IZT
international_zen_temple_de Introduction Zen Gong-An Dharma Speech Sutra Events Press
Sutra Übersetzungen
The Diamond Sutra - Vajra-Prajnaparamita Sutra
Das Diamant-Sutra (DE)

" The Diamond Sutra
adopts 'no-marks'
as its root,
'no-abiding'
as its body,
and 'absolute reality'
as its function"

The frontispiece of the Tun Huang Print of the Diamond Sutra, A.D. 868 now in the British Museum.



The Sixth Patriarch Hui-neng said,
„This one Sutra originally consists in the nature of living beings.
One who doesn’t see it for himself should,
only depending
on the words and terms, read and recite it.
But if one were to enlighten his true nature, then he could realize for the first time that this Sutra would not consist of the words and terms.“


MANTRA
OM NAMO BHAGAVATYAI-ARYA-PRAJNAPARAMITAYAI


INVOCATION
HOMAGE TO THE PERFECTION OF WISDOM
THE LOVELY, THE HOLY!

THE STANZA OPENING THE SUTRA
The unsurpassed, profound and wonderful Dharma
is difficult to encounter for hundreds of thousands
of ten thousands of Kalpas.
I now see and hear it, receive and retain it,
and I vow to fathom the Tathagata’s true meaning.


The Chinese text by Kumarajiva
Translated by the Ven. Zen Master Young San Seong Do



The Essence of Buddhist Wisdom

THE DIAMOND SUTRA
Vajra Prajnaparamita Sutra




1. The Reason for the Dharma Assembly

Thus have I heard: At one time, the Buddha was staying at the monastery of Anathapindika in Jeta’s Grove near Sravasti with an assembly of 1,250 great Bhikshus.

When the mealtime came, the World-Honored One put on His robe, took His patra-bowl and entered the great city of Sravasti, where He begged for food-alms from house to house.

After He returned to the main monastery and took His meal, He put away His robe and patra-bowl, washed His feet, arranged His seat and sat down.


2. Subhuti Makes a Request

At that time, the Venerable Subhuti who was in the midst of the assembly rose from his seat, bared his right shoulder, placed his right knee on the ground and said to the Buddha respectfully joining the palms of his hands: So rare you are, World-Honored One! How well all Bodhisattvas have been watched over by the Tathagata! How well all Bodhisattvas have been encouraged by the Tathagata!

How then, World-Honored One, should good men or good women who awaken the mind of Anuttara-samyak-sambodhi abide (live), and how should they subdue (control) their minds?

The Buddha said: So it is, Subhuti, so it is! As you say, all Bodhisattvas have been well watched over by the Tathagata and all Bodhisattvas have been well encouraged by the Tathagata. Now listen well and attentively! I will expound it for you. Good men or good women who awaken the mind of Anuttara-samyak-sambodhi should thus abide, and they should thus subdue their minds.

So be it, World-Honored One! Certainly with a great joy will I listen to you.


3. The Orthodox Doctrine of the Mahayana

The Buddha said to Subhuti: All Bodhisattva-Mahasattvas should thus subdue their minds. All sorts and kinds of sentient beings that are in existence – born from eggs, born from wombs, born from moisture, or born by transformation; with form or without form, with perception or without perception, with neither perception nor non-perception, – all these I must lead into Nirvana without remainder and emancipate them (from all sufferings). Though immeasurable, uncountable and unlimited sentient beings have thus been emancipated, yet no sentient being in fact has been emancipated.

And why? If, Subhuti, a Bodhisattva has the notion of a self, the notion of a person, the notion of a sentient being or the notion of a life span, he is not a Bodhisattva. 


4. Profound Practice Without Abiding

Moreover, Subhuti, a Bodhisattva should practice charity without abiding in any objects, that is to say, he should practice charity without abiding in forms, and without abiding in sounds, smells, tastes, touches, or dharmas should he practice charity.

Subhuti, thus should a Bodhisattva practice charity and he should not abide in any marks. And why? Because if a Bodhisattva were to practice charity without abiding in marks, his blessed virtues would be inconceivable and immeasurable.

What do you think, Subhuti, can you measure all the empty space extending eastward?

No indeed, World-Honored One.

Subhuti, can you measure all the empty space extending southward, westward, northward, or in the four intermediate directions or upwards and downwards?

No indeed, World-Honored One.

Subhuti, inconceivable and immeasurable are even so the blessed virtues of the Bodhisattva who practices charity without abiding in any marks.

Subhuti, a Bodhisattva should thus abide as taught.


5. The Real Seeing of ‚Thusness-Truth’

What do you think, Subhuti, can the Tathagata be seen by means of His physical marks?

No, World-Honored One. The Tathagata cannot be seen by means of His physical marks. And why? The physical marks taught by the Tathagata are not physical marks.

The Buddha said to Subhuti: 

All that has marks
Is unreal and false.
If you see all marks as non-marks,
Then you can see the Tathagata.


6. Rare is True Faith

Subhuti said to the Buddha: World-Honored One, when in the future, some sentient beings come to hear of these words or sentences, will they truly have faith in them?

The Buddha said to Subhuti: Do not speak thus. Even in the days of the last five hundred years after the passing of the Tathagata, there will still be those who cultivate their blessings by observing the precepts, so that they will be able to have a faithful mind in these words or sentences and think of them as true.

You should know that such people would have not only planted their good roots under just one Buddha, two Buddhas, three, four, or five Buddhas, but already under countless tens of millions of Buddhas would they have planted all their good roots.

Therefore when they happen to hear of these words or sentences, they will awaken a single thought of pure faith.

Subhuti, the Tathagata fully knows and fully sees that all these sentient beings will thus obtain immeasurable blessed virtues. And why? They will nevermore have the notion of a self, of a person, of a sentient being, or of a life span. They will neither have the notion of a dharma, nor will they have the notion of a non-dharma (Adharma).

And why? Because if all these sentient beings should grasp at any marks in their minds, they will be attached to a self, a person, a sentient being, or a life span, and even if they were to grasp at the notion of a dharma, they will also be attached to a self, a person, a sentient being, or a life span. And why? Even if they should grasp at the notion of a non-dharma, they will also be attached to a self, a person, a sentient being, or a life span. Therefore you should not grasp at a dharma, nor should you grasp at a non-dharma.

That is why the Tathagata has always taught this saying: „All ye Bhikshus should know that the dharma taught by Me is to be likened to a raft; even the dharma should be forsaken, still more so a non-dharma.“


7. No Attainment, nor Teaching

What do you think, Subhuti, has the Tathagata attained the Anuttara-samyak-sambodhi, or has the Tathagata ever taught any dharmas?

Subhuti said: There is, as I understand the meaning of the Buddha’s teaching, no fixed dharma which can be called the Anuttara-samyak-sambodhi, nor is there any fixed dharma which can be taught by the Tathagata.

And why? The dharma that the Tathagata has taught – it cannot be grasped, nor can it be talked about; it is neither a dharma nor a non-dharma. Why is that? Because all sages and saints draw a distinction with unconditioned dharma (asamskrta).


8. Coming Forth from Dharma

What do you think, Subhuti, if someone had filled the Three-thousand Great-thousand World-systems with the seven precious things and were to gave them all away as charity, would he obtain a great heap of blessed virtues?

Subhuti said: So great, World-Honored One. And why? All such blessed virtues are not the nature of blessed virtues. Therefore the Tathagata speaks of blessed virtues as being great.

If someone else, receiving and retaining from this sutra but one stanza of four lines, were to illuminate it for others, his blessing would be superior to the preceding one.

And why? Subhuti, all the Buddhas and the dharma of all Buddhas’ Anuttara-samyak-sambodhi issue forth from this sutra. Subhuti, the so-called Buddhadharma is not Buddhadharma.


9. A Single Mark Is No Mark

What do you think, Subhuti, can a Srotapanna have this thought, ‘by me has the fruit of Srotapanna been attained’?

Subhuti said: No indeed, World-Honored One. And why? Because a Srotapanna is called one who has entered the stream (of a saint), but in fact he has nowhere entered, that is to say, he has not entered forms, sounds, smells, tastes, touches and dharmas. That is why he is called a Srotapanna.

What do you think, Subhuti, can a Sakrdagamin have this thought, ‘by me has the fruit of Sakrdagamin been attained’?

Subhuti said: No indeed, World-Honored One. And why? Because a Sakrdagamin is called one who goes and returns just for once, but in fact there is no going-and-returning. That is why he is called a Sakrdagamin.

What do you think, Subhuti, can an Anagamin have this thought, ‘by me has the fruit of Anagamin been attained’?

Subhuti said: No indeed, World-Honored One. And why? Because an Anagamin is called one who does not return, but in fact there is no non-returning. That is why he is called an Anagamin.

What do you think, Subhuti, can an Arhat have this thought, ‘by me has Arhatship been attained’?

Subhuti said: No indeed, World-Honored One. And why? Because in fact, there is no dharma which can be called an Arhat. World-Honored One, if an Arhat should have the thought, ‘by me has Arhatship been attained’, then he would seize upon a self, a person, a sentient being, and a life span.

World-Honored One, the Buddha has declared that I am the foremost of those who have attained the samadhi without strife (Arana-samadhi). This means the foremost of all Arhats who are free from desire. And yet I do not have such a thought, ‘I am an Arhat free from desire’.

World-Honored One, if I had the thought, ‘by me has Arhatship been attained’, the World-Honored One would not declare, „Subhuti, you are one who delights in the practice without strife (Arana-viharin)“. And yet since Subhuti actually has not practiced so, Subhuti is called to delight in Arana-viharin.


10. The Adornment of Pure Lands

The Buddha said to Subhuti: What do you think? Was there any dharma which the Tathagata had attained while, in the remote past, practicing under the Buddha Dipankara?

Subhuti said: No indeed, World-Honored One. There is actually no dharma which the Tathagata attained while practicing under the Buddha Dipankara.

What do you think, Subhuti, does a Bodhisattva adorn Buddha-lands?

No indeed, World-Honored One. And why? Because the adornment of the Buddha-lands is not adornment; only its name is adornment.

Therefore, Subhuti, all Bodhisattva-Mahasattvas should thus produce their pure minds. They should produce their minds not abiding in any forms, and without abiding in sounds, smells, tastes, touches and dharmas should they produce their minds.

Without abiding anywhere should they produce their minds.

Subhuti, supposing there were, figuratively speaking, a man with a body as huge as Sumeru, King of Mountains, what do you think, would that body be huge?

Subhuti said: Extremely huge, World-Honored One. And why? Because the Buddha has called a non-body a huge body.


11. The Superiority of Unconditioned Blessings

Subhuti, if there were as many rivers Ganges as the number of grains of sand in the river Ganges, what do you think, would the grains of sand in all those rivers Ganges be many?

Subhuti said: So many, World-Honored One. Even all those rivers Ganges would be innumerable, much more so all the grains of sand in them!

Subhuti, I now tell you truly. If a good man or good woman had filled with the seven precious things the Three-thousand Great-thousand World-systems numberless as the sand-grains in all those rivers Ganges and were to gave them all away as charity, would he or she obtain great blessings?

Subhuti said: So great, World-Honored One.

The Buddha said to Subhuti: If a good man or good woman were to receive and retain from this Sutra but one stanza of four lines and illuminate it for others, this blessed virtue would be far greater than the preceding one.


12. Veneration of The Orthodox Doctrine

Moreover, Subhuti, you should know that wherever this sutra or even one stanza of four lines of it is illuminated, just as the Buddha’s Stupa or Shrine should that place be made offerings by the whole realms of Heavens, men and Asuras; how much more so someone who could receive this sutra and retain, read and recite it throughout!

Subhuti, you should know that such a person accomplishes the highest and foremost rare dharma. Wherever this sutra is kept, that spot of earth should be as if either the Buddha dwelt there or His venerable disciples.


13. Receiving and Retaining the Thusness-Dharma

At that time, Subhuti said to the Buddha: World-Honored One, what should this sutra be named, and how should we bear it in mind?

The Buddha said to Subhuti: The name of this sutra is Vajra Prajnaparamita, and by this name should you bear it in mind. Why is that? Subhuti, the Prajnaparamita which the Buddha has taught is not Prajnaparamita. Therefore it is called Prajnaparamita.

What do you think, Subhuti, is there any dharma taught by the Tathagatha?

Subhuti said to the Buddha: World-Honored One, nothing has been taught by the Tathagata.

What do you think, Subhuti, all the particles of dust in the Three-thousand Great-thousand World-systems, would they be many?

Subhuti said: Many indeed, World-Honored One.

Subhuti, all particles of dust taught by the Tathagata are no particles of dust; they are nothing but a name, and the world-system taught by the Tathagata is also no world-system; therefore it is called a world-system.

What do you think, Subhuti, can the Tathagata be seen by means of the thirty-two marks?

No indeed, World-Honored One. The Tathagata cannot be seen by means of the thirty-two marks. And why? The thirty-two marks taught by the Tathagata are no marks; therefore they are called the thirty-two marks.

Subhuti, if a good man or good woman were to renounce in practicing charity as many lives as there are grains of sand in the river Ganges, – and if someone else were to receive and retain from this sutra but one stanza of four lines and illuminate it for others, the blessings of the latter would be far greater.


14. Tranquil Extinction Apart from Marks

Then Subhuti, upon hearing this sutra taught and realizing its profound meaning, was moved to tears and said to the Buddha: How rare you are, World-Honored One! Even with an eye of wisdom acquired through my whole previous lives have I never before heard of such a profound sutra taught by the Buddha.

World-Honored One, if someone, after listening to this sutra, were to had a pure mind of faith in it, he then should produce the mark of reality. We should know that such a person would accomplish the rarest kind of meritorious virtue. World-Honored One, the mark of reality is no mark. Therefore it is called the mark of reality by the Tathagata.

World-Honored One, now it is not difficult for me to hear this sutra and have faith in it, understand, receive and retain it, but if in a future period, in the last five hundred years, there should be sentient beings who hear this sutra and have faith in it, understand, receive and retain it, such people would be most rare.

And why? Such people will have no notion of a self, nor notion of a person, nor notion of a sentient being, nor notion of a life span. Why is that? The notion of a self is no notion, and the notion of a person, a sentient being, or a life span is also no notion. And why? Because the one who is free of all marks is called a ‘Buddha’.

The Buddha said to Subhuti: So it is, so it is. If anyone else, upon hearing this sutra, should not be astonished, nor be terrified or frightened, you should know that such a person would be very rare.

And why? Subhuti, the foremost Paramita taught by the Tathagata is not foremost Paramita; only the name is foremost Paramita. Subhuti, the Paramita of Patience (Ksanti Paramita) taught by the Tathagata is also not Paramita of Patience; therefore it is called Paramita of Patience. And why? Subhuti, in the remote past when my body was dismembered by King Kalinga (Kaliraja), at that time I had no notion of a self, nor notion of a person, nor notion of a sentient being, nor notion of a life span.

And why? When my limbs had been cut to pieces, if I had had the notion of a self, the notion of a person, the notion of a sentient being, or the notion of a life span, I would have raged and harbored a grudge against him at that time.

Subhuti, further I recall that in the past for five hundred lifetimes I lived the life of a sage devoted to patience (Ksantivadi or Ksantivadin). Then also, I had no notion of a self, nor notion of a person, nor notion of a sentient being, nor notion of a life span.

Therefore, Subhuti, a Bodhisattva, after he has freed himself from all marks, should awaken the mind of Anuttara-samyak-sambodhi. He should produce the mind without abiding in forms, and without abiding in sounds, smells, tastes, touches, or dharmas should he produce the mind. He should produce the mind without abiding anywhere.

If the mind abides anywhere, it is no (right) abiding. That is why the Buddha teaches that a Bodhisattva’s mind should, without abiding in form, practice charity. Subhuti, all Bodhisattvas should thus practice charity for the welfare of all sentient beings.

All marks taught by the Tathagata are no marks, and all sentient beings taught by Him are also no sentient beings. Subhuti, the Tathagata is One who speaks the truth, who speaks the real, who speaks what is thus, who does not speak a falsehood, and who does not speak otherwise. Subhuti, the dharma obtained by the Tathagata is neither real nor unreal.

Subhuti, if a Bodhisattva practices charity with a mind abiding in the dharma, he is like a person entering the darkness in which anything cannot be seen, but if a Bodhisattva practices charity with a mind not abiding in the dharma, he is like a person with eyes, who can see all various forms in the bright sunlight.

Subhuti, if in the future ages, good men or good women were able to receive, retain, read and recite this sutra, the Tathagata would fully know and fully see them with His Buddha-wisdom; they all would achieve immeasurable and unbounded meritorious virtue.


15. The Meritorious Virtue of Retaining the Sutra

Subhuti, if there were a good man or good woman who, in the morning, would practice charity in so many bodies as the number of grains of sand in the river Ganges, and who, again at noon, would practice charity in so many bodies as the number of grains of sand in the river Ganges, and who, also in the evening, would practice charity in so many bodies as the number of grains of sand in the river Ganges, and who would thus practice charity in so many bodies for immeasurable hundreds of thousands of ten thousands of hundred millions of Kalpas; and if there were someone else who, upon hearing this sutra, would not reject it with a faithful mind, then his blessing would by far surpass that of the former; how much more so the person who would write this sutra and receive, retain, read, recite and illuminate it in full detail for others!

Subhuti, summarily speaking, the meritorious virtue of this sutra is unthinkable, unutterable, immeasurable and unbounded. It is taught by the Tathagata for those who have awakened the Mahayana, and for those who have awakened the Supreme Vehicle.

If some people would be able to receive this sutra and retain, read, recite and widely illuminate it for others, they would be fully known and fully seen by the Tathagata; they all would be blest with a heap of meritorious virtues immeasurable, incalculable, unbounded, inconceivable and inexpressible. These people are equivalent in carrying the Tathagata’s Anuttara-samyak-sambodhi on their backs.

And why? Subhuti, those who take delight in inferior dharmas are attached to the view of a self, the view of a person, the view of a sentient being and the view of a life span, so that they are unable to hear of this sutra and receive, read, recite and illuminate it for others.

Subhuti, wherever this sutra is kept, the place will be made offerings by the whole realms of Heavens, men and Asuras. It should be known that such a place is equivalent to the Buddha’s Stupa, where all should obeisantly bow and circumambulate while offering all kinds of flowers and burning incense.


16. Karmic Hindrance can be Purified

Moreover, Subhuti, if good men or good women who receive this sutra and retain, read and recite it were to be disdained by others, these persons should fall into the evil paths as a matter of course due to the sinful karma of their previous lives, but through being disdained by others in the present life, the sinful karma of their previous lives would be expiated and they should attain the Anuttara-samyak-sambodhi.

Subhuti, I recall that in the past period of incalculable Asamkhyeya Kalpas prior to the time of the Buddha Dipankara, I had met with 84.000 millions of milliards of Nayutas of all Buddhas, and made offerings by devout service to them all without estranging myself even for a while from them.

Now if in the end of the world, in the last five hundred years, there should be someone else who could receive this sutra and retain, read and recite it, the meritorious virtue I gained from making offerings to all those Buddhas in the past period – compared with the meritorious virtue of this person – could neither come up to one hundredth part, nor one thousandth, one ten-thousandth, one hundred-millionth part and so on; it cannot be in the least compared to his meritorious virtue by any arithmetic.

Subhuti, if I should explain in full detail the meritorious virtue of a good man or good woman who, in the end of the world, in the last five hundred years, would receive this sutra and retain, read and recite it, some people, upon hearing it, would become very disordered in mind and would be doubtful and unbelieving.

You should know, Subhuti, that the meaning of this sutra is inconceivable and so is the fruit of its reward.


17. No Self in the Ultimate

Then Subhuti said to the Buddha: How, World-Honored One, should good men or good women who have awakened the mind of Anuttara-samyak-sambodhi abide, and how should they subdue their minds?

The Buddha said to Subhuti: If good men or good women be those who have awakened the mind of Anuttara-samyak-sambodhi, thus should they produce their minds: All sentient beings will I lead into Nirvana; even though all sentient beings have thus been led into Nirvana, there is no sentient being who has really been led into Nirvana.

And why? Subhuti, if a Bodhisattva has the notion of a self, the notion of a person, the notion of a sentient being, or the notion of a life span, he is not a Bodhisattva. Why is that? Subhuti, it is because there is really no dharma by which the mind of Anuttara-samyak-sambodhi is awakened.

Subhuti, what do you think, was there any dharma by which the Tathagata, when He was with the Buddha Dipankara, attained the Anuttara-samyak-sambodhi? No, indeed, World- Honored One. As I understand the meaning of what the Buddha has said, there was not any dharma by which the Tathagata, when He was with the Buddha Dipankara, attained the Anuttara-samyak-sambodhi.

The Buddha said: So it is, so it is, Subhuti. There was really not any dharma by which the Tathagata attained the Anuttara-samyak-sambodhi. Subhuti, if there had been any dharma by which the Tathagata attained the Anuttara-samyak-sambodhi, the Buddha Dipankara would not have given me the prediction, saying, „You will be in a future period a Buddha, by the name of Shakyamuni“; but because there was really no dharma by which the Anuttara-samyak-sambodhi had been attained, the Buddha Dipankara gave me the prediction, saying, „You will be in a future period a Buddha, by the name of Shakyamuni.“ And why? Because „Tathagata“ means „the thusness of all dharmas“.

Even if anyone would say that the Tathagata attained the Anuttara-samyak-sambodhi, Subhuti, there would not be really any dharma by which the Buddha attained the Anuttara-samyak-sambodhi. Subhuti, the Anuttara-samyak-sambodhi that the Tathagata has attained is neither real nor unreal.

This is why the Tathagata says that all dharmas are Buddha-dharmas. Subhuti, the so-called all dharmas are not all dharmas. Therefore they are called all dharmas.

Subhuti, figuratively speaking, it is just as the huge body of a man. Subhuti said: World-Honored One, the huge body of a man spoken of by the Tathagata is not a huge body. Only its name is a huge body.

Subhuti, the same is also true of a Bodhisattva. If a Bodhisattva should say, “I will emancipate innumerable sentient beings”, then he could not be called a Bodhisattva. And why? Because, Subhuti, the one who has really no dharma is called a Bodhisattva. Therefore all dharmas taught by the Buddha have neither a self, nor a person, nor a sentient being, nor a life span.

Subhuti, if a Bodhisattva says: „I will adorn Buddha-lands“, he cannot be called a Bodhisattva. And why? It is because the adornment of Buddha-lands taught by the Tathagata is not adornment of Buddha-lands. Therefore it is called adornment of Buddha-lands.

Subhuti, if a Bodhisattva be one who has a thorough knowledge of the dharma of no self, the Tathagata will call him an authentic Bodhisattva.


18. Identical Views of the Whole

What do you think, Subhuti, does the Tathagata possess the physical eye?
So it is, World-Honored One. The Tathagata possesses the physical eye.

What do you think, Subhuti, does the Tathagata possess the deva-eye?
So it is, World-Honored One. The Tathagata possesses the deva-eye.

What do you think, Subhuti, does the Tathagata possess the prajna-eye?
So it is, World-Honored One. The Tathagata possesses the prajna-eye.

What do you think, Subhuti, does the Tathagata possess the dharma-eye?
So it is, World-Honored One. The Tathagata possesses the dharma-eye.

What do you think, Subhuti, does the Tathagata possess the Buddha-eye?
So it is, World-Honored One. The Tathagata possesses the Buddha-eye.

What do you think, Subhuti, has the Tathagata made mention of the sand in the river Ganges?
So it is, World-Honored One. The Tathagata has made mention of the sand in the river Ganges.

Subhuti, what do you think? If there were the rivers Ganges as numberless as the grains of sand in one river Ganges, and if there were as many Buddha-realms as the grains of sand in all those rivers Ganges, would all those Buddha-realms be many?

So many indeed, World-Honored One.

The Buddha said to Subhuti: All the various minds which occur to all sentient beings in all those Buddha-realms are fully known by the Tathagata. And why? All the minds taught by the Tathagata are not minds; therefore they are called the minds.

Why is that? Because, Subhuti, the past mind cannot be grasped at, neither can the present mind be grasped at, nor can the future mind be grasped at.


19. Penetration of The Dharma-Realms

What do you think, Subhuti, if anyone had filled the Three-thousand Great-thousand World-systems with the seven precious things, and then gave them all away as charity, would he on the strength of that obtain a heap of blessings?

So it is, World-Honored One. That person would on the strength of that obtain a great heap of blessings.

Subhuti, if there were actually blessed virtues, the Tathagata would not speak of obtaining a heap of blessed virtues. But because blessed virtues do not exist, the Tathagata speaks of obtaining a heap of blessed virtues.


20. Apart from either Form-Body or Mark

What do you think, Subhuti, can the Buddha be seen by means of the perfection of His form-body?

No, World-Honored One. The Tathagata cannot be seen by means of the perfection of His form-body. And why? The perfection of form-body taught by the Tathagata is not the perfection of form-body. Therefore it is called the perfection of form-body.

What do you think, Subhuti, can the Tathagata be seen in the perfection of all marks?

No, World-Honored One, the Tathagata cannot be seen in the perfection of all marks. And why? The perfection of all marks taught by the Tathagata is not the perfection of all marks. Therefore it is called the perfection of all marks.


21. The Teaching of Not-Teaching

Subhuti, do not say that the Tathagata conceives the thought, „There are the dharmas that I have taught“. Do not have such a thought. And why? Because if someone should say that the Tathagata has taught the dharma, he would be to slander the Buddha due to his inability to understand what I have said. Subhuti, the teaching of dharma means that there is no dharma which can be taught. Therefore it is called the teaching of dharma.

Then, the Wise Subhuti said to the Buddha: World-Honored One, will there be any sentient beings in the age of the future who, upon hearing this discourse on dharma, will have a faith to it?

The Buddha said: Subhuti, those are neither sentient beings nor non-sentient beings. And why? Subhuti, though they are called ‘sentient beings’, ‘sentient beings’, yet as non-sentient beings are they taught by the Tathagata. Therefore they are called sentient beings.


22. No Dharma can be Attained

Subhuti said to the Buddha: World-Honored One, are there not any attainments by which the Buddha has attained the Anuttara-samyak-sambodhi?

The Buddha said: So it is, so it is, Subhuti. So far as the Anuttara-samyak-sambodhi is concerned, I have not gained even the least dharma. Therefore it is called the Anuttara-samyak-sambodhi.


23. The Pure Mind is Good Conduct

Furthermore, Subhuti, this dharma is impartial and equal, and it is neither high nor low. Therefore it is called the Anuttara-samyak-sambodhi.

By cultivating all good dharmas with no self, no person, no sentient being or no life span should the Anuttara-samyak-sambodhi be attained. Subhuti, as not good dharmas are the so-called good dharmas taught by the Tathagata. Therefore they are called good dharmas.


24. Incomparability of Blessing and Wisdom

Subhuti, if someone should give away as an act of charity the piles of the seven precious things equivalent to the bulk of all the Mt. Sumerus, Kings of Mountains in the Three-thousand Great-thousand World-systems; and if someone else should take up from this Prajnaparamita-Sutra but one stanza of four lines, and retain, read, recite and illuminate it for others, the former blessed virtue could neither come up to one hundredth part of the latter, nor could it come up to one thousandth, one ten-thousandth and one hundred-millionth part, nor could it be in the least compared with the latter by any arithmetic.


25. The Illumination Without Illuminating

What do you think, Subhuti, you should not say that the Tathagata has this thought: „I should save sentient beings.“ Subhuti, you should have no such a thought. And why? Because there are really no sentient beings that should be saved by the Tathagata. If there were any sentient beings who should be saved by the Tathagata, then the Tathagata would have a self, a person, a sentient being and a life span.

Subhuti, the existence of a self taught by the Tathagata is no existence of a self, but the common people take it that there is a self. Subhuti, as no common people have the common people also been taught by the Tathagata. Therefore they are called common people.

26. The Dharma Body Is no Mark

What do you think, Subhuti, can the Tathagata be perceived by means of the thirty-two marks?

Subhuti said: So it is, so it is. The Tathagata can be perceived by means of the thirty-two marks.

The Buddha said to Subhuti: If the Tathagata could be perceived by means of the thirty-two marks, would the Cakravartin (Cakravarti-raja) also be the Tathagata?

Subhuti said to the Buddha: World-Honored One, as I understand the meaning of what the Buddha has said, the Tathagata cannot be perceived by the thirty two-marks.

Then the World-Honored One uttered the following gatha:

If anyone by form sees me,
And by sound seeks me,
This person practices a wrong path,
And cannot see the Tathagata.

27. No End, nor Annihilation

Subhuti, you may have the thought that the Tathagata, without relying on the perfection of marks, has attained the Anuttara-samyak-sambodhi. Subhuti, you should not have the thought that the Tathagata, without relying on the perfection of marks, has attained the Anuttara-samyak-sambodhi.

Subhuti, if you have the thought that one who has attained the Anuttara-samyak-sambodhi advocates the annihilation of all dharmas, do not have such a thought. And why? Because one who has attained the Anuttara-samyak-sambodhi does not advocate the annihilation of marks of all dharmas.


28. No Reception, nor Attachment

Subhuti, if a Bodhisattva had filled with the seven precious things the worlds as numberless as the grains of sand in the river Ganges and were to give them all away as charity, and another person were aware that all dharmas were selfless, and thereby attained the perfection of patience, the meritorious virtues gained by this Bodhisattva would by far exceed that of the former Bodhisattva. And why? Subhuti, it is because all Bodhisattvas do not receive blessed virtues.

Subhuti said to the Buddha: World-Honored One, how is it that the Bodhisattvas do not receive blessed virtues?

Subhuti, the Bodhisattvas should not be fettered with avarice for the blessed virtues which they produced. Therefore it is taught not to receive blessed virtues.


29. Tranquil Calmness of Dignity

Subhuti, if anyone says that the Tathagata comes or goes, sits, or lies down, he does not understand the meaning of my teaching.

And why? Because the Tathagta has not come from anywhere, nor has he gone anywhere. Therefore He is called the Tathagata.

30. The Mind and Mark Are Just One

Subhuti, if a good man or good woman were to grind the Three-thousand Great-thousand World-systems into particles of dust, what do you think, would all those particles of dust be many?

Subhuti said: So many, World-Honored One. And why? If all such particles of dust were a real existence, the Buddha would not call them particles of dust. Why is that? The particles of dust called by the Buddha are not particles of dust. Therefore they are called particles of dust.

World-Honored One, the Three-thousand Great-thousand World-systems called by the Tathagata also are not world-systems. Therefore they are called world-systems.

And why? If these worlds really existed, they should be composed of ‘a single conglomeration of mark’. A single conglomeration of mark called by the Tathagata is not ‘a single conglomeration of mark’. Therefore it is called ‘a single conglomeration of mark’.

Subhuti, ‘a single conglomeration of mark’ is beyond words, but only the common people have avaricious adherence to it.


31. Not-Appearing of Knowledgeable Views

Subhuti, if someone would say that the Buddha spoke of the view of a self, the view of a person, the view of a sentient being and the view of a life span, what do you think, would he understand the meaning of what I have said?

No indeed, World-Honored One. That person has not understood the meaning of what the Tathagata has said. And why? What the World-Honored One speaks of the view of a self, the view of a person, the view of a sentient being and the view of a life span is not actually the view of a self, the view of a person, the view of a sentient being and the view of a life span; therefore they are called the view of a self, the view of a person, the view of a sentient being and the view of a life span.

Subhuti, those who have awakened the mind of Anuttara-samyak-sambodhi should thus know all dharmas, should thus view them and should thus believe and understand them, so that they should not produce the notion of a dharma.

Subhuti, as no notion of a dharma is the so-called notion of a dharma also taught by the Tathagata. Therefore it is called the notion of a dharma.


32. The Unreality of  Transformations

Subhuti, if someone had filled with the seven precious things the immeasurable Asamkhya of worlds, and wereto give them away as charity, – and if, on the other hand, a good man or good woman who has awakened the Bodhisattva-mind, after taking up this sutra, were to receive from it but one stanza of four lines and retain, read, recite, and illuminate it for others, the latter’s blessing would by far exceed that of the former.

How should it be illuminated for others?

Without being captivated by any marks, thus and only thus, remain unmoved.

Why is it? Because:

All conditioned dharmas are like
A dream, an illusion, a bubble, and a shadow.
They are like dew and also like lightning.
Thus should they be meditated on.

When the Buddha had finished delivering this sutra, the Venerable Subhuti, the Bhikshus and Bhikshunis, laymen and laywomen, and the whole realms of Heavens, men, and Asuras – they all, upon hearing the Buddha’s teaching, had faith in it with great joy, bore it in mind and practiced it in high reverence.

The Vajra Prajnaparamita Sutra 

– END –

International-Zen-Temple | Oranienstraße 22 | 10999 Berlin | Germany ^ TOP