “Perception [“’samjna“’] is the Buddha-Nature. Why? By reason of the causal relations of perception, one attains the perception of the Tathagata. The perception of the Tathagata is that of non-perception. The perception of non-perception is not what obtains with man, is nothing of the male or female, of form, feeling, perception, volition or consciousness. It is non-perception, something cut off from perception. The perception of beings is non-eternal. But a perception is followed by another one, one after the other, so that there is no disruption and we gain the impression of perception which is of an eternal quality. O good man! For example, let us take up the case of the 12 links of interdependence of beings. Though the beings die out, the causal relations are eternal. It is the same with the Buddha-Nature of beings. For this reason, we say that perception is the Buddha-Nature.” Thus do people speak.
"Further, they say: “Volition [“’samskara“’ - mental impulses, will] is the Buddha-Nature. Why? Volition is life. By reason of the causal relations of beings, a person attains the eternal life of the Tathagata. The life of beings is non-eternal, but a life follows another successively, one after the other, so that there is no disruption. So, we gain the eternal life of the Tathagata, which is true. O good man! For example, those who speak about, and give ear to, the 12 types of sutra are now eternal, because these sutras eternally exist and do not change. So is it with the Buddha-Nature of beings. Hence, volition is the Buddha-Nature.” So do they say.
"Also, they say: “Consciousness [“’vijnana“’] is the Buddha-Nature. By reason of the causal relations of consciousness, one gains the all-equal mind of the Tathagata. Although the consciousness of beings is non-eternal, a consciousness is followed by another successively, so that there is no disruption. Hence, one gets the eternal mind of the Tathagata, which is true. Fire has the property of heat. But the property of heat is eternal. It is the same with the Buddha-Nature of beings. Hence, consciousness is the Buddha-Nature.” So do they say.
"Also, they say: “Other than the skandhas, there is the Self. Self is the Buddha-Nature. Why? By the causal relations of the Self, one gains the unmolested light of the Tathagata.”
"There are various tirthikas who say: “Going and coming, seeing and hearing, sorrow and gladness, and words and speaking are the Self.” All such notions of the Self are non-eternal. “’But the Self of the Tathagata is truly Eternal “’[emphasis added].
"O good man! The five skandhas, the 18 realms, and the 12 spheres are also non-eternal. But we call them eternal. The same is the case with beings.
"O good man! Each of the blind men speaks about the elephant and what he says does not accord with the truth. Yet it is not that he does not speak about the elephant.“’ “’It is the same with the person who speaks about the Buddha-Nature, too. It is not quite the six things, and yet it is not the case that it is away from them. O good man! That is why I say that the Buddha-Nature is non-form, and yet it is not segregated from form. It is not the Self, and yet, nor is it away from the Self. O good man! Many tirthikas say that there is the Self. But, truth to tell, there is no Self. The Self of beings [as opposed to that of the Buddha?- ed.] is the five skandhas. Other than the skandhas, there is no Self. O good man! For example, the stem, leaf, and calyx combine and we get the bloom of the lotus. Other than this, there cannot be any flower. It is the same with the Self of beings.
"O good man! For example, the walls, grass, and wood combine, and we have a house. Other than this, there cannot be a house. The khadira, palasa, nyagrodha, and udumbara combine, and we have a forest. Other than this, there is no forest. For example, such things as chariots, soldiers, elephants, horses and infantry combine, and we have an army. Other than this, there can be no army. A good combination of the threads of five colours brings forth an “’aya“’ “’[Jap: a kind of silken cloth of mixed colour-tone]. Other than this, there cannot be any aya. The harmonious combination of the four castes is called the “great populace”. Other than this, there can be no “great populace”. It is the same with the Self of beings, too. There is [with them] no Self other than the five skandhas.
“’"O good man! The Eternal of the Tathagata is the Self. The Dharmakaya “’[Dharma-Body]“’ of the Tathagata is unboundedness, unobstructedness, birthlessness, undyingness, and the eight unmolestednesses. This is the Self. The beings, truth to tell, do not have such a Self and what the Self possesses. Only because of the fact that a person absolutely attains the absoute Void of “’Paramartha-satya“’ do we say the Buddha-Nature.
"O good man! Great Loving-Kindness and Great Compassion are the Buddha-Nature. Why? Because Great Loving-Kindness and Great Compassion always accompany the Bodhisattva. It is like the shadow that follows a form. All beings decidedly will attain Great Loving-Kindness and Great Compassion. So, we say that all beings possess Great Loving-Kindness and Great Compassion. Great Loving-Kindness and Great Compassion are the Buddha-Nature. The Buddha-Nature is the Tathagata.
"Great Sympathetic Joy and Great Equanimity are the Buddha-Nature. Why? If the Bodhisattva-mahasattva cannot forsake the 25 existences, he cannot attain unsurpassed Enlightenment. As beings will all unfailingly gain it, we say that all beings possess the Buddha-Nature. Great Sympathetic Joy and Great Equanimity are the Buddha-Nature. The Buddha-Nature is at once the Tathagata “’[emphasis added].“’
“’"The Buddha-nature is great faith [Jap: “’daishinjin“’]. “’Why? Because of faith, the Bodhisattva-mahasattva can indeed be perfect in danaparamita up to prajnaparamita. As all beings unfailingly gain great faith, we say: “All beings have the Buddha-Nature.” Great faith is the Buddha-Nature. The Buddha-Nature is the Tathagata.
"The Buddha-Nature is the single son's soil. Why? Because by the causal relations of the single son's soil, the Bodhisattva is equal in his mind towards all beings. As all beings ultimately attain the single son's soil, we say: “All beings possess the Buddha-Nature.” The single son's soil is the Buddha-Nature. The Buddha-Nature is the Tathagata.
"The Buddha-Nature is the fourth power. Why? Through the causal relations of the fourth power, the Bodhisattva teaches all beings well. As all beings will ultimately gain the fourth power, we say: “All beings possess the Buddha-Nature.” The fourth power is the Buddha-Nature. The Buddha-Nature is the Tathagata.
"The Buddha-Nature is the 12 links of interdependent arising. Why? By reason of the causal relations, the Tathagata is Eternal. All beings definitely possess these 12 links of interdependent arising. That is why we say: “All beings possess the Buddha-Nature.” The 12 links of interdependent arising are the Buddha-Nature. The Buddha-Nature is the Tathagata.
"The Buddha-Nature is the fourfold unhindered knowledge. By reason of the four unhinderednesses, we say that he is unhindered in understanding words. Unhindered in understanding words, he indeed teaches beings. The four unhinderednesses are the Buddha-Nature. The Buddha-Nature is the Tathagata.
"The Buddha-Nature is called vajropama-samadhi. By practising samadhi, one truly catches hold of the Buddhist doctrines. Because of this, we say: “The vajropama-samadhi is the Buddha-Nature.” The Bodhisattva of the ten stages practises this samadhi and is not yet perfect. He sees the Buddha-Nature, but not clearly. As all beings will ultimately gain it, we say: “All beings have the Buddha-Nature.”
"O good man! As all the doctrines [dharmas?] referred to above will definitely be gained by all beings, we say: “All beings definitely have the Buddha-Nature.” O good man! If I say that material form [“’rupa“’] is the Buddha-Nature, beings, on hearing this, will gain an inverted [view]. Being inverted, when life ends they will fall into Avichi Hell. The sermons of the Tathagata are to cut the person off from hell. So he does not say that material form is the Buddha-Nature. Also, the same applies down to consciousness.
"O good man! We say that when all beings gain the Buddha-Nature, they need not practise the Way. This comes from the fact that the Bodhisattva of the ten stages, as he practises the Noble Eightfold Path, can see the Buddha-Nature a little. How could a person who has not practised the Way well see it? O good man! Manjushri and all the Bodhisattvas have already practised the Holy Way over innumerable lives and they know the Buddha-Nature. How could the sravaka and pratyekabuddha know the Buddha-Nature? Any being who desires to know the Buddha-Nature must, with one mind, uphold, recite, copy and expound the Nirvana Sutra and make offerings, respect and praise it. If one should encounter a person who upholds and praises the Sutra, one ought to give such a person a good house to live in, clothing, and food and drink, bedding, and medicine; and also, one ought to praise, worship, and ask about the Way. O good man! A person who has in innumerable, boundless past lives associated with, and offered things to, innumerable Buddhas and has thus amassed a great deal of good can hope to hear the name of this Sutra.
"O good man! It is difficult to conceive of the Buddha-Nature. It is not possible to conceive of the Treasures of the Buddha, Dharma and Sangha. All beings possess the Buddha-Nature, but not all can know it. This, too, cannot easily be conceived of. The law [Dharma?] of the Eternal, Bliss, the Self, and the Pure of the Tathagata is also difficult to know. That all beings trust in the Great Nirvana Sutra is difficult to know, too."
Bodhisattva Lion's Roar said: "O World-Honoured One! You say: “It is not possible to conceive that all beings truly believe in the Great Nirvana Sutra.” O World-Honoured One! Among the mass of people here present, there are 85,000 billion people who have no faith in this sutra. It is a thing of wonder if there can be any who can believe in this sutra."
"O good man! All such people can, in lives to come, definitely believe in this sutra. They will see the Buddha-Nature and attain unsurpassed Enlightenment."
Lion's Roar said: "O World-Honoured One! How can the Bodhisattva of the unretrogressive state come to know that he has the unretrogressive mind?"
The Buddha said: "O good man! The Bodhisattva-mahasattva tests his own mind by penance. He takes a single sesame seed a day and this proceeds for seven days. This proceeds also with such as rice, green beans, hemp seeds, millet, white beans, of which he takes one each day for seven days. When taking a hemp seed, he has to think: “All such penances help nothing. I am doing what does not benefit me. Why not do what gives benefit?” In what gives the person no benefit the mind well stands and does not draw back and change [?]. Because of this, he is sure to attain unsurpassed Enlightenment. When the penance is practised in such days, the flesh and skin get so emaciated and shrink so that everything looks like a raw gourd cut and placed in the sun. The eyes become so drawn back that they look like stars floating in a well; the flesh is so sunken that it looks like a grass-thatched house. The bones of the spine so stick out, one above the other, that we might well think of juentan [the cover on a crown]; where he sits looks like a place stamped by a horse-shoe. Desiring to sit, he falls face down, and desiring to get up, he falls face down. Thus does he suffer from useless pains. Yet, his Bodhichitta [resolve for Enlightenment] does not recoil.
"Also, next, O good man! The Bodhisattva-mahasattva fights against all pains. And to give peace to others, he casts away all the wealth that he has and abandons his own life as though it were fodder. Casting aside his body and mind, such a Bodhisattva unfailingly sees that he has an unretrogressive mind and that he will definitely attain unsurpassed Enlightenment.
"Also, next, the Bodhisattva, for Dharma, slices off his own body and makes it into a lamp. He rolls his skin and flesh in a woolen cloth, puts butter oil on it, burns it and makes it into a wick. The Bodhisattva suffers this great pain at the time and reproaches his own mind, saying: “Even such pains are not worth a hundred-thousand-millionth part. You have, over a period of an innumerable hundred thousand kalpas, undergone great pain and gained nothing. If you cannot stand this slight pain, how can you hope to save those in hell who are in pain?” When the Bodhisattva-mahasattva thinks thus, he has no pain in his body and his mind does not draw back. It does not move about or shift. The Bodhisattva then deeply thinks: “I shall surely attain unsurpassed Enlightenment.” O good man! The Bodhisattva, at that time, is garbed in defilement. It is not yet cut off. For the sake of Dharma, he indeed gives away to beings all his head, eyes, marrow, hands and feet, blood and flesh. He strikes nails into his body, thows himself onto the rocks, and steps into fire. The Bodhisattva at that time suffers such innumerable pains. His mind does not draw back, does not move about, and does not shift. And the Bodhisattva knows: “I now have an unretrogressive mind, and I shall attain unsurpassed Enlightenment.”
"O good man! The Bodhisattva-mahasattva, in order to crush out the suffering of all beings, takes a vow, gains the rough and great body of an animal and gives away his own body, blood and flesh to beings. When the beings take these, they will have a pitying mind. The Bodhisattva then suppresses his breathing, shows a dying face, and does not let a person who harms gain the thought of killing or doubt. The Bodhisattva, though now an animal in body, does not, to the end, perform any action of an animal. Why? O good man! When the Bodhisattva gains an unretrogressive mind, he does not perform any action of the three unfortunate realms. If there should be any bit of evil karmic returns not yet definitely suppressed in the life to come, the Bodhisattva-mahasattva takes a great vow and suffers himself all such for the sake of beings.
"For example, a sick person has within his body a devil which sits within, hidden. By the power of charms, it shows its form and talks, is happy, angry, slanders, weeps, and laughs. Things go thus. The actions in the days of the three unfortunate realms of the Bodhisattva-mahasattva also proceed in the same way.
"When the Bodhisattva-mahasattva gains the body of a brown bear, he speaks of Wonderful Dharma to beings. Or he may gain the body of a kapinjala, and speaks of Dharma to beings. Or he may gain such a body as that of the godha, the deer, hare, sheep, monkey, white dove, garuda, naga, or serpent. Gaining such a body, he does not ever think of performing the evil actions of a beast. Always, for the sake of all other beasts and beings, he speaks of Wonderful Dharma, so as to enable them quickly to discard their animal bodies. The Bodhisattva, although possessing the body of an animal, does not do any of the evil actions of an animal. So, one can know that he decidedly dwells in an unretrogressive mind.
"The Bodhisattva-mahasattva, at the time of a famine, sees the hunger-ridden beings and gains the body of a tortoise or fish, as big as innumerable yojanas. Again, he swears to himself: “I pray that when all beings take my flesh, as soon as they take it new flesh will come about, so much so that they will be able to segregate themselves from hunger and thirst and that all will aspire to unsurpassed Enlightenment.” The Bodhisattva takes a vow: “If they make away with hunger and thirst because of me, they will in the days to come make away with the 25 existences.” When the Bodhisattva undergoes such pains, he will not retrogress. Know that he will unfailingly attain unsurpassed Enlightenment.
"Also, next, the Bodhisattva, in the days of an epidemic, sees those who are suffering and thinks: “This is as in the case of a big medicine tree, and the sick come and take the roots, the stem, the branches, the leaves, the flowers, the fruit, and the bark, and they make away with their illness. I pray that my body, too, will serve in this way. Anyone who suffers from illness may hear [my] voice, touch [my] body, or partake of [my] blood and flesh, or the marrow of [my] bones, and their illness will depart. I pray that when all beings partake of my flesh, they will not gain evil thoughts and will feel as though they were partaking of the flesh of their own child. After curing their illness, I shall always speak of Dharma. I pray that they will believe, meditate, and then teach others.”
"Also, next, O good man! The Bodhisattva, though clad in defilement and suffering bodily pain - his mind does not draw back, does not move or shift. Know that he will unfailingly gain the unretrogressive mind and accompany unsurpassed Enlightenment.
"Also, next, O good man! Beings may be suffering from illnesses because of a devil. The Bodhisattva sees this and says: “I pray that I will gain the body of a devil, great in size and powerful in physique, and one who has various kindred, so that he may see and give ear to what I speak and that the illness departs.”
"The Bodhisattva, for the sake of beings, undergoes penance. Though clad in defilement, his mind does not become defiled.
"Also, next, O good man! The Bodhisattva-mahasattva practises the six paramitas [perfections]. But he does not seek to gain the fruit of the six paramitas. When practising the six paramitas, he prays: “I shall now offer all this action of mine of the six paramitas to the good of all beings, so that any person receiving what I give will achieve unsurpassed Enlightenment. I shall also, as I practise the six paramitas, undergo all pains. As I suffer, I pray that I shall not draw back in my aspiration to Enlightenment.” O good man! When the Bodhisattva gains this [state of] mind, we call this unretrogressive.
"Also, next, O good man! It is difficult to conceive of the Bodhisattva. Why? The Bodhisattva-mahasattva knows very well all the sins of birth and death, and sees the great virtue of Great Nirvana. And for the sake of all beings, he lives where birth and death obtain, suffering there manifold pains. Yet, his mind does not pull back. This is why we say that the Bodhisattva is inconceivable.
"Also, next, O good man! The Bodhisattva-mahasattva has pity where there is nothing to have pity on. Truth to tell, he owes nothing, and yet he always does favours [to beings]. Bestowing favours, he yet does not expect any return. For this reason, we say that he is inconceivable.
"Also, next, O good man! There are beings who practise various penances for their own good. The Bodhisattva-mahasattva practises penances so as to benefit others. This is “benefiting one's own self.” This is also what is difficult to conceive.
"Also, next, the Bodhisattva, clad in defilement, practises the all-equal mind, so that he can crush out all the pains that arise out of friendliness and enmity. Because of this, we say inconceivable.
"Also, next, the Bodhisattva sees beings who do evil and do what is not good. He reproaches them, speaks gently, rejects and abandons. To one who is evil-natured, he uses gentle words; to one who is arrogant, he becomes greatly arrogant. And, yet, at heart he is not haughty. This is what we call the inconceivability of the expedients of the Bodhisattva.
"Also, next, the Bodhisattva is clad in defilement. When he has little, many people come and ask. And his mind does not become narrow-minded. This is what is inconceivable in the Bodhisattva.
"Also, next, the Bodhisattva knows the virtue of the Buddha, when the Buddha appears in the world. For the sake of beings he gains birth even in remote places, where the Buddha is not. He is like a blind, deaf, lame, or crippled person. This is why we say that the Bodhisattva is inconceivable.
"Also, next, the Bodhisattva knows very well all the sins of beings, and for the sake of Emancipation, he always accompanies them. Although he follows the way of their mind, he does not get contaminated by sin and defilement. For this reason, we say inconceivable.
"Also, next, the Bodhisattva gains a body which still has defilement, and lives in Tusita Heaven. This, too, is inconceivable. Why? Tusita Heaven is the best of heavens in the world of desire. Those who live in the low heavens have minds that are indolent, and all the sense-organs of those in the high heavens are dull. Because of this, we say superb. Practising dana and sila, one gains a high or low body. Practising dana, sila, and samadhi, one gains the body of the Tusita Heaven. All Bodhisattvas despise and destroy all dharmas [impermanent things]. Never do they perform the actions of heaven and gain the body of that heaven. Why not? Though living in other existences, the Bodhisattva truly teaches and gains the end. Truth to tell, he has no greed, and yet is born into the world of desire. Because of this, we say inconceivable.
"The Bodhisattva-mahasattva, when he is born in Tusita heaven, has three superior things, namely: 1) life, 2) colour, and 3) fame. The Bodhisattva-mahasattva does not seek life, colour, or fame. Not seeking [these], what he gets is superior. The Bodhisattva-mahasattva seeks much Nirvana, and in the cause of “is”, too, he is superior. For this reason, we say inconceivable.
"Although the Bodhisattva-mahasattva thus supercedes the gods in these three things, they gain no [feeling of] anger, jealousy, or arrogance towards the Bodhisattva. They are happy. The Bodhisattva, too, does not become arrogant towards the gods. That is why we say inconceivable.
"Although the Bodhisattva-mahasattva does not perform any action to gain life, he gains life in that heaven ultimately. Thus we say that [his] life is superior. Although he has not done anything for [the sake of] colour, the light of his wonderful body fills all around. Thus he is superior to others in colour. Living in that heavenly world, the Bodhisattva-mahasattva does not seek the five desires. What he does relates to Dharma. On account of this, his name resounds in the ten directions. This is how his name [reputation, fame] is superior. This is how he is inconceivable.
"The Bodhisattva-mahasattva descends from Tusita Heaven, and the great earth shakes in six ways. So we say inconceivable. Why? When the Bodhisattva descends from heaven, all the gods of the worlds of desire and colour accompany him and see him off and greatly praise the Bodhisattva. From the wind generated by their mouths, the earth shakes.
"Also, the Bodhisattva becomes the elephant king of men, and this elephant king is called “naga king”. When the naga enters the womb, all the naga kings under the ground are afraid and frightened. So the great earth shakes in six ways. Because of this, we say inconceivable.
"When the Bodhisattva-mahasattva enters the womb, he knows how long he has to be therein and when he will comes out. He knows the father and mother, and is not defiled by filth. All this obtains as in the case of the knot of hair and the blue-coloured gem of Devendra. Because of this, we say inconceivable.
"O good man! It is the same with the Great Nirvana Sutra, which is inconceivable. For example, this is as with the eight things which are inconceivable. What are the eight? They are: 1) by degrees the deepness increases; 2) it is deep and the bottom is difficult to gain; 3) sameness obtains as in the case of the salty taste [of the ocean, which is everywhere salty]; 4) the tide does not exceed the boundary line; 5) there are various storehouses of treasure; 6) a great-bodied being lives therein; 7) no dead bodies are to be found there; 8) all rivers and great rains flow in, but the volume of water neither increases nor decreases.
"O good man! We say that the deepness gradually increases. Here, there are three things, namely: 1) the power of beings' wealth; 2) the fair wind which carries things well, and 3) the river water enters, and there are three kinds of non-increase and non-decrease. It is the same with this all-wonderful Great Nirvana Sutra, too. There are eight inconceivablenesses.
"First, there is the gradual deepening such as of the five silas, the ten silas, the 250 silas, the Bodhisattva silas. And there are the fruitions of the srotapanna, sakrdagamin, anagamin, arhat, pratyekabuddha, Bodhisattva, and unsurpassed Bodhi. This Nirvana Sutra speaks of these teachings. Hence, gradual deepening. This is the gradual deepening.
"Second, the greatly difficult has a bottom. The Tathagata-World-Honoured one is birthlessness and deathlessness. There is no attaining of unsurpassed Enlightenment. There is no turning of the Wheel of Dharma. He does not feed, does not receive, and does not give “[?].’ Hence, we say “the Eternal, the Bliss, the Self, and the Pure”. Beings all have the Buddha-Nature. The Buddha-Nature is not material form, and yet is not away from material form. It is not feeling, not perception, not volition, and not consciousness. Nor is he [i.e. Buddha] segregated from consciousness. This is to always see. The cause of revealing is no cause of doing. Those from the srotapanna up to pratyekabuddha will all gain unsurpassed Enlightenment. Also, there is no defilement that can be named and no place to exist, and there is not illusion. So, we say “Eternal”. Hence, “deep”.“
’"Also, there is the “Eternally Deep”. This is what we encounter in the sutra, which at times states as [speaks of] the Self and at times as the non-Self; or at times it “ ’goes as [designates?] the Eternal, or as the non-Eternal; or, at times, as the Pure, or at times as the Impure; or at times, it goes as Bliss, and at times as Suffering;“ ’or at times, as the Void, or at times as the Non-Void; at times, all is “is”, or at times all is “is-not”; or at times, all are the three vehicles, or at times one vehicle; or at times, as the five skandhas, the Buddha-Nature, the vajra-samadhi, and the Middle Path; or the Suramgama Samadhi, the 12 links of interdependence,“’ and Paramartha-satya“’. Loving-kindness and Compassion come about equally to all beings. It is the highest knowledge, faith, the power that knows all sense-organs. He speaks about the Wisdom of things. Possessing the Buddha-Nature, no fixedness is spoken of. Thus, “deep”.
"Third, we have the sameness of the saltiness of taste. All beings possess the Buddha-Nature and ride in one vehicle; what there is is one Emancipation. What there is is the one cause and the one fruition. The taste is the same amrta [ambrosia - Immortality]. “’All will attain the Eternal, Bliss, the Self, and the Pure“’ [emphasis added]. This is the sense in which we speak of “one taste”.
"Fourth, the tide does not cross the boundary line. In this, many prohibitions suppress the bhiksus. There are eight impure things which they must not keep. It is as when stated that my disciple well upholds, recites, copies, expounds and discriminates this all-wonderful Great Nirvana Sutra and that he does not transgress against it, even if it meant losing his life. That is why we say that the tide does not overstep the boundary line.
"Fifth, we say that there are various storehouses of treasure. This sutra is one that contains uncountable treasures. These are the four remembrances, the four efforts, the four at-willnesses, the five sense-organs, the five powers, the seven Bodhi elements, and the Noble Eightfold Path. Also, they are such as the child's actions, the holy actions, the pure actions, and the heavenly actions. These are all the good expedients and the Buddha-Nature of all beings. There are such as the virtues of the Bodhisattva, the virtues of the Tathagata, the virtues of the sravaka, and the virtues of the pratyekabuddha; there are such as the six paramitas, the countless samadhis, and the innumerable Wisdoms. Hence, we say “treasure-house”.
"Sixth, this refers to where the Great-Body Being lives. We say “Great-Body Being”. Because of the fact that the Buddha and Bodhisattva have great Wisdom, we say “great being”. Because of the greatness of their body, the greatness of their mind, of the great adornment, of the great subjugation which they perform, of their great expedients, of their great sermons, of their great power, of the greatness of the number of people, of the greatness of their miracles, of their Great Loving-Kindness, of their being Eternal and Unchanging, of the fact that all beings are unhindered, of the fact that all beings are taken in, we say “where the Great-Body Being resides”.
"Seventh, we say that no dead body stays [there]. The dead body is none other than the icchantika, the four grave offences, the five deadly sins, slandering the vaipulya, delivering sermons wrongly or unlawfully. The person stores up the eight impure things; he wilfully uses what belongs to the Buddha and the Sangha; he does what is unlawful [i.e. against Dharma] in the presence of the bhiksus and bhiksunis [monks and nuns]. These are the dead bodies. The Great Nirvana Sutra is away from any such. That is why we say that there remains no dead body there.
"Eighth, we have what does not increase and what does not decrease. We say this because there is no boundary line and no beginning and no end, being non-form, non-action, being Eternal, not being born, and not dying. As all beings are all-equal, as all beings are of the same nature, we say that there is no increase and no decrease. Thus, like the great ocean, this sutra possesses eight inconceivablenesses."
Lion's Roar said: "O World-Honoured One! You the Tathagata say that birthlessness and deathlessness are what is deep. Now, with all beings there are four [types of] birth, namely: 1) egg-born, 2) embryo-born, 3) moisture-born, and 4) transformed existence [spontaneous, immediate rebirth, e.g. as a god]. Man is fully possessed of these four kinds of birth. The cases of Bhiksus Campalu and Upacampalu are good examples. The mother of the rich man, Mekhala, that of the rich man, Nyagrodha, and the mother of Panjara are of the 500 egg-born [varieties]. Know that even among humans, too, there are cases of egg-born [persons]. As to those moisture-born, it is as the Buddha states. Once in the past, as a Bodhisattva, I was born as King Head-Born and King Hand-Born. This was as in the case of the women, Amra and Kapitha. Know that there is also the case of birth by moisture. At the time of the beginning of the world, all beings appear as transformed births [i.e. spontaneously]. The Tathagata-World-Honoured One gains the eight unmolestednesses. Why does he not appear as a transformed birth?"
The Buddha said: "O good man! All beings appear through the four types of birth. When Holy Dharma is gained, one can no more be born as before in such forms as egg-born or moisture-born. O good man! The beings at the beginning of the world all appear in transformed states. At that time, the Buddha does not appear in the world. O good man! When one becomes sick and has pain, one seeks a doctor and medicine. The beings at the time of the beginning of the world gain birth in transformed states [i.e. spontaneously]. Though they are possessed of defilement, [their] illness does not as yet manifest. For this reason, the Tathagata does not appear in the world. The beings at the time of the beginning of the world do not have such receptacles as body and mind. On this account, the Tathagata does not appear in the world.
"O good man! The Tathagata's caste, relatives and parents are superior to those of beings. Because of this surpassing [quality], people believe in whatever is said about Dharma. For this reason, the Tathagata does not gain birth through moisture. O good man! With all beings, the father makes the karma of his son, and his son that of his father. If the Tathagata gains the moisture type of birth, there is no father and no mother. With no father and mother, how might people be made to do all good deeds? Because of this, the Tathagata does not gain a body by transformation. O good man! In the Wonderful Dharma of the Buddha, there are two protections. One is in and the other out. The in is the observing of the precepts, and the out is the relatives and kindred. If the Buddha-Tathagata gained a transformed body, there could not be any protection from without. For this reason, the Tathagata does not gain a transformed body.
"O good man! Humans gain arrogance from caste. To destroy that kind of haughtiness, he [Buddha] takes a noble birth, not gaining a transformed body. O good man! The Tathagata-World-Honoured one has a true father and mother. The father was Suddhodana, and the mother Maya. Regarding this, all beings say that they were phantoms. How could he gain a transformed body? If his body was one of transformation, how could he gain a transformed body? Gaining a transformed body, how could there be anything such as the dissolution of his body and the presence of the sarira [body-relics]? To increase fortune and virtue, he makes his body go into dissolution and makes offerings. Because of this, the Tathagata does not gain a transformed body. No Buddhas ever show themselves in transformed births. Why should I alone gain a transformed body?"
Then, Bodhisattva Lion's Roar folded his hands, and prostrating himself upon the ground, with his right knee on the ground, he praised the Buddha:
"The Tathagata is a ball of innumerable virtues!
I cannot now well explain [this]. I now,
For beings' sake, speak but a part.
Have pity and give ear to what I say.
Beings move about in the gloom of ignorance,
And suffer from a hundred pains.
The World-Honoured One thoroughly cuts them off. Hence,
The world says that he is Great Loving-Kindness.
Beings go and come back,
Like a rope of birth and death;
And with indolence and delusion
There is no peace and no bliss.
The Tathagata truly gives people peace
And thus eternally cuts
The rope of birth and death.
The Buddha truly gives people peace and bliss
And has no greed regarding the bliss he [himself] has.
For beings' sake he undergoes penance.
Hence, people make offerings to him.
Seeing others suffering pain, his body shakes.
When he is in hell, he feels no pain.
For the sake of the beings, he undergoes great pain.
For this reason, none can supercede [him];
None can recount. The Tathagata,
For beings' sake, practises penance
And accomplishes it and is perfect
In the six paramitas.
His mind is not moved even by evil winds
And is superior to all great ones.
Beings always care for peace and bliss,
But do not know how to effect the cause thereof.
The Tathagata teaches [beings] to practise well,
Like unto the compassionate father
Who loves his only son.
The Buddha sees beings' illness of defilement
And grieves over it, just as a mother does
Who sees her son sick.
He always thinks how he can cut out the illness.
Because of this, his body belongs to others.
All beings enact all the causes of suffering.
Their minds are upside down and take such to be bliss.
The Tathagata tells us of the bliss and sorrow that are true.
So we say “Great Compassion”.
All worlds are shelled in by ignorance
And no beak of Wisdom can easily break this asunder.
The Tathagata's beak of Wisdom can well do this.
Hence, we say “Greatest Person”.
The Three Times do not well hold him;
No name or no temporary name does exist.
And the Buddha knows the profoundest meaning of Nirvana.
So we call him the “Great Awakened One”.
The river of “is” twirls around
And beings get drowned.
Their eyes are blinded by ignorance,
So that they cannot easily extract their own Self out.
The Tathagata saves his own Self and also saves others.
Hence the Buddha is called the “great master mariner”.
He is well versed in the cause and result of all things
And in the way to annul these.
He always gives medicine to beings' illnesses.
Hence we call him the “Great Doctor”.
The tirthikas speak of twisted views and of penance
And say that these call in bliss unsurpassed.
The Tathagata speaks of the True Way of bliss
And enables beings to gain ease and bliss.
The Tathagata-World-Honoured One destroys the twisted views of life
And shows beings the right path to take.
Anyone who follows this path will gain ease and bliss.
Hence we call the Buddha the “Guide”.
It is not that what one does [?],
Not that what others do [?],
It is no doing together [?];
It is not without a cause.
The pain about which the Tathagata speaks
Surpasses what the tirthikas profess.
He is accomplished and perfect
In sila, samadhi, and Wisdom
And teaches beings this Dharma. When giving,
He has no jealousy or stinginess. Hence
We call the Buddha the “Unsurpassed Compassionate One”.
Whatever is not done
And whatever has no causal relations, and he gains
The causeless and result-less recompense [?].
Because of this, all wise persons
Praise the Tathagata for what he does for no returns.
Always journeying together
With the indolence of the world at large,
He himself is not defiled by indolence.
That is why we say inconceivable. The eight things
Of the world cannot defile him.
The Tathagata-World-Honoured One sees
Neither enemy nor friend. So his mind is always impartial.
I give a Lion's Roar, and truly roar out all the Lion's Roars of the world."
Complete Text of the Nirvana Sutra (8)