Nirvana Sutra: Chapter Seven: On the Four Aspects
Mahayana Mahaparinirvana Sutra
Translated by KOSHO YAMAMOTO
FROM Dharmakshema's Chinese version
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The Complete Kosho Yamamoto English Translation of the "Nirvana Sutra", edited and revised by Dr. Tony Page, typographically improved by Jay and Gabriele Mazo
Chapter Seven: On the Four Aspects
“The Buddha again spoke to Kasyapa: "O good man! There are four aspects about which a Bodhisattva-mahasattva discriminates and expounds Mahaparinirvana. What are these four? They are: 1) rightness in one's own self, 2) correcting others, 3) complying well (with the teachings) and discussing, and 4) understanding well causal relations.
"O Kasyapa! What is rightness in one's own self? This is as when the Buddha Tathagata expounds Dharma, seeing well the causal relations. This is like a bhiksu seeing a great fire. He says: "I would sooner throw myself into this ball of burning fire than ever say that all the twelve types of sutras and the undisclosed teachings are from Mara (the devil). If one says that the Tathagata, Dharma and Sangha are non-eternal, this is cheating one's own self and also others. I would sooner cut out my tongue with a sharp sword than ever say that the Tathagata, Dharma and Sangha are non-eternal. I might indeed hear others saying this, but I will never believe it. I shall even pity a person who says such as this. The Tathagata, Dharma and Sangha are inconceivable." One should uphold one's own self well like this. One looks to one's own self as if seeing a fire ball. This is how one sees rightness in one's own self.
"O Kasyapa! How does one correct others? When I was once talking about Dharma, there was a woman nursing a child with milk. She came up to where the Buddha was. She touched my feet with her head and paid homage to me. As she was worried, she was absorbed in herself and took her seat on one side. Fathoming her mind, I especially said to her: "Out of love for your child, you have given the child too much cream. You did not weigh up the (matters of) digestion and indigestion." At that, the woman said to me: "How wonderful that the World-Honoured One thus reads my mind. Please, O World-Honoured One! Teach me how to give. O World-Honoured One! I gave (my child) too much cream this morning. Possibly it cannot digest it well. Will this not take the child's life? O Tathagata! Please explain things to me." I said: "What you gave will be digested by and by and then will enhance life." The woman, on hearing this, was very glad. She spoke again, saying: "What the Tathagata speaks is (always) true. So I am glad. The World-Honoured One, in order to teach all beings, makes distinctions and expounds digestion and indigestion, the non-Self and non-eternal of all existences. If the World-Honoured One were to talk first about the Eternal, a person hearing this might say that what he says is the same as what the tirthikas (heterodox believers) say, and discount what he says and go away." I then said to the woman: "When the child grows up and becomes big, and when it can come and go by itself, whatever is eaten will be digested, even when indigestible (previously). The cream that was taken before will not be enough to support (that person). The same is the case with all my sravaka disciples. It is as in the case of your child. They cannot digest this eternal Dharma. That is why I speak about suffering and impermanence. When all of my sravakas are already perfect in virtue and can stand learning the Mahayana sutras, I then, in this sutra, speak about the six tastes.
"What are the six tastes? Suffering is the taste of vinegar; the non-Eternal that of salt; non-Self that of bitterness; Bliss has the taste of sweetness; Self is of pungent taste; and the Eternal is light in taste. In secular life, too, there are three tastes, which are: 1) non-Eternal, 2) non-Self, and 3) non-Bliss. Illusion is the fuel, and Wisdom is the fire. By this means, we gain the meal of Nirvana. This is the Eternal, Bliss, and Self. All of my disciples taste these as sweet." I also said to the woman: "If you happen to go to other places, drive away bad boys from the house and give treasure to good boys." The woman said to me: "Indeed, as you instruct me, the rare treasures that I have will be shown to good sons, and not to bad ones." "O sister! The case is the same with me. At the time of entering Parinirvana, the Tathagata's undisclosed and unsurpassed storehouse of Dharma will not be given to sravaka disciples. Just as you do not reveal your treasures to bad sons, it (my storehouse of Dharma) will by all means be entrusted to the Bodhisattvas. This is just like your revealing your treasures to good sons. Why is that? Because the sravaka disciples abide in the thought of change and say that the Tathagata truly dies. But actually I do not. This is like your going to far-away places and not yet coming back home, at which your bad sons say that you have died, whereas you have not died. All Bodhisattvas say that the Tathagata never changes. This is similar to your good sons, who do not say that you are dead. Hence, I entrust the unsurpassed, undisclosed treasure to all Bodhisattvas." O good man! If any person says that the Buddha is Eternal and does not change, know that the Buddha is present in that house. This is corrcting others.
"O Kasyapa! What is "complying well and discussing"? For example, a person comes and puts a question to the Buddha-World-Honoured One: "How can I be a great danapati (giver), not throwing my money away?" The Buddha says: "Should there be any sramana, Brahmin, or any person who seeks to posess (but) little and is fully contented and will not accept or store any impure things, give such a person a maid or servant. To one who practises pure actions, give him the lust of a female, and to one who does not drink (alcohol) or eat meat, give drink and meat; to one who does not take meals after noon, give him a meal after noon; to one who does not use flowers and incense, give flowers and incense. Such donations give rise to rumour and the fame will fill the world. Not a penny is spent. This is "complying well and discussing."
Then Bodhisattva Kasyapa said to the Buddha: "O World-Honoured One! To one who eats flesh, we should not give flesh. Why not? I see a great virtue arising out of abstention from eating flesh." The Buddha praised Kasyapa and said: "Well said, well said! You now come to know my mind well. A Bodhisattva who protects Dharma should be thus. O good man! From now on, I do not permit my sravaka disciples to eat meat. When receiving from a danapati a pristine dana (gift) of faith, think that one is eating the flesh of one's own son." Bodhisattva Kasyapa said further to the Buddha: "O World-Honoured One! Why is it that the Tathagata does not allow us to eat meat?" "O good man! “One who eats meat kills the seed of great compassion."
Kasyapa said again: "Why did you first allow the bhiksus to eat three kinds of pure meat?" "O Kasyapa! These three kinds of pure meat were so instituted following the need of the occasion." Bodhisattva Kasyapa said again to the Buddha: "O World-Honoured One! In what circumstances do you not allow the ten impurities or the nine kinds of what is pure?" The Buddha said to Kasyapa: "This also is permitted by gradual steps following the need of the occasion. This is what applies in the actual segregation from eating meat." Bodhisattva Kasyapa said further to the Buddha: "Why is it that the flesh of fish is praised and called beautiful?" "O good man! I do not say that the flesh of fish is a beautiful food. I say that sugar can, non-glutinous rice, rock candy, black rock candy, all kinds of wheat, honey, milk, cream, and oil are beautiful foods. Various kinds of clothing material can be stocked, but what can be stocked is those whose colour has faded. How could one greedily stick to (crave after) the flesh of fish?" Kasyapa said again to the Buddha: "If the Tathagata means to prohibit the eating of meat, such things as the five kinds of flavours as milk, cream, fresh butter, clarified butter, and sarpirmanda, all kinds of clothing, silk cloth, horse-shoe shell, hide and leather, bowls of gold and silver should not be received." "O good man! Do not muddle things up with what the Nirgranthas (Jains) say. Each of the prohibitions which the Tathagata lays down has a different meaning. By this, three pure meats are permitted standing on different grounds and the ten kinds of meat are prohibited by different standpoints. By different standpoints, all are prohibited, until the time of one's death. O Kasyapa! “I, from now on, tell my disciples to refrain from eating any kind of meat”. O Kasyapa! When one eats meat, this gives out the smell of meat while one is walking, standing, sitting or reclining. People smell this and become fearful. This is as when one comes near a lion. One sees and smells the lion, and fear arises. O good man! When one eats garlic, the dirty smell is unbearable. Other people notice it. They smell the bad smell. They leave that person and go away. Even from far off, people hate to see such a person. They will not come near him. It is the same with one who eats meat. It is a similar situation with all people who, on smelling the meat, become afraid and entertain the thought of death. All living things in the water, on land and in the sky desert such a person and run away. They say that this person is their enemy. Hence the Bodhisattva does not eat meat. In order to save beings, he shows (pretends) that he eats meat. Though he (seems to) eat meat, in actual fact he does not. O good man! Such a Bodhisattva does not even take pure food. How could he eat meat? One hundred years after my death, all the holy sages of the four fruitions (the four stages leading to "arhatship") will enter Nirvana. The age of Wonderful Dharma will be over, and there will appear the age of Counterfeit Dharma, when the bhiksu will keep the precepts (only) as a matter of form, will recite (only) a little of the sutras, will greedily take food and drink and (excessively) nourish his body. What he wears on his body will be ugly and coarse. He will look wearied and show no dignity. He will feed (farm) cows and sheep and carry fuel and grass. His beard, nails and hair will be long. He will don the kasaya (priestly robe) but look like a hunter. He will narrow his eyes, walk slowly and look like a cat who is after a rat. He will always mutter: "I have attained arhatship". He will suffer from all kinds of diseases, lie and sleep on dung. Outwardly he will look wise, but inside he will be greedy and jealous. He practises mute like a Brahmin. Truth to tell, he is no shramana (monk), but only tries to appear as such. He is burning with perverted views, ever slandering Wonderful Dharma. One such as this transgresses against the precepts, right action and deportment instituted by the Tathagata. He talks about the fruit of emancipation, but his actions depart from what is pure and he violates Dharma, which is profound and hidden. Each such person, following his own interpretation, will speak contrary to what the sutras and vinaya rules state, saying: "The Tathagata allows all of us meat". They will talk thus and say that the Buddha has so spoken. They will dispute and say that they are shramanas and successors to the Buddha's teaching. O good man! At that time, again, there will be shramanas who store cereals, receive fish and meat, prepare meals themselves, and keep oil pots. They will be around bejewelled parasols, leather footgear, kings, ministers and rich people. They will indulge in astrological practices and medical treatments; they will keep servants, gold, silver, beryl, musaragalva, agate, crystal, coral, amber, jade, horse-shoe shell, and many kinds of melons (seeds). They will learn all arts, painting, plastering, book-making, and all kinds of science, all kinds of seed- sowing and planting of roots, placing of curses, charming, preparation of medicines, theatrical art, music, adorning of their body with fragrances and flowers, gambling, "go" game, and various kinds of handiwork. If any bhiksu rejects such evils, one can say that he is truly my disciple." Then Kasyapa said further to the Buddha: "O World-Honoured One! The bhiksus, bhiksunis, upasakas and upasikas may have to live depending on people. At the time of the alms-round, one may be given food containing meat. How can one take it and yet be pure?" The Buddha said: "Use water, wash away the meat, and then eat it (the rest of the food). The utensil may be defiled by meat. But if no taste of meat remains, this may be used. There will be no harm done. If one sees that there is a lot of meat, one should not accept such a meal. One must never eat the meat itself. One who eats it infringes the rule. I now set this rule of segregating one's self from eating meat. If we go into detail, there will be no end of explanations. It is now time that I enter Nirvana. So I must dispense with explanations. This is "answering well what is enquired about."
"O Kasyapa! What does "well understanding causal relations" mean? The four classes of the Sangha may come to me and say: "This is the first time, O Tathagata, that you have told us such a thing. Why is this? You did not tell King Prasenajit about the deeper part of the teaching, and said, at times, that it was "deep", and, at other times, "shallow"; at times, you said that one infringes, and, at other times, that one did not. Why do we say "parajayika" (parajika, means grave, extremely serious), precepts and "pratimoksha" (the rules of monastic life, which "set one free")?
"Parajayika" means "the four unfortunate realms". It also means falling into hell, down to Avichi Hell (the most terrible of the eight hot hells); as to slowness or swiftness, it is swifter than rushing rain. One who hears (of this), fears, strictly upholds the precepts, and never acts contrary to (correct moral) deportment. Trained in contentment, he will never receive what is not pure. Also, the parajayika augments (the realms of) hell, animals and hungry pretas. For these reasons, we say "parajayika".
"Precepts" refers to moral deportment, the deep meaning of the sutras, and the signification of good, and segregating oneself from accepting impure things and from all causal relations with impure things. Also, the precepts segregate one from such as the four grave offences, the thirteen samghavasesas, two aniyatans, thirty naihsargika-prayascittikas, ninety-one payatikas, four desaniyas, siksakaraniya, seven ways of adhikaranasamatha, etc. Or there may be a person who transgresses against all the precepts. What are all of them? This refers to the four grave offences right down to the seven ways of adhikaranasamatha. Or there may be a person who slanders the deep signification of the Buddhist sutras of Wonderful Dharma or who is all-accomplished as an icchantika, who has no possibility of ever encountering the Buddhist teaching by any means. Such people say of themselves that they are clear-headed and wise. They are equal to all sins. They conceal all the evils done that may be light or grave in nature, just as a tortoise hides its six limbs under its shell. They never once repent any such sins. Because of this non-repentance, their sins increase day and night. All such bhiksus do not confess all their sins. As they hide these within, they gradually grow. The Tathagata, aware of all this, prohibits by gradual steps and not at a time."
Then, good men and women said to the Buddha: "O World-Honoured One! The Tathagata knew all such things. Why did you not previously suppress (them)? Or, O World-Honoured One, does this not mean all beings' falling into Avichi Hell? For example, many people, desiring to go to other places, miss the right way and take the wrong. These people, not knowing what is wrong, say that they are taking the right way. This is as in the case of one who does not ask about right or wrong. In the same way, people take the wrong path regarding the Buddhist teaching. The Tathagata ought first to show the right path and let all bhiksus know how this violates the injunctions and what is right. You should thus show the prohibitions. Why? Because we say that the Tathagata, the Right-Enlightened One, is one who is true (truthful). He sees the right path. And the Tathagata is the god of gods, and he indeed talks about the superb virtues of the ten good deeds and the meanings thereof. Thus we respectfully beseech you first to institute the precepts." The Buddha said: "O good man! If you say that the Tathagata, for the sake of beings, talks about the superb virtues of the ten good deeds, this indicates that he sees beings like his son, Rahula. How can you reproach him and ask if he lets beings not fall into hell? Should I see but one person falling into Avichi Hell, I would, for the sake of that person, stay in the world for a kalpa or less than a kalpa. I have great compassion for all beings. How could I cheat one whom I regard as my son and let him fall into hell? O good man! It is like a person in the land of a king who dons the kasaya. There is a hole in it, and he sees and later repairs it. The same with the Tathagata. Seeing a person falling into hell, he causes repairs (to be made) and bestows the precepts for good deeds. O good man! This is like a chakravartin who, for the sake of beings, first speaks about the ten good deeds. Later, the time comes when he occasionally sees people doing evil. Then the king passes a law and roots it out. Having rooted out all evil, the king effects the administration of a chakravartin. O good man! The same with me. I have things to say, but I do not set laws first. Always, first, the bhiksu does wrong; then, accordingly, admonition is given. And the people who love the Way are pleased to practise (accordingly). Such people can well see the Dharma-Body of the Tathagata. This is like the chakraratna (wheel treasure), the all-wonderful quality of a chakravartin, which is hard to conceive. The same in the case with the Tathagata. He is beyond knowing. The two treasures of Dharma and Sangha are also beyond conceiving. The one who talks and those who listen are also beyond knowing. This is how to understand causal relations well. Thus the Bodhisattva discriminates and explains the meaning of the four aspects. This is the causal relations referring to the Great Nirvana of Mahayana.
"And next: "correcting oneself" is to gain this Mahaparinirvana. "Correcting others" is what I say to bhiksus, telling them that the Tathagata is Eternal and Unchanging. "Answering questions", O Kasyapa, by your question, I now explain this all-wonderful doctrine for the sake of Bodhisattvas, bhiksus, bhiksunis, upasakas and upasikas. By "causal relations" I open the eyes of sravakas and pratyekabuddhas, as they do not comprehend the deep meaning of such as the above, and as they do not have occasion to hear about the fact that the three dots of the "i" accomplish emancipation, Nirvana, and Mahaprajna, and also the hidden store. I now make the sense clear and discriminate and, for the sake of all sravakas, open the eye of Wisdom.
"People may say: "How could all such four things be merged into one? Isn't that nonsense?" Then one may say back: "Could there be any difference in the following four of space, non-possession, immovability, and unhinderedness?" Can we say that it is nonsense?" "No, O World-Honoured One! All the four expressions amount to one and the same. They mean but the Void. The same is the case with what is made by "correctness in oneself", "correcting others", "answering questions put to one", and "well understanding causal relations". That is to say that what there is here is the oneness of Great Nirvana and that nothing is different (i.e. there is no dualism or differentiation)."
The Buddha said to Kasyapa: "Or there may be good men and women who may say: "The Tathagata is non-eternal. How can we know that he is non-eternal? The Buddha says that when the fire of illusion is extinguished, there is Nirvana. This is as when there is nothing (left over) to be seen when the fire is extinguished. The same is the case when all illusions are annihilated. This, he says, is Nirvana. How can the Tathagata claim that he is the Dharma eternal and unchanging? The Buddha says that when we part from existence, there is Nirvana. In this Nirvana, there cannot be anything that exists. How, then, can the Tathagata be eternal and unchanging? When a piece of clothing is torn, we do not call it anything. The same with Nirvana. When all illusions are done away with, there can be no thing. How can the Tathagata be eternal and unchanging? The Buddha says that separation from desire and arrival at quietude is Nirvana. If a person's head is cut off, there is no head any more. The same with separation from desire and arrival at quietude. What there is is Voidness. There is nothing there. Hence, Nirvana. How can the Tathagata be eternal and unchanging? The Buddha says:
(This is as in the case of heated iron.
When beaten by a hammer, sparks shoot out.
These flash and die out; nothing remains.
Once the muddle of carnal desire has been crossed,
One gains the immovable state.
One no longer has a place to move to).
"How can the Tathagata be one eternal and unchanging?" O Kasyapa! One who reproaches me thus commits slander, which is wrong. O Kasyapa! You must not entertain such a notion and say that the nature of the Tathagata perishes. O Kasyapa! We do not place the annihilation of illusion in the category of matter (rupa). Why not? Because of the fact of the ultimacy of Eternity. Hence, we say Eternal. (Nirvanic) quietude has nothing to supercede it. All phenomenal existences are done away with, with nothing remaining. This indicates what is fresh, clear, eternal, and unretrogressive. That is why we say that Nirvana is eternal. It is the same with the Tathagata. He is eternal, with no change. "Stars sweep". This refers to illusion. Once swept, all is gone and no trace remains of any existence. This indicates that all Tathagatas are those who have done away with illusion and are no longer in the five realms. This means that the Tathagata is one eternal and that there is no change (with him). Also next, O Kasyapa! It is the Dharma which is the teacher of all Buddhas. Hence, the Tathagata respectfully makes offerings. As the Dharma is eternal, so too are all Buddhas eternal."
Bodhisattva Kasyapa said again to the Buddha: "If the flame of illusion dies out, the Tathagata must also die out. This indicates that there can be no ground where the Tathagata is eternal. This is similar to the situation in which hot iron slag can no longer be seen when the red colour disappears. The same with the Tathagata and illusion. Gone, there is no other pace to go to. And it is like the case of iron. The heat and the red colour gone, there remains nothing to be seen. The same with the Tathagata. Once extinguished, what remains is non-eternal. The fire of illusion done away with, he enters Nirvana. This tells us that the Tathagata is non-eternal." "O good man! The iron you speak of refers to common mortals. Illusion done away with, the common mortal comes about again. That is why we say non-eternal. This is not the case with the Tathagata. Gone, there is no coming about. Hence, eternal." Kasyapa further said to the Buddha: "If we place the colour-robbed iron back into the fire, the red colour will return. It it is thus with the Tathgata, illusion will again form. If illusion again forms, this is nothing but the non-eternal." The Buddha said: "O Kasyapa! Do not say that the Tathagata is non-eternal. Why not? Because the Tathagata is one Eternal. O good man! When wood is burnt, extinction comes about, and there remain behind the ashes. When illusion is done away with, there remains Nirvana. All such parables as of the torn garment, beheading and broken earthenware enunciate the same truth. All such things have such names as torn garment, beheading, and broken earthenware. O Kasyapa! The iron that has become cold can be made hot again. But this is not the case with the Tathagata. Illusion once done away with, what there is is utmost purity and coolness. The blazing flame never comes back again. O Kasyapa! Know that the situation of innumerable beings is like that of the iron. With the blazing fire of Wisdom free from the “asravas” (defilements), I now burn off the bonds of illusion of all beings." Kasyapa said further: "It is good, it is good that I now clearly see what the Tathagata means when he says that all Buddhas are eternal." The Buddha said: "O Kasyapa! Imagine, for example, a chakravartin (world-ruler) in the back of his palace. At one time he is in the back garden. Though this king is not among the attendant females, we cannot say that his life is at an end. O good man! The same is true of the Tathagata. Though not in Jambudvipa (this world), but in Nirvana, we cannot say that he is non-eternal. He is now out of the world of innumerable illusions and is now in the all-wonderful world of peace and happiness. He sits amidst the flowers of Enlightenment; he sees and amuses himself."
Kasyapa again asked the Buddha: "The Buddha says that you have already crossed over the great ocean of illusion. If you are beyond the sea of illusion, why did you take in (marry) Yasodhara and beget Rahula? From this, we can know that the Tathagata has not yet severed himself from the bonds of illusion and crossed the sea. Please, O Tathagata! Enlighten me upon this point." The Buddha said to Kasyapa: "Do not say that if the Tathagata had long crossed the great sea of illusion, there could be no reason for him to take Yasodhara (as his wife) and bring forth Rahula and that, in consequence, the Tathagata could not have yet severed himself from the bonds of illusion and crossed the great sea of illusion. O good man! This Great Nirvana calls forth a thing of great significance. Listen to me with your best attention. I shall speak for all the world. Do not become surprised and entertain doubt. If the Bodhisattva-mahasattva reaches Great Nirvana, such a high and wide thing as Mount Sumeru could indeed be placed inside a mustard seed. If beings are standing on Mount Sumeru (at that time), they will feel neither narrowed down nor oppressed. There will be no sense of having come or gone anywhere. All will be just as before, with nothing different. Only one who has himself crossed the ocean (of illusion) will be able to see that this Bodhisattva has put the 3,000 great-thousand worlds into a mustard seed and is back in his own abode again. O good man! Also, the Bodhisattva-mahasattva may enter into Great Nirvana and place the 3,000 great-thousand worlds into a pore of his skin, and yet the original place may ever be like this (may remain unchanged). O good man! Also, the Bodhisattva-mahasattva may enter into Nirvana, cut off the 3,000 great-thousand Buddha-lands of all directions, place them on the point of a needle and strike the other Buddha-lands as though passing them through a jujube leaf, and the living beings therein would not entertain any thought of going or coming. Only one who is emancipated could see this and also the original place. Such is the case. O good man! Also, there could be a Bodhisattva-mahasattva who abides in Great Nirvana and who cuts off the 3,000 great-thousand Buddha-lands and puts them on his right-hand palm and as in the case of the potter's wheel throws them onto other mote worlds. And not a single being would entertain any idea of having gone or come. Only one who is emancipated would be able to see this. And so it is too with the original place. O good man! Also, a Bodhisattva-mahasattva who has attained Great Nirvana can snip off innumerable Buddha-lands of all the ten directions and put them all into his own body. And the people living therein do not feel narrow or oppressed or have any feeling of having been moved or of where they are standing. Only one who has been saved can see this. The same with the original abode. O good man! There might also be a Bodhisattva-mahasattva who has entered Nirvana and who has placed the lands of the ten directions into a dust-mote. The beings inside also do not feel constricted or oppressed or have any sense of going or coming. Only one emancipated sees this well. It is the same with what happens in the original abode. O good man! When this Bodhisattva abides in Great Nirvana, he well manifests various innumerable transformations. Hence, Mahaparinirvana. All such divine miracles which this Bodhisattva-mahasattva displays can never be weighed or known by any (ordinary) being. How could you know why the Tathagata committed himself to a life of love and desire and begat Rahula? O good man! It is now a long time since I (first) experienced this Great Nirvana and manifested many divine miracles. It is as alluded to in the “Surangama Sutra”, in which I have already variously manifested such in ten million suns and moons and in ten million Jambudvipas of the 3,000 great-thousand worlds. And I attain Nirvana in the 3,000 great-thousand worlds and in Jambudvipa. I do indeed attain it. And I find my way into the mother's womb and make the parents think of me as their child. But I am never one who was born through the conjoining of love and desire; I have been far removed from (sensual) love for innumerable kalpas. This body of mine is the Dharma-Body. Following the way of the world, I manifest myself in a motherly womb. O good man! In this Jambudvipa, in the Lumbini gardens, I manifested birth from the womb of Mother Maya. After birth, I took seven steps to the east and proclaimed: "I am the most honoured and best of all men, devas and asuras." My parents and men and devas, on witnessing this, were joyous beyond words and wonderstruck. All these people said that I was a child. But, for innumerable kalpas past, I had been segregated from any such thing. Such a body as this is the Dharma-Body, not one born of flesh and blood, sinews, bones and marrow. Following the way of the world, I appeared as a child. I took seven steps to the south and proclaimed that I would become the best field of weal for the sake of innumerable beings. Taking seven steps to the west, I indicated that life was now ended, that I would part from age and death, and that this was the last of my bodies. Taking seven steps to the north, I manifested that I would cross all the seas of birth and death of all existences. Taking seven steps to the east, I revealed that I would become the guide to all beings. Taking seven steps to the four corners, I revealed that I would cut off the roots of various illusions and the natures of the four Maras, becoming the Tathagata, the Alms-deserving, the All-Enlightened One. Taking seven steps heavenwards, I proclaimed that I would never be tainted by impurities. Taking seven steps netherwards, I proclaimed that the rain of Dharma would extinguish the fire of hell, so that beings born there would be blessed with peace and bliss. To a person who violated the prohibitions, I manifested myself as frost and hail. After 7 days of life in Jambudvipa, I manifested shaving my head. All said I was the first child to have his head shaved. All men and devas, the king of Marapapiyas, shramanas and Brahmins can never see the usnisa (protuberance on top of the Buddha's head) of my head. How could they possibly take a blade and shave it? There can never be any person who could take a blade and reach my head. I shaved my head innumerable kalpas past. But to follow the ways of the secular world, I showed that I shaved it (as a young Prince). After my birth, my parents took me to the temple of the gods and showed me to Mahesvara, who, on seeing me, folded his hands and stepped to one side. I had already, since innumerable kalpas past, done away with any such ceremony as entering the devas' temple. But just to follow the ways of secular life, I manifested this. In the life of Jambudvipa, I let people make a hole in my ear lobe. Nobody in the world can make a hole in my ear lobe. To follow the way of secular life, I manifested this. Also, they made hanging lion earrings out of all the gems and adorned my ear lobes. But since innumerable kalpas past, I had already dispensed with adornments. Just to follow what obtains in secular life, I manifested this. I went to school and showed that I learnt reading and writing. But I had already been accomplished in all such for innumerable kalpas past. As I passed my eyes through all the beings of the three worlds, I saw none who could be my teacher. But to comply with the ways of secular life, I displayed myself going to school. That is why I am called Tathagata, the Alms-deserving, and All-Enlightened One. The same with driving an elephant, riding round on a horse, wrestling, and the learning of various arts, too. In Jambudvipa, I manifested myself as a young prince. All beings saw me as a royal prince enjoying and pleasing himself amidst the life of the five desires. But innumerable kalpas past, I had already discarded such as the five desires. Just to comply with what obtains in secular life, I manifested this. The augur saw me and said that if I did not abandon home and seek the Way, I would become a chakravartin and king of Jambudvipa. All beings believed this. But I had already discarded the throne of a chakravartin and was the Dharma-King. In Jambudvipa I renounced female attendants and the five desires, saw age, illness, death, and the shramana, and abandoned home and sought the Way. All beings said that Prince Siddhartha then for the first time abandoned home and became a shramana. But already innumerable kalpas before, I had abandoned home, become a shramana, practised the Way, merely to comply with what obtained in secular life. And I manifested this. I had already abandoned home in Jambudvipa and received upasampada (full ordination). I made effort, practised the Way and attained such fruitions of the Way as the shrotapanna ("stream-enterer" - a monk who will only be born between two and seven more times before gaining liberation), sakridagamin (once-returner), anagamin ("never-returner" to this world), and arhat (saint). I manifested this. Everybody said it was easy and not difficult to attain arhatship. But I had already, innumerable kalpas in the past, attained arhatship. In order to pass beings to the shore of Enlightenment, I sat under the Bodhi Tree on the Bodhimanda (seat of Enlightenment) of grass and defeated all the Maras (demons). But I had already, innumerably long kalpas back in the past, defeated the Maras. In order to subdue strong beings, I manifested this scene. I also display answering the calls of nature of the two kinds and breathing in and out. All beings say that I answer the calls of nature and breathe in and out. But with this body of mine, I have no fruition of karma and no worries. I merely accord with the way of worldly life. That is why I manifest such. I also show that I receive offerings made to me by the faithful. But I have no hunger or thirst in this body of mine, and I (just) comply with the worldly way of life. I display myself thus. I also follow the worldly way of life of all others and sleep. But I accomplished the depths of Wisdom innumerable kalpas past and did away with such actions as going and coming, all such pains as of the head, eye, stomach, and back, and the whole of my body, and hard-to-cure carbuncles, all of which are the results of past karma, and washing my hands and feet in a basin, washing my face, gargling, using the toothbrush and all such things as apply in the world. People say that I do all these things. But I do not. My hands and feet are as pure as lotuses and my mouth is clean, and smells like an utpala (lotus). Everyone says that I am a man. But I am now no man. I also manifest receiving pamsukula (discarded clothes), washing, sewing and mending. But I have long since not used such clothing. Everybody says that Rahula is my son, that Suddhodana was my father and Maya my mother, that I carried on a secular career in my life, that I enjoyed peace and happiness (as a young prince), and that I abandoned all such things and sought the Way. People further say: "The prince of this king, of the great clan of Gautama, renounced worldly pleasures and sought the supramundane." But I had long since been away from worldly love and desire. I merely displayed all such things. Everybody says that I am a man. But truth to tell, I am not. O good man! I manifest myself in Jambudvipa and often enter Nirvana. But in truth I do not enter Nirvana at all. Yet all people say that the Tathagata is now dying. But the nature of the Tathagata, truth to tell, eternally does not die out. So you should know that I am one Eternal and Unchanging. O good man! Great Nirvana is none but the Dharma world of the All-Buddha-Tathagatas. I also manifest myself in this Jambudvipa. People say that I first (as Siddhartha) attained Buddhahood. But since innumerable kalpas past, I had done what needed to be done and I only accorded with the way of the world. That is why I, in this Jambudvipa, displayed renunciation and attainment of Buddhahood. I also (seemingly) did not accord with the prohibitions and committed the four grave offences. People saw me and said I transgressed. But for innumerable kalpas past I have been according with the prohibitions, and nothing was amiss. Also, in Jambudvipa I was an icchantika. People all saw me as an icchantika. But truth to tell, I was no icchantica. If I had been an icchantika, how could I have attained unsurpassed Enlightenment? I also showed myself in Jambudvipa as disturbing the peace of the Buddhist Sangha. People said that I was a Buddhist priest who was breaking the peace of the Sangha. I also manifested myself in Jambudvipa as protecting Wonderful Dharma. People see this and say that this is protection of Dharma. They are all surprised. All Buddhas do this and there is nothing (here) to be surprised about. I also in this Jambudvipa manifested myself as Marapapiyas. People said that this was Marapapiyas. People said that this was "papiyas" ("very wicked"). But I had been away from evil for innumerable kalpas past; I am pure, I am not defiled and am like the lotus. I also manifest myself in Jambudvipa as a female Buddha. People see this and say that it is strange that a female should attain unsurpassed Enlightenment. The Tathagata, after all, has never once been a female. In order to subdue people, I manifested as a female. As I pity beings, I also manifest in various coloured images. I also manifest myself amidst the four unfortunate realms of Jambudvipa. How could I be born in the unfortunate realms through evil actions? In order to pass beings to the other shore, I get born as such. I also get born as Brahma in Jambudvipa and make those who serve Brahma abide in Wonderful Dharma. But, truth to tell, I am not Brahma. But all people say that I am truly Brahma. I also manifest myself as devas and fill all the temples of the devas. But the same is the case (here too). I also manifest myself as visiting brothels in this Jambudvipa. But my mind knows no lust; I am as pure and untained as the lotus. To teach those steeped in desire and lust, I stand on the crossroads and speak about the wonderful Doctrine. But in truth I have no lust or defiled mind. People say that I guard females. I also in Jambudvipa manifest myself in the house of menials and maids. All this is to lead them onto the path of Wonderful Dharma. But truth to tell, I never once debased myself and performed evil deeds and became (intimate with) menials and maids. And in Jambudvipa I manifest myself as a teacher and lead children into Wonderful Dharma. In Jambudvipa I also enter various drinking houses and gambling dens. This is to participate in the games and quarrels and all to succour beings. And yet I have no experience of such evil relations. And yet all people say that I do such things. I also lived long amidst the tombstones as a great eagle, so as to succour flying birds. And yet people said I was a true eagle. But I have long since been separate from such a life. All this was to succour such birds and eagles. I also manifested myself in Jambudvipa as a great rich man. This was to make innumerable people be blessed with peace and abide in Wonderful Dharma. Furthermore, I become a king, minister, prince or prime minister. Amongst such people, I rank first in all cases. In order to practise Wonderful Dharma, I become a king. Also, there was a time in Jambudvipa when numerous epidemics arose and many people suffered. First, I gave medicine and later spoke about Wonderful Dharma, and made them attain unsurpassed Enlightenment. Everybody said that there was then, at that time, a time of illness. Also, there was a time in Jambudvipa when a famine broke out. I gave people the food they needed, I spoke about All-Wonderful Dharma and led them into unsurpassed Enlightenment. Also, to an "is"-minded person, I speak about the non-eternal; to one "pleasure-minded", I speak about suffering. To one who clings to self, selflessness is expounded. To one who clings to purity, impurity is expounded. To one who clings to the three worlds, Dharma is expounded, to make him renounce the world. To pass beings to the other shore, the wonderful medicine of Dharma is prescribed. In order to fell the trees of illusion, those of the unsurpassed medicine of Dharma are planted. To save all tirthikas, Wonderful Dharma is expounded. Although I act as a teacher to beings, no thought of a teacher to all beings resides in me. Since I intend to succour all those of lower social status, I gain life amongst them and talk about Dharma. And no evil acts will react within me. The Tathagata-Right-Enlightened One is ever in Parinirvana. Hence, I say "Eternal and Unchanging". As in Jambudvipa, so do things also obtain in Purvavideha, Aparagodana and Uttarakuru. As in the four lands, so also in the 3,000 great-thousand worlds. As to the 25 existences, things are as stated expansively in the “Surangama Sutra”. Hence, "Parinirvana". The Bodhisattva-mahasattva who abides in Parinirvana can well display such miracles and transformations and has no fear. O Kasyapa! Say not, therefore, that Rahula is the son of the Buddha. Why not? Because innumerable kalpas ago I had already done away with all existences of desire. That is why we say that the Tathagata is Eternal and Unchanging."
Kasyapa said further: "O Tathagata! Why do we say eternal? You, the Buddha, say that when the light of a lamp has gone out, there is no direction or place to be named (as to where it has gone). The same is the case with the Tathagata. Once dead, there can be no direction or place that can be named." The Buddha said: "O Kasyapa! You should not say: "When the light of a lamp has gone out, there is not direction or place to be named. The same is the case with the Tathagata. When there is extinction, there can be no direction or place to be named." O good man! When a lamp is lit by a man or woman, any lamp, big or small, (has to be) filled with oil. When there is oil (there), the lamp keeps alight. When the oil is spent, the light also disappears, along with it. That light going out can be compared to the extinction of illusion. Although the light has gone out, the utensil (vessel, lamp-holder) remains behind. The same is the case with the Tathagata. Although illusion has gone, the Dharma-Body remains forever. O good man! What does this mean? Does it mean that both the light and and the lamp disappear? Is it so?" Kasyapa answered: "No, O World-Honoured One! Both do not disappear at the same time. And yet, it is (still) non-eternal. If the Dharma-Body is compared to the lamp, the lamp is (actually) non-eternal, so the Dharma-Body must also be non-eternal." "O good man! You should not (try to) refute in this manner. We speak in the world of a "utensil". The Tathagata-World-Honoured One is the unsurpassed utensil of Dharma. A utensil of the world can be non-eternal, but not that of the Tathagata. Of all things, Nirvana is eternal. The Tathagata has this. Thus he is eternal. Also, O good man! You say that the light of the lamp goes out. This is (like) the Nirvana attained by an arhat. Because all the illusions of greed and craving are done away with, we can compare this to the lamplight going out. The anagamin yet has greed. As there is still greed left, we cannot say that this is the same as the lamplight's going out. That is why I said in the past in an undisclosed (cryptic, unexplained, unexplicated) way that it was like a dying lamp. It is not that Nirvana is to be equated with the dying off of the lamplight. The anagamin does not come about (get reborn) time and again. He does not come back to the 25 existences. Again, he does not gain any more the smelly body, the body of vermin, the body that is fed, the poisonous body. Such is an "anagamin" (one "not coming" into bodily existence again). If a body arises again, this is an "agamin" (one "coming" into bodily existence). When the body does not arise again, this is an "anagamin". What is possessed of coming and going is "agamin". What has no coming or going (no birth and death) is "anagamin"?
Then Bodhisattva Kasyapa said to the Buddha: "O World-Honoured One! You, the Buddha, say that the All-Buddha-World-Honoured One has an undisclosed storehouse. But this is not so. Why not? The All-Buddha-World-Honoured One has privately-spoken words, but not an undisclosed storehouse (a teaching not made known). For example, this is analogous to the case of a magician, his mechanical appliances, and his wooden image. One may see the motions of bending, stretching, and looking up and down, but one does not know that inside there is a man who makes things proceed thus. But with the Buddha's teaching, it is not like this. His teaching enables all beings to know and see. How can one say that the All-Buddha-World-Honoured One has anything undisclosed?" The Buddha praised Kasyapa and said: "Well said, well said, O good man! It is just as you say. The Tathagata, truth to tell, does not keep anything hidden. How so? It is as in the case of the full moon in autumn, when it is all open, bare, clear, pure and cloudless, so that all people can see it. What the Tathagata says is also the same. It is open, bare, clear, pure and cloudless. Dull people do not understand and speak of a secret in connection with it. The wise, understanding the matter, do not say that there is anything secretly stored away. O good man! There is a man here who stores gold and silver amounting to “yis” and “yis” (a Chinese unit of number). Being a miser, he does not give to the poor and help them. Anything stored in this fashion could be called "secretly stored" (secretly withheld). It is not thus with the Tathagata. Over the course of innumerable long kalpas, he stores wonderful laws (doctrines, truths) and rare treasures. He does not begrudge (anything); he always gives to all beings. How (then) can we say that he secretly stores (truths away)? O good man! There is a man here who is lacking a part of his body, such as an eye, hand or leg. He feels shy and does not allow others to see. As all people do not see it, they say "secretly concealed". It is not so with the Tathagata. He is perfect in Wonderful Dharma and lacking in nothing, allowing all others to see. How could one say that the Tathgata secretly stores (conceals/ withholds) things? O good man! A poor man, for example, has debts. He fears the man to whom he owes money. He hides and does not wish to show himself. Here we may speak of hiding. The case is not the same with the Tathagata. He does not shoulder the mundane laws (phenomena, truths) of all beings, but does their supramundane laws. But he does not hide such. Why not? Because he always thinks of beings as his own only son and expounds (to them) unsurpassed Dharma. O good man! There is a rich man, for example, who has much wealth. He only has one son. He loves this son very much and cannot forget him. He shows all his wealth to his son. So is it with the Tathagata. He views all beings as his own only son. O good man! This is as in the case of worldly people. Men and women conceal their genitalia behind clothing, because such are ugly things to look upon. Here we speak of "concealing". It is not thus with the Tathagata. He has long since done away with genitalia. As he does not have such, there is no reason for concealment. O good man! The Brahmins do not like to have their words and what they say heard by Kshatriyas, Vaishyas and Sudras. Why not? Because there are many things in their words that are wrong and wicked. But the Tathagata's Wonderful Dharma is such that it is lovely in its beginning, lovely in its middle and lovely in its conclusion. So we cannot speak here of a thing hidden or stored away. O good man! For example, there is here a rich man who only has a single son. He always thinks of, and loves, this boy. He takes the boy to a teacher to be taught. Apprehensive that things might not progress quickly, he takes the boy back home. As he loves him, he teaches him the alphabet day and night very patiently. Yet he does not teach him the vyakarana (a popular work for language study; a kind of grammar). Why not? Because the child is small and is not up to such lessons. O good man! Now, the rich man finishes teaching the alphabet. But is the boy ready to be taught the vyakarana?" "No, O World-Honoured One!" "Is the rich man concealing anything from the child?" "No, O World-Honoured One! Why not? Because the child is too young. So he does not teach (him the more advanced matters). It is not that the boy is not taught because the man begrudges him (such lessons). Why not? If there is any jealousy or grudging (involved), we may say he conceals things. It is not thus with the Tathagata. How could we say that he hides and conceals?" The Buddha said: "Well said, well said, O good man! It is as you say. If there is any anger, jealousy or begrudging, we can well say that he is concealing things. The Tathagata has no anger or jealousy. How can you say that he hides things away? O good man! The great rich man is the Tathagata himself. The only child is (all) beings. The Tathagata views all beings as he views his only son. Teaching his only son relates to the sravaka disciples, the alphabet, and the nine types of sutras; the vyakarana relates to the vaipulya (extensive) Mahayana sutras. Since all the sravaka disciples do not possess the power of Wisdom, the Tathagata teaches them the alphabet, i.e. the nine types of sutra. And he does not yet speak of the vyakarana, i.e. the vaipulya Mahayana. O good man! When the rich man's son has grown up and is able to cope with the lessons, if the vyakarana is not taught then, we may well speak of "concealment". If all sravakas are grown up and can indeed cope with the Mahayana vyakarana lessons, but the Tathagata begrudges (them this) and does not teach them (the vyakarana), we could well say that the Tathagata begrudges, hides and conceals the teaching. But this is not so with the Tathagata. The Tathagata does not conceal (anything). This is as with the rich man who, having taught the alphabet, next teaches the vyakarana. I also do the same. To all my disciples I have spoken about the alphabet and the nine types of sutra. Having done so, I now, after this, talk about the vyakarana. This is none other than the Tathagata's eternal and unchanging nature.
"Also, next, O good man! It is as in the summer months, when great clouds call forth thunder and great rain, as a result of which all farmers can sow (their) seeds and harvest things. Those who do not sow cannot expect to harvest. It is not through the workings of the naga kings that one cannot harvest. And these naga kings also do not store (hold things back). The same with me. I let fall the great rain of the Great Nirvana Sutra. Those beings who sow good seeds harvest the buds and fruit of Wisdom. Those who have not sown can expect nothing. The Tathagata is not to blame if they gain nothing. The Tathagata does not hide anything away."
Kasyapa said again: "I now definitely know that the Tathagata-World-Honoured One never hides and conceals (anything away). You, the Buddha, say that the vyakarana refers to the eternal and unchanging nature of the Buddha-Tathagata. But this cannot be the meaning. Why not? Because the Buddha said before, in a gatha:
Abandon the non-eternal body.
How could this not be so with common mortals?"
Now you say "eternal" and "unchanging". What does this mean?" The Buddha said: "O good man! As I had to teach the sravaka disciples the alphabet, I spoke thus in the gatha. O good man! King Prasenajit lost his mother. He cried sorrowfully. He loved her and could not bear the sorrow. He came to me. I asked: "O King! Why are you so afflicted with sorrow?" The King said: "The Queen Mother of the state has died, O World-Honoured One! If anyone can bring my mother back to life, I will give away my state, elephants, horses, the seven treasures, and even my life; thus will I reward him." I said to the king: "O great King! Please do not lose yourself in worry and sorrow! Do not weep! When life ends for a person, this is death. All Buddhas, sravakas, pratyekabuddhas and disciples have to part with this body. How could common mortals not have to? "O good man! To teach the king the alphabet, I spoke thus in this gatha. I now expound to my sravaka disciples the vyakarana and say that the Tathagata is eternal and that he does not change. If any person says that the Tathagata is non-eternal, how could this man's tongue not drop off?"
Kasyapa further replied: "You said:
"Nothing is hoarded, and I feel
Satisfied with the meal I take. It is
As in the case of the bird that flies in the sky,
Whose tracks are hard to trace."
What might this mean? O World-Honoured One! Of all those congregated here, who might be one who does not hoard? Who might be called one satisfied with (his) food? Who are those who fly through the sky and whose tracks cannot be traced? And where does one go to when one leaves this place?"
The Buddha said: "O good man! Hoarding is nothing but of wealth and treasure. O good man! Of hoarding, there are two kinds: one of what is created and the other of what is non-created. The hoarding of the created is what sravakas do; the hoarding of the non-created is what the Tathagata does.
"O good man! Of priests, there are two kinds. One is of the created, and the other is of the non-created. The priest of the created is the sravaka. The sravaka priest does not hoard. Male or female menials are unlawful things; so is storing rice, bean paste, sesame and large and small beans in a storehouse. If someone were to say that the Tathagata permits the keeping of servants, male or female, and such other things, his tongue would shrink. I say that all my sravaka disciples are "non-storing". Or they are those satisfied with their food. If a person greedily seeks food, such a person is not satisfied.
"Saying that the tracks are untraceable relates to Nirvana. In Nirvana there remains no trace of the sun, moon, stars, constellations, cold, heat, wind, rain, birth, age, illness, death, or the 25 existences. Nirvana is segregated from apprehension, sorrow and illusion. Such is the abode of Nirvana and the Tathagata, who is Eternal and does not change. Hence, the Tathagata comes here to the forest of sal trees and enters Parinirvana by (means of) the Great Nirvana."
The Buddha said to Kasyapa: " "Great" means wide and extensive in nature. It is as when we speak of a "great man", when the life-span of (that) man is infinite. As this man abides in Wonderful Dharma, we call him "superior to all men". It is as in the case of the "eight awakened minds of a great man" about which I speak. If a person makes this an "is", many persons would also be thus. If a person possesses the eight qualities, he is the best. The Nirvana of which we speak has no pox or warts. O good man! For example, (imagine) a man here who has been hit by a poisoned arrow and who is in great pain. A learned doctor comes and extracts the poisoned arrow and applies a superb medicine. As a result the pain goes away, and the man gains peace. This doctor visits castles, towns and hamlets. He goes to where people suffer from the pain of the pox or warts, applies his art and removes the pain. O good man! The same is the case with the Tathagata. Having attained all-equal Enlightenment, he becomes a great doctor. Seeing all beings of Jambudvipa hit by the poisoned arrows of the illusions of lust, anger and ignorance and suffering in the course of innumerable kalpas, he applies the sweet medicine of the Mahayana sutras. The treatment completed, he moves on to other places where people are suffering from the poisonous arrows of illusion. There he (also) manifests his attaining of Enlightenment and gives treatment (to the afflicted). Thus we speak of "Mahaparinirvana."
"Mahaparinirvana is the place where all get emancipated. Wherever there are people to be subjugated (i.e. their defilements removed), he manifests himself. On account of this truly great meaning, we say Great Nirvana."
Bodhisattva Kasyapa said further to the Buddha: "O World-Honoured One! Do all the so-called doctors thoroughly cure the pain of the pox and warts? Or do they not?" "O good man! There are two kinds of pain relative to the pox and warts. One is curable and the other is incurable. The doctor cures what is curable, but not what is incurable."
Kasyapa said again: "According to what the Buddha says, the Tathagata has cured all the beings of Jambudvipa. The treatment completed, how could there still be beings who have not yet attained Nirvana? If it is the case that not everyone has as yet attained Nirvana, how can the Tathagata say: "The treatment completed, I move on to other places?" "O good man! There are two kinds of beings in Jambudvipa. There are: those who have faith, and the others, who do not. Those with faith can be cured. Why? Because such a person can definitely attain Nirvana, which has no pox or warts."
"O World-Honoured One! What can Nirvana be?" "O good man! Nirvana is emancipation (“vimukti” - liberation)." Kasyapa again said: "Is emancipation a thing or not a thing?" The Buddha said: "What is no thing is the emancipation of the sravakas and pratyekabuddhas; what is a thing is the emancipation of the All-Buddha-Tathagata. The case being thus, O good man, emancipation is a thing and not a thing. The Tathagata speaks to all sravakas and presents it as no thing." "O World-Honoured One! If it is not a thing, how can sravakas and pratyekabuddhas live?" "O good man! That which is such as Thoughtlessness-non-Thoughtlessness Heaven is also both a thing and not a thing. The Self, too, is not a thing. One might argue, saying: "If Thoughtlessness-non-Thoughtlessness Heaven is not a thing, how can a person live and come and go, advance and stand still?" All such matters relate to the world of all Buddhas; they are not what sravakas and pratyekabuddhas can rightly know. It is thus. The same with emancipation. We also speak of matter (“rupa” = matter, form, body) and non-matter (“arupa” = non-matter, non-form, non-body), and it is presented as not a thing. Also, we speak of thought and thoughtlessness, and this is presented as thoughtlessness. All such things belong to the world of all Buddhas and are not what sravakas and pratyekabuddhas may know."
Then Bodhisattva Kasyapa said to the Buddha: "O World-Honoured One! Please condescend to explain to me what pertains to Mahaparinirvana and the meaning of emancipation." The Buddha praised Kasyapa, saying: "Well said, well said, O good man! True emancipation means segregation of one's own self from all the bonds of illusion. If one truly attains emancipation and segregation of one's own self from the bonds of illusion, there is no self, or nothing to conjoin as in the case of (the sexual union between) parents, as a result of which a child is born. True emancipation is not like that. That is why emancipation is birthlessness. O Kasyapa! It is like sarpirmanda, which is pure in its nature. The same is the case with the Tathagata. He is not what arises through the conjoining of parents, as a result of which a child comes about. His nature is pure. (The Tathagata's) displaying of parents is (an expedient means for helping) to pass beings over to the other shore. True emancipation is the Tathagata. The Tathagata and emancipation are not two, are not different. It is as when we sow seeds in spring and autumn, for instance, when it is warm and wet and as a result of which the seeds shoot out buds. True emancipation is not thus.
"Also, emancipation is nothingness. Nothingness is emancipation. Emancipation is the Tathagata and the Tathagata nothingness. It is not anything that come about from doing (action). Such doing is like a castle building. True emancipation does not come about in this way (i.e. is not a compounded, constructed thing). For this reason, emancipation is at once the Tathagata.
"Also, emancipation is the non-created. A potter makes a pot, which breaks to pieces again. Things are not like that in emancipation. True emancipation is birthlessness and deathlessness. That is why emancipation is the Tathagata.
"What do we mean by agelessness and deathlessness? Age relates to what moves and changes. One's hair becomes white, and lines appear on one's face. By death is meant the breaking up (disintegration) of the body, as a result of which life departs. Nothing of this kind arises in emancipation. Since nothing of this kind arises, we say emancipation. With the Tathagata, too, there arise no such things of created existence as the turning white of the hair or the appearing of lines on the face. Thus, no ageing occurs in the case of the Tathagata. As there is no ageing, there is no death.
"Also, emancipation means ill-lessness. By illness is meant the 404 diseases, and all other (ailments) which come to one from without and spoil the body. When such do not come about, we say emancipation. When no illness arises, there is true emancipation. True emancipation is the Tathagata. The Tathagata has no illness. Thus there comes about no illness in the Dharma-Body. This state of no illness is the Tathagata. Death is the breaking up of the body and the ending of life. There is no death here (in emancipation). What there is is the deathless ("'amrta"' - the state of immortality), which is true emancipation. True emancipation is the Tathagata. The Tathagata is accomplished in such virtues (blessings). How could we (ever) say that the Tathagata is non-eternal? Anything such as the non-eternal can never exist there. It is an Adamantine Body. How could it be non-eternal? As a result, we do not say that there is any ending of life with the Tathagata. With the Tathagata, what there is is purity; there is no defilement. The Tathagata's body does not get defiled by the womb. It is like the pundarika-lotus, whose nature is pure. The same with the Tathagata and emancipation. Thus, emancipation is at once the Tathagata. That is why the Tathagata is pure and undefiled.
"And with emancipation, such things as the "'asravas"' (defilements, "leakings"), the pox and warts, and all other such things, are done away with. The same with the Tathagata. He has no defilements and no pox or warts.
"Also, with emancipation, there can be no fighting or refutation (confrontation, disputation). For example, the hunger-ridden entertain the thought of greed and grabbing when they see others taking food. With emancipation, the case is not thus.
"Also, emancipation is peace and quietude. Ordinary people say that peace and quietude are of Mahesvara. But such is a lie. True quietude means utmost emancipation. Utmost emancipation is the Tathagata.
"Also, emancipation means peace and safety. The place where robbers are present has no peace and safety. The place where purity and peace reign is a place of peace and quietude. As there is no fear in this emancipation, we say peace and quietude. Hence, peace and quietude are true emancipation. True emancipation is the Tathagata. The Tathagata is Dharma."
"Also, emancipation has no equal. By equal, we may take up the case of a king who has equals in the neighbouring kingdoms. The case of true emancipation is not such. Having no equal is like the case of a chakravartin, who has no equal. The same with emancipation. There is nothing equal to it. To have no equal is true emancipation. True emancipation is the Tathagata-chakravartin. Thus, there is none who is his equal. There can be no talk (here) of an equal.
"Also, emancipation is non-apprehension. One who has apprehension may be likened to a king who fears and slanders the strong neighbouring state, and has apprehension. Now, with emancipation there is nothing of the kind. This is like annihilating enmity, as a consequence of which there is no longer any apprehension. The same is the case with emancipation. It has no apprehension or fear. Non-apprehension is the Tathagata.
"Also, emancipation is non-apprehension or non-joy. For example, a woman has an only son. As a result of war, he goes to a far-off place. News comes, saying that the boy has met with ill fortune, as a consequence of which the mother is worried. Later, she hears of his safety and because of this is glad. Now, with emancipation there is nothing of the kind. When there is no apprehensioon or joy, there is true emancipation. True emancipation is the Tathagata.
"Also, there is no dust or defilement in emancipation as when in the spring months, after sundown, the wind raises up a cloud of dust. Now, in emancipation, nothing of this kind obtains. Where there is no cloud of dust, there is true emancipation. True emancipation is the Tathagata. This is like a bright gem resting in the knot of dressed hair on the head of a chakravartin, where there is no fleck of defilement. The nature of emancipation is thus: it has no defilement. Non-defilement can be likened to true emancipation. True emancipation is the Tathagata. True gold does not contain any sand or stone. This is true treasure. When one gains this, one feels (one has gained true) wealth. The nature of emancipation is also such a true emancipation. This true treasure can be likened to true emancipation. True emancipation is the Tathagata. When an unglazed pot breaks, there issues a neighing (cracking) sound. With the adamantine treasure pot, things are otherwise. Now, emancipation emits no neighing (cracking) sound. The adamantine treasure pot is like true emancipation. True emancipation is the Tathagata. Hence, the body of the Tathagata cannot be destroyed. We say that it neighs (crackles). This is as when castor seeds are put into a blazing fire, which flames up and sends forth a popping sound. It is like that. Now, emancipation has nothing of the kind. The adamantine pot of true treasure emits no cracking or breaking sound. Even if innumerable hundreds of thousands of people were to shoot arrows at it, none caould break this pot. What emits no cracking or breaking sound is true emancipation. True emancipation is the Tathagata. A poor man is in debt to other people. So he gets bound up and chained in fetters and is punished by whipping, and has to suffer from all (kinds of) worries and pains. Now, with emancipation, there is nothing of this kind. There is no debt to pay. This is like a rich person who possesses innumerable "'yis"' of treasure and whose power is unbounded, who owes nothing to other people. The case of emancipation is thus. It has a countless stock of wealth of Dharma and rare treasures, having full power and owing nothing to others. Owing nothing to others may be likened to true emancipation. True emancipation is the Tathagata.
"Also, emancipation is "not being oppressed". This may be contrasted with spring, when one walks in the heat, with summer, when one tastes what is sweet, and with winter, when one encounters the cold. In true emancipation there is nothing of any kind that does not appeal to one's wishes.The absence of anything to oppress one may be likened to true emancipation. True emancipation is the Tathagata. As to non-oppression, we may take up the case of a man who, having greedily partaken of fish, drinks milk again. Such a man as this is not far from death. In true emancipation, there is nothing of the kind. If he obtains ambrosia ("amrta") or good medicine, worry leaves him. True emancipation is like that. Ambrosia and good medicine can be likened to emancipation. True emancipation is the Tathagata. How can we speak of being oppressed or not oppressed? For example, a common mortal is arrogant and self-important. And he thinks: "Of all things, nothing can harm me". And he holds in his hand a serpent, a tiger, or a noxious insect. The destined time of death not coming, this person meets with an untimely death. In true emancipation, there comes about nothing of the kind. We say "not being oppressed". This can be likened to a chakravartin's divine gem, which kills all noxious insects, such as the dung-beetle and the 96 noxious insects (i.e. the total number of tirthikas thought to be existing at the time of the Buddha). As one comes into contact with the glow of this divine gem, all poison dissipates. Things are thus with true emancipation. All die away from the 25 existences. The annihilation of poison is analogous to true emancipation. True emancipation is the Tathagata. Also, "not being oppressed" is like space, for example. Thus is emancipation. Space is comparable to true emancipation. True emancipation is the Tathagata. Also, being oppressed is like holding a lamp close to dry grass. When it is too close, the grass catches fire. The case is thus. There is nothing of the kind in true emancipation. Also, "non-oppressed" is like the sun and moon, which do not come too close to all beings. Such is the situation with emancipation. It does not come pressing down upon beings. Non-oppression is true emancipation. True emancipation is the Tathagata.
"Also, emancipation is the immovable Dharma. It is in contrast to enmity and friendliness, which do not exist in true emancipation. Also, immovability can be likened to a chakravartin. There will be no one who will befriend him. None becomes his friend. That the king has no friend can be likened to true emancipation. True emancipation is the Tathagata. The Tathagata is Dharma. Also, the "immovable" may be contrasted with white cloth, which can easily be dyed. It is not thus with emancipation. Also, this "immovable" may be likened to varsiki (jasminum sambac). Also, making it smell badly and blue in colour is impossible. The same with emancipation. Try as we might, we cannot make it smell badly or change colour. For this reason, emancipation is the Tathagata.
"Also, emancipation is what is rare. There is nothing rare, for example, about a water lily growing in water. When it grows in fire, this is something rare. People see this and are gladdened. What is rare can be likened to true emancipaiton. True emancipation is the Tathagata. This Tathagata is the Dharma-Body. Also, "rare" may be compared with a baby. It has no teeth, but as it grows up, these appear. It is not so with emancipation. There is no birth and no non-birth.
"Also, emancipation is what is "empty and quiet". There can be no indefiniteness. By indefinite is meant the situation of saying that the icchantika never shifts and that one committing grave offences never attains Buddhahood. Such can never apply. Why not? When that (icchantika) person gains pristine faith in the Buddha's Wonderful Dharma, at that time the person annihilates the icchantika (within himself). On becoming an upasaka, the icchantika (in that person) dies away; the person who has committed grave offences also attains Buddhahood when his sins have been expiated. Thus we can never say that there is no shifting at all and that no Buddhahood can be attained. With true emancipation, there can be no such case of annihilation. Also, "emptiness and quietude" are things of the Dharma world. The nature of the Dharma world is true emancipation. True emancipation is the Tathagata. Also, once the icchantika has died out, we can no more talk of the icchantika.
"What is an icchantika? An icchantika cuts off (within himself) all the roots of good deeds and his mind does not call forth any association with good. Not even a bit of a thought of good arises. Nothing such as this ever occurs in true emancipation. As there is nothing of this kind, we say true emancipation. True emancipation is the Tathagata.
"Also, emancipation is called "immeasurable". For example, we can measure the volume of cereal. But true emancipation is not like this. It is like the great ocean, whose volume we cannot measure. Emancipation is like that. We cannot measure (it). True emancipation is immeasurable. True emancipation is the Tathagata."
"Also, true emancipation is called "immeasurable" (innumerable, boundless). It is like the varied karma results which a single person has. The same is the case with emancipation. It has innumerable returns. Innumerable returns means true emancipation. True emancipation is the Tathagata.
"Also, emancipation is wide and great and like the great sea, to which nothing is equal. The same with emancipation. Nothing can be its equal. What has no equal is true emancipation. True emancipation is the Tathagata.
"Also, emancipation is the highest. It is like the firmament, which is the highest, with nothing coming to be its equal. The same is the case with emancipation. What is the highest and incomparable is true emancipation. True emancipation is the Tathagata.
"Also, emancipation is the "impassable". It is like the den of a lion, before (into) which no animal dares pass. The same, too, is the case with emancipation. No one can well pass through it. What is impassable is true emancipation. True emancipation is the Tathagata.
"Also, emancipation is the "uppermost". For example, north is the highest of all directions. The same is also the case with emancipation. Nothing surpasses it. Whatever is uppermost is true emancipation. True emancipation is the Tathagata.
"Also, emancipation is the up of the uppermost. For example, compared with the east, north is the uppermost. The same with emancipation. Nothing surpasses it. What is the uppermost is true emancipation. True emancipation is the Tathagata.
"Also emancipation is the law of constancy. For example, when a man's or deva's body breaks up, life departs. This is always so. It (this law) is not non-constant. It is the same with emancipation. It is not non-constant. What is not non-constant is emancipaiton. True emancipation is the Tathagata.
"Also, emancipation is the strongly abiding. It is as in the case of the khadira (acacia catechu, the extract from which - "'catechu"' - is much used as a medicine, an astringent and tonic), sandalwood, and aloe wood, whose quality is strength and faithfulness. The same with emancipation. Its quality is strength and faithfulness. Whatever is strong and faithful is emancipation. True emancipation is the Tathagata.
"Also, emancipation is what cannot be defiled. For example, there is a wall. While the upper coating is still not finished, mosquitoes and gadflies come and rest and play on it. When it is painted and finished with pictures and decorated with sculptures, the insects, scenting the smell of the paint, do not stay on it. True emancipation may be likened to such non-staying. True emancipation is the Tathagata.
"Also, emancipation is what cannot be seen. It is just as the tracks of birds that flew across the sky cannot be traced. What is unable to be seen as such can well be likened to true emancipation. True emancipation is the Tathagata.
"Also, extremely deep is what the Buddhas and bodhisattvas look up to. A dutiful son serves his parents, and the virtue thereof is extremely deep. It is so. Extremely deep refers to emancipation. True emancipation is the Tathagata.
"Also, emancipation is what one cannot see. For example, a man cannot see the top of his own head. The same is the case with emancipation. Sravakas and pratyekabuddhas cannot see (it). What cannot be seen is true emancipation. True emancipation is the Tathagata.
"Also, emancipation is the houseless. This is as in the case of the Void, which has no house. The same with emancipation. The house (here) refers to the 25 existences. "Houseless" is true emancipation. True emancipation is the Tathagata.
"Also, emancipation is what cannot be held in one's hand. The amalaka can certainly be held in a man's hand. Not so emancipation. It cannot be held in one's hand. Whatever cannot be held in one's hand is emancipation. True emancipation is the Tathagata.
"Also, emancipation is what one cannot grasp in one's hand. This is as in the case of a phantom, which one cannot grasp in one's hand. The same also with emancipation. Whatever it is not possible to grasp in one's hand is emancipation. True emancipation is the Tathagata.
"Also, emancipation has no carnal body. For example, one has a body, on and in which can come about such as the pox, leprosy, all kinds of carbuncles, craziness and dryings-up. In true emancipation, no such diseases and illnesses come about. What is without suchlike diseases and illnesses is true emancipation. True emancipation is the Tathagata.
"Also, emancipation is oneness of taste. It is like milk, which is one in its taste. The same with emancipation, which is one in its taste. Such oneness in taste is true emancipation. True emancipation is the Tathagata.
"Also, emancipation is purity. This is as in the case of water which has no mud (in it), is clear, unmoving and pure. The same with emancipation. It is clean, unmoving and pure. Whatever is clean, unmoving and pure is true emancipation. True emancipation is the Tathagata.
"Also, emancipation is single in taste. It is like the rain in the sky, which is one in taste and pure. That which is one in taste and is pure can be likened to true emancipation. True emancipation is the Tathagata.
"Also, emancipation is exclusion. It is like the full moon that does not have any clouded part. So goes it with emancipation. It has no clouded part. What has no clouded part is true emancipation. True emancipation is the Tathagata.
"Also, emancipation is quietude. A man has a fever. When cured, he feels quiet. Emancipation is thus. One feels quiet. When one feels quiet, there is true emancipation. True emancipation is the Tathagata.
"Also, true emancipation is equalness (impartiality, equanimity). For example, a field has (in it) poisonous serpents, rats and wolves, all of which mean to kill others. It is not so with emancipation. There is no thought of killing. Having no thought of killing is true emancipation. True emancipation is the Tathagata. Also, equalness may be compared to the mind of parents, who view their children all-equally. Thus is emancipation. The mind is all-equal. This all-equal mind is true emancipation. True emancipation is the Tathagata."
"Also, emancipation is not having any other place (to dwell). For example, there is a man here who only lives in the best of all places, having no other place to live in. The same with emancipation. It has no other place to live in. Having no other different place to live in is true emancipation. True emanciption is the Tathagata.
"Also, emancipation is feeling satisfied. Take the case of a hungry man who, on encountering sweet dishes, devours them, and there is no end of eating. The case of emancipation is not like this. If one partakes of milk-cooked porridge, one no longer feels the need to eat. No longer feeling any need to eat may well be likened to emancipation. True emancipation is the Tathagata.
"Also, emancipation is segregation. It is like a person tied up, who cuts the rope and gains his freedom. The same is the case with emancipation. One cuts off all the bonds of doubt. Such cutting off of all the bonds of doubt is true emancipation. True emancipation is the Tathagata.
"Also, emancipation is gaining the other shore. A big river, for example, has this shore and the yonder shore. It is not thus with emancipation. Although it does not have this side, there is the yonder shore. What has this other shore is true emancipation. True emancipation is the Tathagata.
"Also, emancipation is the All-Wonderful. If haritaki (a purgative bitter fruit) is added to any medicine, that medicine will come to taste bitter. But emancipation is not like this. It becomes sweet. The taste of sweetness can be likened to true emancipation.
"Also, emancipation makes away with all illusions. This may be likened to the case of a learned doctor who mixes up all drugs and cures all illnesses. The same is also the case with emancipation. It thoroughly makes away with illusion. What makes away with illusion is true emancipation. True emancipation is the Tathagata."
"Also, emancipation has no oppressedness (constriction, crampedness). For example, a small house cannot take in many people. The case is otherwise with emancipation, which can take in many. What takes in many is true emancipation. True emancipation is the Tathagata.
"Also, emancipation is analogous to annihilating all loving (lustful) casts of mind and not having carnal appetites. A female has many phases of love (lust). This is not so with emancipation. Emancipation of this kind is the Tathagata. The Tathagata does not possess such illusions as greed, anger, ignorance, arrogance, etc.
"Also, emancipation is lovelessness (desirelessness). Love is of two kinds. One is hungry (craving) love and the other love of Dharma. True love is not possessed of hungry love. As there is love for all beings, there is the love of Dharma. Such love of Dharma is true emancipation. True emancipation is the Tathagata.
"Also, emancipation is the place to which one returns. One who partakes of such emancipation does not seek any other place to take refuge in. For example, a man who depends on the king does not look for other kings to depend upon. Yet even when one depends on the king, there can be a situation in which change comes about. For one who depends upon emancipation, there is no change any more. Where there is no change, there is true emancipation. True emancipation is the Tathagata.
"Also, emancipation is fearlessness. It is like the lion, who has no fear of any beast. The same is the case with emancipation. It has no fear of any Maras. Fearlessness is true emancipation. True emancipation is the Tathagata.
"Also, emancipation knows no narrowness. On a narrow path, two persons cannot walk (side by side). It is not thus with emancipation. Such emancipation is the Tathagata. Also, there is the case of non-narrowness. For example, a man falls into a well just because of his fear of a tiger. The situation with emancipation is not like this. Such emancipation is the Tathagata. Again, there is the case of non-narrowness. On a great sea, one abandons a small, wrecked ship. Sailing in a strong ship, one crosses the sea and arrives at the place (destination), and one's mind is blessed with peace. The same is the case with emancipation. The mind is happy. The attainment of happiness is true emancipation. True emancipation is the Tathagata.
"Also, emancipation stands above all causes and by-causes (conditions). For example, from milk we get cream, from cream, we get butter; and from butter, we get sarpirmanda. True emancipation has none of these causes. The causeless is true emancipation. True emancipation is the Tathagata.
"Also, emancipation thoroughly subdues arrogance. (Think of) a great king who belittles a petty king. The case is not thus with emancipation. Such emancipation is the Tathagata. The Tathagata is Dharma.
"Also, emancipation subdues all kinds of indolence. One who is indolent is greedy. With true emancipation, nothing such as this comes about. This is true emancipation. True emancipation is the Tathagata.
"Also, emancipation does away with non-brightness (i.e. darkness). This is as with best butter. When the scum and dirt are removed, we get sarpirmanda. The same with emancipation. As a result of excluding the scum of ignorance, true brightness shines forth. Such brightness is true emancipation. True emancipation is the Tathagata.
"Also, emancipation is quietude, the pure "one", the "not-two" (non-dual). This is like the elephant of the wilderness, who is without comparison. The same is the situation with emancipation. It is the one, the not-two, which is true emancipation. True emancipation is the Tathagata.
"Also, emancipation is strong and full of truth. The stems of the bamboo, reed, and castor-oil plants are empty, but the seeds are strong and truthful. Other than the Buddha-Tathagata, all of humankind and heaven are not strong and full of truth. True emancipation is remote from all illusions. Such emancipation is the Tathagata.
"Also, emancipation relinquishes all existences. For example, a man, after partaking of food, may vomit. Emancipation is also like this. It relinquishes all existences. The relinquishing of all existences is true emancipation. True emancipation is the Tathagata.
"Also, emancipation is a decision. This is as in the case of the fragrance from varsiki (jasminum sambac), which is not found in saptaparna (alstonia scholaris). The same is the case with emancipation. Such emancipation is the Tathagata.
"Also, emancipation is water. For example, water comes above all other elements of the earth and thoroughly moistens all trees, grass and seeds. It is the same with emancipation. It thoroughly moistens all beings. Such emancipation is the Tathagata.
"Also, emancipation is entering. If there is a gate, this (means) that this is the entrance-way. It is as in a place where there is gold which one can get. Emancipation is thus. It is like a gate. One who practises selflessness can indeed enter. Such emancipation is the Tathagata.
"Also, emancipation is called the supramundane Law (Dharma). Of all things, this is the one which supercedes all others. It is like the case of butter, which is the best of all tastes. Thus is it (too) with emancipation. Such emancipation is the Tathagata.
"Also, emancipation is what is useful. Jambunada gold has many uses. Nobody speaks ill of it. The same applies to emancipation. There is nothing bad about it. What has nothing bad about it is true emancipation. True emancipation is the Tathagata.
"Also, emancipation is giving up the actions of one's childhood days. It is the same with emancipation. It does away with the five skandhas. Abandoning the five skandhas is true emancipation. True emancipation is the Tathagata.
"Also, emancipation is the utmost. A person fettered in bonds obtains freedom and, after washing and cleaning himself, returns home. It is the same with emancipation. It is pure to the utmost. This utmost purity is true emancipation. True emancipation is the Tathagata.
"Also, emancipation is the bliss that is not expelled. Because desire, malevolence and ignorance have already been vomited out. As an example: a man swallows a poisonous drug by mistake. To expel the poison, he takes a drug. Once the poison is out, he is cured, feels well and gains peace. It is the same with emancipation. Having cast out all illusions and the poison that binds one, the body gains peace. So we speak of "non-expelled peace". Non-expelled peace is true emancipation. True emancipation is the Tathagata.
"Also, emancipation rids one of the four poisonous serpents of illusion (i.e. desire, hatred, ignorance and arrogance). The getting rid of illusion is true emancipation. True emancipation is the Tathagata.
"Also, emancipation is segregating oneself from all existences, excising all suffering, obtaining all aspects of peace, and eternally cutting off desire, ill-will and ignorance, and severing oneself from the roots of all illusions. Cutting the roots of illusion is emancipation. True emancipation is the Tathagata."
"Moreover, emancipation is termed that which severs all conditioned phenomena (samskrta-dharmas), gives rise to all untainted (anasrava), wholseome qualities / phenomena and eliminates the various paths/ approaches, that is to say, Self, non-Self, not-Self and not non-Self. It merely severs attachment and does not sever the view of the Self/ the seeing of the Self/ the vision of the Self (atma-drsti). The view of the Self is termed the 'Buddha-dhatu' (Buddha-Nature). The Buddha-dhatu is true emancipation, and true emancipation is the Tathagata.
"Also, emancipation is the "not-empty-empty". "Empty-empty" is non-possession. Non-possession is the emancipation which the tirthikas and Nirgrantha Jnatiputras (Jains) presume upon (base themselves upon). But, in truth, the Nirgranthas do not possess emancipation. So we say "empty-empty". Not-empty-empty is true emancipation. True emancipation is the Tathagata.
"Also, emancipation is the "not-empty". The pot in which we put water, drink, milk, cream, butter, honey, etc., can well be called the water pot and suchlike, even when there is no water, drink, cream, butter, honey or any other thing in it. And yet, we cannot say that the pot is either empty or not-empty. If we say empty, there cannot be any colour, smell, taste or touch. If we say not-empty, what we see is that there is nothing in it such as water, drink or any other thing. We can say neither matter ("rupa") nor non-matter ("arupa"); we can say neither empty nor not-empty. If we say empty, there can be no Eternity, Bliss, Self, and Purity. If not-empty, who is the one blessed with Eternity, Bliss, Self, and Purity? Thus, we should say neither empty nor not-empty. Empty will entail (the notion) that the 25 existences, all illusions, suffering, the phases of life, and all actual actions do not exist. When there is no cream in the pot, we may say empty. Not-empty points to Truth, to whatever is Good, Eternal, Bliss, Self, Pure, Immovable and Unchanging. It is as in the case of taste and touch regarding the pot. That is why we say not-empty. In consequence, we may say that emancipation is as in the case of the pot. The pot will break in certain circumstances. But this is not so with emancipation. It cannot break. What is indestructible is true emancipation. True emancipation is the Tathagata.
"Also, emancipation is severing oneself from love (i.e. blind love, craving). For example, there is a man here who may longingly desire to become Sakrodevanamindra, Brahma, and Mahesvara. Emancipation is other than this. Once unsurpassed Enlightenment has been attained, there is no love (craving) and no doubt. Not having love or doubt is true emancipation. True emancipation is the Tathagata. We cannot say that there is love or doubt in emancipation.
"Also, emancipation cuts off all greed, all external appearances, all bonds, all illusions, all births and deaths, all causes and conditions, all karma results. Such emancipation is the Tathagata. The Tathagata is Nirvana. When all beings (come to) fear birth and death and illusion, they take refuge in the Three Treasures. This is like a herd of deer who fear the hunter and run away. One jump may be likened to one refuge, and three such jumps to three refuges. From the three jumps, peace comes. It is the same with all beings. When one fears the four Maras and the evil-minded hunter, one takes the three Refuges (in Buddha, Dharma and Sangha). As a result of the three Refuges, one gains peace. Gaining peace is true emancipation. True emancipation is the Tathagata. The Tathagata is Nirvana. Nirvana is the Infinite. The Infinite is the Buddha-Nature. Buddha-Nature is definiteness. Definiteness is unsurpassed Enlightenment."
Bodhisattva Kasyapa said to the Buddha: "O World-Honoured One! If it is the case that Nirvana, the Buddha-Nature, definiteness, and the Tathagata are one and the same, why do we say "three Refuges?" The Buddha said to Kasyapa: "All beings fear birth and death. So they take the three Refuges. By the three Refuges, we mean Buddha-Nature, Definiteness, and Nirvana. O good man! There are cases in which the name, Dharma, is one, but the meaning differs. There are cases in which the names of Dharma and the meanings are both different. We say that the name is one, but the meaning differs. This refers to the situation where we say that the Buddha is eternal, Dharma is eternal, and the bhiksu is eternal. Also, Nirvana and space are eternal. This is a case where the name (word) is one, but the signification is different. We say that both the word and the signification differ. The Buddha is called "Enlightenment", Dharma is called "No-Awaking", the Sangha "Harmony", and Nirvana "Emancipation". Space is called "non-good", and also "not-covered". There are cases in which the word and the signification both differ. O good man! The case of the three Refuges is also like this. The world and the signification both differ. How can we say one? That is why I said to Mahaprajapati (the Buddha's aunt, who raised him): "O Gautami! Do not make offerings to me; make them to the Sangha! If offerings are made to the Sangha, this amounts to offerings being made to the three Refuges." Mahaprajapati answered, saying: "Among the priests, there are no Buddha and no Dharma. How can we say that offerings made to the Sangha constitute offerings made to the Three Refuges?" I said: "If you do as I say, this will mean that you have made offerings to the Buddha. For the purpose of emancipation, offering is made to Dharma. When all priests receive this, this is an offering made to the Sangha." O good man! At times the Tathagata speaks about one thing and makes it refer to three; he speaks about three and makes it one. All such things are what have to do with the world of all Buddhas. They are not what sravakas and pratyekabuddhas can know."
Kasyapa said further: "You, the Buddha, say that utmost peace is Nirvana. How can this be? Now, Nirvana means relinquishing the body and intellect. If one relinquishes the body and intellect, who is it that can become blessed with peace?" The Buddha said: "O good man! As an example: there is a man here. He eats some food. After partaking of it, he feels sick, desires to go out and vomit. After vomiting, he comes back. A person who was with him asks: "Have you got rid of the trouble you had? You have come back here again. " Such may be the case. The same applies to the Tathagata. He fully segregates himself from the 25 existences and eternally gains Nirvana, which is peace and bliss. There can (then) be no more of the topsy-turvy inversions, no ending and no extinction. All feeling is done away with. This is the bliss of non-feeling. This non-feeling is eternal Bliss. We can never say that the Tathagata feels Bliss. So, utmost Bliss is none but Nirvana. Nirvana is true emancipation. True emancipation is the Tathagata."
Kasyapa further said: "Are birthlessness and desirelessness emancipation?" "It is so, it is so. O good man! Birthlessness and desirelessness are emancipation. Such emancipation is the Tathagata." Kasyapa said further: "You say that birthlessness and desirelessness are emancipation. Space, too, by its nature, is birthlessness and desirelessness. It must be the Tathagata. The nature of the Tathagata must be emancipation." The Buddha said to Kasyapa: "O good man! It is not so." "Why, O World-Honoured One, is that not so?" "O good man! The kalavinka and jivamjivaka (birds) have clear and wonderful voices. How can we compare their voices to those of the crow and magpie? What do you say to that?" "We cannot, O World-Honoured One! The voices of the crow and magpie cannot bear comparison 100 thousand and "'wan"' (a Chinese unit of number) times." Kasyapa said again: "The voices of the kalavinka and others are wonderful; so is their body. O Tathagata! How can we compare them to those of the crow and magpie? This is little different from comparing a mustard seed to Mount Sumeru. The same is the case with the Buddha and space. The voice of the kalavinka can well be compared to that of the Buddha; but the voices of the crow and magpie cannot bear comparison with that of the Buddha." Then the Buddha praised Kasyapa and said: "Well said, well said, O good man! You now grasp what is most difficult to understand. The Tathagata, at times, as occasion requires, takes the case of space and compares it to emancipation. Such emancipation is the Tathagata. True emancipation, (however), cannot bear comparison with man or heaven. And space itself, truth to tell, is not fit for (such) comparison. To teach beings, a comparison is sought with what cannot, in its true sense, serve the purpose. Know that emancipation is the Tathagata; the nature of the Tathagata is this emancipation. Emancipation and the Tathagata are not two, they are not different. O good man! We say "non-comparable". We cannot take (for purposes of analogy) what cannot be compared. When there is a connection, then we can compare (two things). Is is as when it says in the sutras, for example: "The visage is as right-set as that of the full moon; the white elephant is as fresh and clear as the snow of the Himalayas." Now, the full moon cannot be the same as a face, and the Himalayas and the white elephant cannot be equals. O good man! It is not possible to express emancipation by parables. (Yet) in order to teach beings, parables are resorted to. Through parables, we realise the nature of all things. Matters stand thus." "Kasyapa said further: "Why is it that the Tathagata resorts to two kinds of parables?" The Buddha siad: "O good man! For example, there is a person here who holds a sword in his hand and with an angry mind means to harm the Tathagata. But the Tathagata is glad, and has no angry face. Can this man harm the Tathagata and actualise the deadly sin?" "No, O World-Honoured One! Why not? Because the body of the Tathagata cannot be destroyed. Why not? Because it is not anything of the compounded carnal body. What there is is "Dharmata" (Dharma-Nature). The principle of "Dharmata" is indestructible. How can this man hope to break the Buddha-Body? Because of his evil thought, this person falls into Avichi Hell. Thus we can make use of parables and come to know of Wonderful Dharma." Then the Buddha praised Bodhisattva Kasyapa: "Well said, well said! You already said what I wanted to say. Also, O good man! For example, an evil person means to harm his own mother. He lives in the fields and hides himself under a haystack. His mother brings out food to him. Then the man entertains an evil thought, steps forward and sharpens his sword. His mother, seeing this, slips away and hides under the stack. The man thrusts his sword into the haystack from all sides. Having done so, he is glad and thinks that he has killed his mother. Then his mother comes out of the haystack and returns home. What does this imply? Does this man have to suffer in Avichi Hell or not?" "O World-Honoured One! We cannot definitely say which one (is the case). Why not? If we say that he has equalled (destined himself for) Avichi Hell, (in such a case) his mother's body would need to get hurt. But if it is not hurt, how can we say that the man has harmed her? If he is guiltless, how comes it that he entertained the thought of having actually killed his mother and how could he have been so glad? How can we say that he is guiltless? Though he has not actually committed this deadly sin, this is nothing other than a deadly sin. From this, we may know only through parables the true nature of a thing." Praising Kasyapa, the Buddha said: "Well said, well said, O good man! For this reason, I resort to many expedients and parables and explain emancipation. We could well employ innumerable asamkhyas of parables, yet parables cannot thoroughly explain all. If occasion arises, we might resort to parables, or the occasion might not permit parables. Thus, emancipation has such virtues. If we explain Nirvana, Nirvana and the Tathagata have innumerable virtues. We speak of "Great Nirvana." Bodhisattva Kasyapa said to the Buddha: "O World-Honoured One! I now know that there is no ending of things referring to where the Tathagata goes. If the place is unending, life too must be unending." The Buddha said: "Well said, well said! You now protect Wonderful Dharma indeed. Any good men or women who desire to cut off the bonds of illusion and all bonds should protect Wonderful Dharma thus."
- Nirvana Sutra: Chapter One Introductory
- Nirvana Sutra: Chapter Two: On Cunda
- Nirvana Sutra: Chapter Three: On Grief
- Nirvana Sutra: Chapter Four: On Long Life
- Nirvana Sutra: Chapter Five: On the Adamantine Body
- Nirvana Sutra: Chapter Six: On the Virtue of the Name
- Nirvana Sutra: Chapter Seven: On the Four Aspects
- Nirvana Sutra: Chapter Eight: On the Four Dependables
- Nirvana Sutra: Chapter Nine: On Wrong and Right
- Nirvana Sutra: Chapter Ten: On the Four Truths
- Nirvana Sutra: Chapter Eleven: On the Four Inversions
- Nirvana Sutra: Chapter Twelve: On the Tathagata-DHATU
- Nirvana Sutra: Chapter Thirteen: On Letters
- Nirvana Sutra: Chapter Fourteen: On the Parable of the Birds
- Nirvana Sutra: Chapter Fifteen: On the Parable of the Moon
- Nirvana Sutra: Chapter Sixteen: On the Bodhisattva
- Nirvana Sutra: Chapter Seventeen: On the Questions Raised by the Crowd
- Nirvana Sutra: Chapter Eighteen: On Actual Illness
- Nirvana Sutra: Chapter Nineteen: On Holy Actions-1
- Nirvana Sutra: Chapter Twenty: On Holy Actions-2
- Nirvana Sutra: Chapter Twenty-One: On Pure Actions-1
- Nirvana Sutra: Chapter Twenty-Two: On Pure Actions-2
- Nirvana Sutra: Chapter Twenty-Three: On Pure Actions-3
- Nirvana Sutra: Chapter Twenty-Four: On Pure Actions-4
- Nirvana Sutra: Chapter Twenty-Five: On Pure Actions-5
- Nirvana Sutra: Chapter Twenty-Six: On the Action of the Child
- Nirvana Sutra: Chapter Twenty-Seven: Bodhisattva Highly-Virtuous King-1
- Nirvana Sutra: Chapter Twenty-Eight: Bodhisattva Highly-Virtuous King-2
- Nirvana Sutra: Chapter Twenty-Nine: Bodhisattva Highly-Virtuous King (c)
- Nirvana Sutra: Chapter Thirty: Bodhisattva Highly-Virtuous King (d)
- Nirvana Sutra: Chapter Thirty-One: Bodhisattva Highly-Virtuous King (e)
- Nirvana Sutra: Chapter Thirty-Two: Bodhisattva Highly-Virtuous King (f)
- Nirvana Sutra: Chapter Thirty-Three: On Bodhisattva Lion's Roar (A)
- Nirvana Sutra: Chapter Thirty-Four: On Bodhisattva Lion's Roar (b)
- Nirvana Sutra: Chapter Thirty-Five: On Bodhisattva Lion's Roar (c)
- Nirvana Sutra: Chapter Thirty-Six: On Bodhisattva Lion's Roar (d)
- Nirvana Sutra: Chapter Thirty-Seven: On Bodhisattva Lion's Roar (e)
- Nirvana Sutra: Chapter Thirty-Eight: On Bodhisattva Lion's Roar (f)
- Nirvana Sutra: Chapter Thirty-Nine: On Bodhisattva Lion's Roar (g)
- Nirvana Sutra: Chapter Forty: On Bodhisattva Kasyapa (a)
- Nirvana Sutra: Chapter Forty-One: On Bodhisattva Kasyapa (b)
- Nirvana Sutra: Chapter Forty-Two: On Bodhisattva Kasyapa (c)
- Nirvana Sutra: Chapter Forty-Three: On Bodhisattva Kasyapa (d)
- Nirvana Sutra: Chapter Forty-Four: On Bodhisattva Kasyapa (e)
- Nirvana Sutra: Chapter Forty-Five: On Kaundinya (a)
- Nirvana Sutra: Chapter Forty-Six: On Kaundinya (b)