Edited and Distilled.
 

 
 
 
THE DIAMOND SUTRA

THAT WHICH CUTS THE ADAMANTINE IS CONTAINED HEREIN

The Great Vehicle Sutra named "The holy one which cuts with a vajra, that which penetrates beyond all infinities, the one which has reached the farther limits of wisdom."

Subhuti: The Tathagatha, the Truly Enlightened One has so many times given well with the highest and best giving to the Bodhisattvas, the Manifesters of Universal Liberation and Awakening. O Well Gone, how are those who have truly embarked on the vehicle of the Bodhisattvas to behave? How are they to accomplish their progress? How are they to concentrate their thoughts?

Buddha: Good, good Subhuti. Subhuti this is exactly so, it is exactly so. The Tathagata has helped the Bodhisattvas with the highest help. Through the dharma, the teaching of the Inconceivable Enlightenment, the Tathagata has given well to these Great Beings by means of the highest and best giving. Therefore, Subhuti, listen and keep this very well in mind.

I shall teach how those who have embarked on the vehicle of Universal Liberation and Awakening, truly and for sure, will conduct themselves, how they will accomplish progress and how they will concentrate their thoughts.

Those who have embarked, truly and for sure, on the vehicle of the Inconceivable Enlightenment should conceive a thought such as this: If I lead towards complete Nirvana, as many beings as have gathered in all the worlds, those who were born from an egg, and those who were born from a womb, and those who were born from moist warmth, and those who were born through magic transformation, and those who have material bodies, and those who do not have material bodies, and those who are endowed with perception, and those who do not have perception, and those who possess neither perception nor non- perception, as many classes of beings as are connected under the name of beings, into the realm of Nirvana where nothing is left... and although I have led, in exactly such a manner, innumerable beings to complete Nirvana, nevertheless, not a single being has been led to complete Nirvana.

Why is this so? It is because they are not to be called Bodhisattvas if those Bodhisattvas conceive the perception of a being. If we ask why that is so, it is because one is not to be called a Bodhisattva if one has the perception of a being, the perception of soul, the perception of ego, the perception of a person.

And also as regards these Great Beings, they should give gifts not supported by anything. These immeasurable gifts for the inconceivable enlightenment of all are not supported by anything. Thus, they should give gifts not supported by form. They should give gifts not supported by sound, smell, taste, touch, or even dharmas - the objects of mind. In the manner of someone who is not supported even by the perception of a sign - like that - each of the the Great Beings should give gifts.

Also Subhuti, what do you think about this? Do you think that one is seen as the Tathagata because such possesses marks of excellence?

Subhuti: This is not so. One is not to be seen as the Tathagata because such possesses marks of excellence. Why is this so? It is so because what has been taught by the Tathagata as marks of excellence is truly a no-possession of no-marks. The Tathagatas have no marks, and this fact is their mark.

To the extent that there are marks of excellence, by that much there is untruth. To the extent that there are no marks of excellence, by that much there is no untruth. The Tathagata has no marks and this fact is the mark.

The Bodhisattvas, endowed with perfect virtue, perfect intellect and perfect realization, have, are now, and will continue to create the essence of inconceivable enlightenment for innumerable universes of Buddhas. The Tathagata knows the efforts of the Great Beings. If one should ask why this is so, it is because the Bodhisattvas do not exert themselves to think of a notion of the self or ego, they do not exert themselves to think of a being, they do not exert themselves to think of soul, they do not exert themselves to think of a person.

The Bodhisattvas do not exert themselves to think of dharma, the way of enlightenment. They do not exert themselves to think of lacking dharma. They do not even exert themselves to think or not to think. Why is this so? It is because of this; if those Bodhisattvas exerted themselves to think about dharma, they would also think of ego, they would think of a being, they would think of soul, spirit of life, they would think of a person. If they exerted themselves thinking of dharma as devoid of ego, that would be thinking of ego, thinking of a being, thinking of soul, thinking of a person.

If one should ask why it is so, it is because the Bodhisattvas must not mistakenly seize on a dharma, and they must not seize on non-dharma. Therefore, the Tathagata taught regarding this: If the dharma is likened to a raft which is later abandoned, what is there to be said about non-dharma?....

Subhuti, what do you think about this? Do you think that there is any dharma which the Tathagata has clearly and fully known as the true Enlightenment above which there is nothing higher? Do you think that the Tathagata has ever taught any such dharmas?

Subhuti: As I have understood the meaning of what the Enlightened One has taught, there are no dharmas which the Tathagata has clearly and fully known as the true and perfect Enlightenment above which there is nothing. Likewise, there are no such dharmas which have been demonstrated by the Tathagata. If one should ask why it is so, it is as follows: As for whether the Tathagata has clearly and fully known any dharmas and whether these have been demonstrated, it is impossible to think about them and to talk about them. This is so because they are neither dharmas nor non-dharmas. If one asks why this is so, it is because such holy manifestations are exalted by the Unconditioned, That-Which-Has-Not- Been-Created.

Buddha: The Tathagata has taught that Buddha's dharmas which have been termed "Buddha's dharmas, Buddha's dharmas" are not dharmas. Therefore, they are called Buddha's dharmas.

Subhuti, what do you think about this? Do you think that the Srotaapanna thinks thus: I have obtained the holiness of a "One-who-has-entered-the-Stream-of-
the-Unconditional"?

Subhuti: It is not so. If one should ask why that is not so, it is because one has not attained anything. Therefore one is called a Srotaapanna. One has attained no form, no sound, no smell, no taste, no touchables. One has not even attained any dharmas. Therefore one is called "a Srotaapanna who has entered the stream". If one should ask why it is so, if the Srotaapanna were to think: I have obtained the holiness of a Srotaapanna, it would be thinking of ego, it would be thinking of a being, it would be thinking of soul, it would be thinking of a person.

Buddha: Subhuti, what do you think about this? Do you think the Sakrdagamin thinks thus: I have obtained the holiness of "One-who-returns-but-once"?

Subhuti: That is not so. If one should ask why it is not so, it is because there is not a single dharma by which one attains the "One-who-returns-but-once".

Buddha: Subhuti, what do you think about this? Do you think that the Anagamin thinks thus: I have obtained the holiness of "One-who-never-returns"?

Subhuti: That is not so. If one should ask why, it is because there is not a single dharma which attains the "One-who-never-returns". For this reason one is called an Anagamin.

Buddha: Subhuti, what do you think about this? Do you think the Arhat thinks thus: I have indeed become a "One-who-has-transcended-the-adversary"?

Subhuti: That is not so. If one asks why, it is because there is not a single dharma which is called Arhat. If the Arhat should conceive such a thought: I have, indeed, become an Arhat, that would be seizing on ego, that would be thinking of a being, that would be thinking of soul, that would be thinking of a person. The Tathagata, the Arhat, the Truly Enlightened One has said about me that I am the foremost of those who are without defilement. Although I am an Arhat free from passion, I say this. I do not think that I am, indeed, an Arhat. If I had ever thought so: I have become an Arhat who has transcended the adversary, the Tathagata would not have declared regarding me: Subhuti is the foremost of those who dwell in peace. Such a one has had peace and has been dwelling without passions because of not having dwelled in anything. One dwells in peace because one dwells nowhere.

Buddha: Subhuti, what do you think about this? Do you think that there are any dharmas, be it only a single one, which the Tathagatas have received from the Tathagata, the Arhat, the Truly Enlightened Dipankara, the Buddha of the previous age?

Subhuti: That is not so. There is not a single dharma which has been received by the Tathagatas from the Tathagata, the Arhat, the Truly Enlightened Dipankara.

Buddha: Subhuti, if the Bodhisattvas, any of them, spoke thus: I have created the harmonies of the field, the harmonious Buddha field, they would speak falsely. If one should ask why it is so, it is because the Tathagata has taught that what is called "harmonies of the field, harmonies of the term 'field'", that harmony does not exist. Therefore they are called harmonies of the field.

For this reason, the Bodhisattvas should originate thought which is not supported. They should form thought that dwells nowhere. They should form thought that does not dwell in form, in sound, in smell, in taste, in touchables, even in a dharma. This is to be understood in the following manner. For example, when a person's body becomes large, and it becomes the size of Sumeru, the Universal Form, do you think that body is large?

Subhuti: That body is large! Sugata, great would be that one's personal existence. If one should ask why it is so, it is because the Tathagata has preached about that body as not existing. Therefore, it is called a large body....

O Pure-From-The-Beginning, is there a name for this discourse on dharma?

Buddha: The name of this discourse on dharma is That Which Has Reached The Farther Limits Of Wisdom. Just that which has been taught by the Tathagata as Prajnaparamita, the wisdom which has gone beyond, just that has been taught by the Tathagata as non- Prajnaparamita, not gone beyond. Therefore it is called Prajnaparamita.

Subhuti, what do you think about this? Do you think there are any of those dharmas which the Truly Enlightened One has taught?

Subhuti: As for those dharmas which the Tathagata has taught, not a single one exists.

Buddha: Subhuti, what do you think about this? Do you think that those particles and fields of matter and energy, whatever their numbers might be, in the multi-dimensional realities of infinite world systems are numerous?

Subhuti: They are indeed numberless! If one should ask why that is so, it is because the Tathagata has taught about those particles and fields as non-particles and non-fields. Therefore they are called matter and energy. In like manner the Tathagata has taught about all groupings as non-groupings; all nations of the world as non-nations, which for this reason are called nations of the world.

Buddha: Subhuti, how should a person having been endowed with a human body, a large body, be understood?

Subhuti: That which has been preached by the Tathagatha about endowment with a human body, a large body, has been taught of as a non-body.

Buddha: Subhuti, what do you think of this? Do you think that the Tathagatha has fleshly, phenomenal eyes? Do you think that the Tathatha has the divine, personal heaven eyes of a deity? Do you think the Tathagatha has eyes of transcendent wisdom? Do you think the Tathagatha has dharma eyes, eyes that confer the spirit of inconceivable enlightenment? Do you think the Tathagatha has all-seeing Buddha eyes, eyes of ineffable purity, compassion and omniscience? What do you think of all this, Subhuti?

Subhuti: This is exactly so. The Tathagatha has fleshly, phenomenal eyes. The Tathagatha has the divine, personal heaven eyes of a deity. The Tathagatha has eyes of transcendent wisdom. The Tathagatha has dharma eyes, eyes that confer the spirit of inconceivable enlightenment. The Tathagatha has all-seeing Buddha eyes, eyes of ineffable purity, compassion and omniscience. This is so because in reality the nature of all seeing is the voidness of voidness.

Buddha: Good, good, Subhuti, what do you think of this? Do you think that one is the Tathagata, the Arhat, the Truly Enlightened One because of possessing the thirty-two marks of Greatness?

Subhuti: That is not so. If one should ask why that is not so, it is because the Tathagata has taught of those thirty-two marks of Greatness as non-marks. For this reason, they are called the "thirty-two marks of Greatness".

Those beings who accept this discourse on dharma will not have perception of ego. They will have no perception of a being, no perception of soul, no perception of a person. If one asks why that is so, it is because they will have detached themselves from perception of a being, from perception of soul, from perception of ego, from perception of a person, from all perceptions of any of these. If one asks why it is so, it is because the Fully Enlightened Ones have detached themselves from all perception. 

Buddha: It is indeed so. The beings who will have no fear, no worry, no anxiety when this Sutra is taught will be most wonderful. This is so because the Tathagata has taught this supreme perfection.

For example, what has been taught by the Tathagata as perfection of patience is non- perfection. Why is it so? Subhuti, at that time when the king of Kalinga was cutting my joints and limbs, no perception of ego, no perception of a being, no perception of soul, no perception of a person was born to me. It was so because I had neither perception nor non- perception.

If one should ask why it is so, it is because I would also have had a perception of ill-will at that time, if at that time the perception of ego had taken place in me, and if perception of a being, of a soul, of a person had taken place, there would have taken place at that same time perception of evil designs. Subhuti, I know clearly. In former times in one of my five hundred rebirths, I became a hermit by the name of Speaker of Patience. At that time, no perception of ego took place in me, indeed. No perception of a being, of a soul, of a person took place in me. Such is the nature of all perfections.

When the Bodhisattvas, because of that, free themselves completely from all perceptions, they should conceive a thought directed toward the True and Perfect Enlightenment, above which there is nothing. They should conceive thought which is not supported by form, they should conceive thought which is not supported by sound, smell, taste, or touchables. They should conceive thought which is not even supported by dharma. They should conceive thought which is not even supported by non-dharma. They should conceive thought which is not supported by anything. If one should ask why, it is because anything that is supported has no support.

For this reason, the Tathagata has taught that the Bodhisattvas should benefit all without being supported by anything. And also the Bodhisattvas should renounce gifts, in manner like this, for the benefit of all beings. Any perception of a being is non-perception.

Those beings about which the Tathagata has taught as beings are non-beings. If one should ask why it is so, the Tathagata is one who teaches truly, one who speaks truly, and one who teaches the true suchness. On the other side, it is so because the All Illumined does not teach untruth. And also, with regard to that dharma which the Tathagata has fully known, demonstrated, and meditated upon, on account of that, there is neither truth nor untruth.

Subhuti: How ought those act who have truly embarked on the Vehicle of the Bodhisattvas? How should they fulfill, create, and well-govern their thought?

Buddha: Those who have truly embarked upon the Vehicle of the Bodhisattvas should give birth to the following thought: I wish to establish all beings in Parinirvana in a Nirvana Realm in which no aggregates are left. However, even if I should establish all the uncountable beings, like that, in Parinirvana, I would not even have established a single being in Parinirvana.

If a Bodhisattva undertakes to think of a being, such should not be called a Bodhisattva. If one undertakes to think of anything including a person, one should not be called a Bodhisattva. It is because the true embarkation on a Vehicle of Bodhisattvas is not a dharma.

Subhuti, what do you think of this? Do you think that that dharma, even a single one, exists by which the Tathagata has fully known the unsurpassed true and perfect Enlightenment?

Subhuti: There is not a single dharma by which the Tathagata has fully known the unsurpassed true and perfect Enlightenment.

Buddha: Indeed that is so. That dharma by which the Tathagata has fully known the unsurpassed true and perfect Enlightenment does not exist, not a single one exists. The Tathagata has taught that all dharmas are unsubstantial, without a being, that all dharmas are devoid of life, without soul, that all dharmas are devoid of personality, that all dharmas are devoid of self, without ego.

I know precisely the different ways of thinking and reflecting, all the uninterrupted stream of thoughts of all those numberless beings in the infinite world systems. If one should ask why it is so, it is because as concerns the stream of thoughts, the so-called "entering of the stream of thoughts" has been taught about by the Tathagata as of a non-stream. For this reason, it is called the stream of thoughts. If someone should ask why it is so, it is because past thought is not perceived, future thought is not perceived, present thought is not perceived.

Subhuti, what do you think about this? Does the Tathagata think: I preach the dharma? You must not think so. That dharma taught by the Tathagata does not exist at all. Not one dharma, not even the least of it is to be found. For this reason it is called the supreme, true and perfect Enlightenment. It is also because that dharma is self-identical, and not even one is uneven in it. Thus all dharmas are Buddha's dharmas. Therefore it is called the supreme, true and perfect Enlightenment.

As for that supreme, true and perfect Enlightenment, it is uniform in the way of absence of self, being, soul, and personality. One fully knows it by means of all beneficent dharmas. As for the beneficent dharmas, the Tathagata has taught them as non-dharmas. For this reason they are called the beneficent dharmas.

Subhuti, what do you think about this? Does the Tathagata think: I have saved all Beings? You must not think so, because there is not a single being which is saved by the Tathagata. If the Tathagata saved a being, that would be seizing by the Tathagata on self - atman, seizing on a being, seizing on soul, seizing on a person.

As for thinking of one's own ego, the Tathagata teaches about it as non-thinking. However, the common beings seize upon it. As for what is called "the common beings" the Tathagata has taught about them as non-beings, and thereby beyond merely superficial designations, these same are not other than Bodhisattvas. Therefore they are called the common people. The Tathagatha has taught of all worlds as non-worlds, of all collections as non-collections. If there had been even one world alone, one collection, that would be seizing upon an object. The Tathagatha has taught about seizing upon an object as of non- seizing.

Those who by my form did see me 
And those who followed me by voice, 
Void the efforts they engaged, 
Me those people will not see.

From the dharma one can see the Buddhas, 
For dharma bodies are the Guides. 
Yet dharma's true nature should not be discerned 
It is absolutely impossible to perceive dharma.

If a Bodhisattva would gain the patient acquiescence in dharma, in all its selflessness and birthlessness, such a one will as a result gain innumerable and incalculable merits beyond the possibility of conceiving..

And also, Subhuti, Bodhisattvas must not acquire merits.

Subhuti: Do not Bodhisattvas, indeed, acquire innumerable and incalculable merits?

Buddha: They do acquire them but they must not seize upon them. Merits are acquired solely for the development, liberation and awakening of all beings. Therefore it is said "they acquire".

If someone says that the Tathagata goes, comes, gets up, sits down, or lies down, one does not understand the meaning of the teaching. If one should ask why it is so, it is because the Tathagata has not gone anywhere and has not come from anywhere. Therefore such is called the Tathagata, Arhat, the Truly Enlightened One.

The Tathagata has taught concerning the "view of the self" as of a non-view. Therefore it is called the view of self.

For this reason, one who has truly set out in the Bodhisattva vehicle should in this way know, see, and prefer all dharmas. One should know them so that there will by no means be perception of a dharma.

Like stars or a fault in vision, 
Like a lamp, a mirage, a drop of dew, 
Like foam on water, a dream, a lightning, and clouds, 
So everything conditioned should be viewed.

The Mahayana Sutra, that which cuts the diamond thunderbolt, has ended.

The root of however many Laws there might be, 
Taught by the One who has passed beyond beyond 
Has appeared from Sunya, the Void. 


 
 
 
 

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