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Buddhism: various quotes from Buddha and other Buddhist masters

There is, monks, a condition where there is neither the element of extension, the element of cohesion, the element of heat, nor the element of motion, nor the sphere of the infinity of space, nor the sphere of the infinity of consciousness, nor the sphere of nothingness, nor the sphere of neither-perception-nor-non-perception; neither this world, nor a world beyond, nor sun and moon.

There, monks, I say, there is neither coming nor going nor staying nor passing away nor arising. Without support or mobility or basis is it. This is indeed the end of suffering.

That which is Selfless, hard it is to see;
Not easy is it to perceive the Truth.
But who has ended craving utterly
Has naught to cling to, he alone can see.

There is, monks, an unborn, a not-become, a not-made, a not-compounded. If, monks, there were not this unborn, not-become, not-made, not-compounded, there would not here be an escape from the born, the become, the made, the compounded. But because there is an unborn, a not-become, a not-made, a not-compounded, therefore there is an escape from the born, the become, the made, the compounded.

Buddhism. Udana 80, Pataligama


When appearances and names are put away and all discrimination ceases, that which remains is the true and essential nature of things and, as nothing can be predicated as to the nature of essence, is called the "Suchness" of Reality. This universal, undifferentiated, inscrutable Suchness is the only Reality, but it is variously characterized as Truth, Mind-essence, Transcendental Intelligence, Perfection of Wisdom, etc. This Dharma of the imagelessness of the Essence-nature of Ultimate Reality is the Dharma which has been proclaimed by all the Buddhas, and when all things are understood in full agreement with it, one is in possession of Perfect Knowledge.
Buddhism. Lankavatara Sutra

Tathagatas certainly do not come from anywhere, nor do they go anywhere. Because Suchness does not move, and the Tathagata is Suchness. Non-production does not come nor go, and the Tathagata is non-production. One cannot conceive of the coming or going of the reality-limit, and the Tathagata is the reality-limit. The same can be said of emptiness, of what exists in accordance with fact, of dispassion, of stopping, of the element of space. For the Tathagata is not outside these dharmas. The Suchness of these dharmas and the Suchness of all dharmas and the Suchness of the Tathagata are simply this one single Suchness. There is no division within Suchness. Just simply one single is this Suchness, not two, nor three.

Buddhism. Perfection of Wisdom in Eight Thousand Lines 31.1

At this time the World-honored One serenely arose from meditation and addressed Shariputra, "The wisdom of all the Buddhas is infinitely profound and immeasurable. The portal to this wisdom is difficult to understand and difficult to enter. Neither men of learning nor men of realization are able to comprehend it."

Buddhism. Lotus Sutra 2


The capacity of the mind is as great as that of space. It is infinite, neither round nor square, neither great nor small, neither green nor yellow, neither red nor white, neither above nor below, neither long nor short, neither angry nor happy, neither right nor wrong, neither good nor evil, neither first nor last. All universes are as void as space. Intrinsically our transcendental nature is void and not a single thing can be attained. It is the same with the Essence of Mind, which is a state of Absolute Void.

Buddhism. Sutra of Hui Neng 2


Here, O Shariputra, form is emptiness, and the very emptiness is form; emptiness does not differ from form, form does not differ from emptiness; whatever is form, that is emptiness, whatever is emptiness, that is form. The same is true of feelings, perceptions, impulses, consciousness.

Buddhism. Heart Sutra


Vimalakirti, "Manjusri, all worlds are empty."
Manjusri, "What makes them empty?"
"They are empty because [their ultimate reality is] emptiness."
"What is 'empty' about emptiness?"
"Constructions are empty, because of emptiness."
"Can emptiness be conceptually constructed?"
"Even that concept is itself empty, and emptiness cannot construct emptiness."

Buddhism. Holy Teaching of Vimalakirti 5


What is never cast off, seized, interrupted, constant, extinguished, and produced--this is called Nirvana.
Indeed, Nirvana is not strictly in the nature of ordinary existence for, if it were, there would wrongly follow the characteristics of old age and death. For, such an existence cannot be without those characteristics.
If Nirvana is strictly in the nature of ordinary existence, it would be of the created realm. For, no ordinary existence of the uncreated realm ever exists anywhere at all.
If Nirvana is strictly in the nature of ordinary existence, why is it non-appropriating? For, no ordinary existence that is non-appropriating ever exists.
If Nirvana is not strictly in the nature of ordinary existence, how could what is in the nature of non-existence be Nirvana? Where there is no existence, equally so, there can be no non-existence.
If Nirvana is in the nature of non-existence, why is it non-appropriating? For, indeed, a non-appropriating non-existence does not prevail.
The status of the birth-death cycle is due to existential grasping [of the skandhas] and relational condition [of the being]. That which is non-grasping and non-relational is taught as Nirvana.
The Teacher has taught the abandonment of the concepts of being and non-being. Therefore, Nirvana is properly neither [in the realm of] existence nor non-existence.
If Nirvana is [in the realm of] both existence and non-existence, then liberation will also be both. But that is not proper.
If Nirvana is [in the realm of] both existence and non-existence, it will not be non-appropriating. For, both realms are always in the process of appropriating.
How could Nirvana be [in the realm of] both existence and non-existence? Nirvana is of the uncreated realm while existence and non-existence are of the created realm.
How could Nirvana be [in the realm of] both existence and non-existence? Both cannot be together in one place just as the situation is with light and darkness.
The proposition that Nirvana is neither existence nor non-existence could only be valid if and when the realms of existence and non-existence are established.
If indeed Nirvana is asserted to be neither existence nor non-existence, then by what means are the assertions to be known?
It cannot be said that the Blessed One exists after nirodha (release from worldly desires). Nor can it be said that He does not exist after nirodha, or both, or neither.
It cannot be said that the Blessed One even exists in the present living process. Nor can it be said that He does not exist in the present living process, or both, or neither.
Samsara (the empirical life-death cycle) is nothing essentially different from Nirvana. Nirvana is nothing essentially different from Samsara.
The limits of Nirvana are the limits of Samsara. Between the two, also, there is not the slightest difference whatsoever.
The various views concerning the status of life after nirodha, the limits of the world, the concept of permanence, etc., are all based on [such concepts as] Nirvana, posterior and anterior states of existence.
Since all factors of existence are in the nature of Emptiness (sunya), why assert the finite, the infinite, both finite and Infinite, and neither finite nor infinite?
Why assert the identity, difference, permanence, impermanence, both permanence and impermanence, or neither permanence nor impermanence?
All acquisitions [i.e., grasping] as well as play of concepts [i.e., symbolic representation] are basically in the nature of cessation and quiescence. Any factor of experience with regards to anyone at any place was never taught by the Buddha.

Buddhism. Nagarjuna, Mulamadhyamaka Karika 25


Buddha abides in the infinite, the unobstructed, ultimate realm of reality, in the realm of space, in the essence of True Thusness, without birth or death, and in ultimate truth, appearing to sentient beings according to the time, sustained by past vows, without ever ceasing, not abandoning all beings, all lands, all phenomena....

How should enlightening beings see the body of Buddha? (Dharmakaya) They should see the body of Buddha in infinite places. Why? They should not see Buddha in just one thing, one phenomenon, one body, one land, one being--they should see Buddha everywhere. Just as space is omnipresent, in all places, material or immaterial, yet without either arriving or not arriving there, because space is incorporeal, in the same way Buddha is omnipresent, in all places, in all beings, in all things, in all lands, yet neither arriving nor not arriving there, because Buddha's body is incorporeal, manifesting a body for the sake of sentient beings.

Buddhism. Garland Sutra 37

The Tathagata... is the essence which is the reality of matter, but he is not matter. He is the essence which is the reality of sensation, but he is not sensation. He is the essence which is the reality of intellect, but he is not intellect. He is the essence which is the reality of motivation, but he is not motivation. He is the essence which is the reality of consciousness, yet he is not consciousness. Like the element of space, he does not abide in any of the four elements. Transcending the scope of eye, ear, nose, tongue, body, and mind, he is not produced in the six sense media... He abides in ultimate reality, yet there is no relationship between it and him. He is not produced from causes, nor does he depend on conditions. He is not without any characteristic, nor has he any characteristic. He has no single nature nor a diversity of natures. He is not a conception, not a mental construction, nor is he a nonconception. He is neither the other shore, nor this shore, nor that between. He is neither here, nor there, nor anywhere else....

Buddhism. Holy Teaching of Vimalakirti 12


Then the Buddha, wishing to enable all the enlightening beings to realize the spiritual power of the boundless realm of the Enlightened One, emitted a light from between his brows. That light was called the Treasury of the Light of Knowledge of All Enlightening Beings Illuminating the Ten Directions. Its form was like a cloud of lamps with jewellike light. It shone throughout all buddha fields in the ten directions, revealing all the lands and beings therein. It also caused all networks of worlds to tremble. In every single atom it revealed innumerable Buddhas showering the teachings of all the Buddhas of all times, in accord with the differences in character and inclination of the various sentient beings. It clearly showed the Buddha's ocean of transcendent ways, and also rained infinite clouds of various emancipations, causing the sentient beings to forever cross over birth and death. It also showered clouds of the great vows of t he Buddhas, and clearly showed, in all worlds in the ten directions, the universally good enlightening beings' congregations at the sites of enlightenment. Having done all this, the light swirled around the Buddha, circling to the right, then went in under his feet.

Buddhism. Garland Sutra 2


Within our Essence of Mind the Trikaya (Three Bodies) of Buddha are to be found, and they are common to everybody. Because the mind labors under delusions, he knows not his own inner nature; and the result is that he ignores the Trikaya within himself, erroneously believing that they are to be sought from without. Within yourself you will find the Trikaya which, being the manifestation of the Essence of Mind, are not to be sought from without.

Buddhism. Sutra of Hui Neng 6


Daibai asked Baso, "What is Buddha?" Baso answered, "This very mind is the Buddha."

Buddhism. Mumonkan 30


Lord, the Tathagatagarbha is not born, does not die, does not pass away to become reborn. The Tathagatagarbha excludes the realm with the characteristic of the constructed. The Tathagatagarbha is permanent, steadfast, eternal. Therefore the Tathagatagarbha is the support, the holder, the base of constructed [Buddha natures] that are nondiscrete, not dissociated, and knowing as liberated from the stores of defilement; and furthermore is the support, the holder, the base of external constructed natures that are discrete, dissociated, and knowing as not liberated.

Lord, if there were no Tathagatagarbha, there would be neither aversion towards suffering nor longing, eagerness, and aspiration towards Nirvana. What is the reason? Whatever be these six perceptions [i.e., the five senses plus the mind], and whatever be this other perception [perhaps intellectual cognition?], these seven natures are unfixed, momentary, and lack experience of suffering; hence these natures are unfit for aversion towards suffering or for longing, eagerness, and aspiration towards Nirvana. Lord, the Tathagatagarbha has ultimate existence without beginning or end, has an unborn and undying nature, and experiences suffering; hence it is worthy of the Tathagatagarbha to have aversion towards suffering as well as longing, eagerness, and aspiration towards Nirvana. Lord, the Tathagatagarbha is neither self nor sentient being, nor soul, nor personality.... Lord, this Tathagatagarbha is the embryo of the illustrious Dharmadhatu, the embryo of the Dharmakaya, the embryo of the supramundane Doctrine, the embryo of the intrinsically pure Doctrine.

Buddhism. Lion's Roar of Queen Srimala 13


Nothing can ever destroy the Buddha Nature. The nature of self is nothing but the undisclosed storehouse of the Tathagata. Such a storehouse can never be broken, put to fire, or plundered. Though it is not possible to destroy or see it, one can know it when one attains the unsurpassed enlightenment.

Buddhism. Mahaparinirvana Sutra 220


The Dharmadhatu (Absolute Truth) abides forever, whether the Tathagata appears in the world or not.

Buddhism. Lankavatara Sutra 61

Subhuti, if anyone should say that the Tathagata comes or goes or sits or reclines, he fails to understand my teaching. Why? Because "Thus Gone" (Tathagata) has neither whence nor whither, and therefore He is called "Tathagata."

Buddhism. Diamond Sutra 29

Listen each of you to the secret, mysterious, and supernatural power of the Thus Come One. All the worlds of gods, men, and demons declare, "Now has Sakyamuni Buddha, coming forth from the palace of the Sakya clan, and seated at the place of enlightenment, not far from the city of Gaya, attained to Perfect Enlightenment." But, good sons, since in fact I became Buddha, there have passed infinite, boundless, hundreds, thousands, myriads, millions, trillions of eons.... From that time forward I have constantly been preaching and teaching in this universe, and also leading and benefiting the living in other places in hundreds, thousands, myriads, millions, trillions of numberless domains.

Buddhism. Lotus Sutra 16


By detachment from appearances, abide in Real Truth. So I tell you, Thus shall you think of all this fleeting world,
A star at dawn, a bubble in a stream;
A flash of lightning in a summer cloud,
A flickering lamp, a phantom, a dream.

Buddhism. Diamond Sutra 32


In the world, inclusive of its gods, substance is seen in what is insubstantial. They are tied to their psychophysical beings and so they think that there is some substance, some reality in them.

But whatever be the phenomenon through which they think of seeking their self-identity, it turns out to be transitory. It becomes false, for what lasts for a moment is deceptive.

The state that is not deceptive is Nibbana: that is what the men of worth know as being real. With this insight into reality their hunger ends: cessation, total calm.

Buddhism. Sutta Nipata 756-58


The Great Compassionate Heart is the essence of Buddhahood.

Buddhism. Gandavyuha Sutra


O good man! One who acts good is the "true thinking."
The true thinking is compassion.
Compassion is the Tathagata.

O good man! Compassion is the bodhi path;
The bodhi path is the Tathagata.
The Tathagata is compassion.

O good man! Compassion is Great Brahma.
Great Brahma is compassion.
Compassion is the Tathagata.

O good man! Compassion acts as parent to all beings.
The parent is compassion.
Know that compassion is the Tathagata.

O good man! Compassion is the Buddha Nature of all beings.
Such a Buddha Nature is long overshadowed by illusion.
That is why beings cannot see.
The Buddha Nature is Compassion.
Compassion is the Tathagata.

Buddhism. Mahaparinirvana Sutra 259


Know, Kashyapa!
It is like unto a great cloud
Rising above the world,
Covering all things everywhere,
A gracious cloud full of moisture;
Lightning-flames flash and dazzle,
Voice of thunder vibrates afar,
Bringing joy and ease to all.
The sun's rays are veiled,
And the earth is cooled;
The cloud lowers and spreads
As if it might be caught and gathered;
Its rain everywhere equally
Descends on all sides,
Streaming and pouring unstinted,
Permeating the land.
On mountains, by rivers, in valleys,
In hidden recesses, there grow
The plants, trees, and herbs;
Trees, both great and small,
The shoots of the ripening grain,
Grape vine and sugar cane.
Fertilized are these by the rain
And abundantly enriched;
The dry ground is soaked,
Herbs and trees flourish together.
From the one water which
Issued from that cloud,
Plants, trees, thickets, forests,
According to their need receive moisture.
All the various trees,
Lofty, medium, low,
Each according to its size,
Grows and develops
Roots, stalks, branches, leaves,
Blossoms and fruits in their brilliant colors;
Wherever the one rain reaches,
All become fresh and glossy.
According as their bodies, forms
And natures are great or small,
So the enriching rain,
Though it is one and the same,
Yet makes each of them flourish.

In like manner also the Buddha
Appears here in the world,
Like unto a great cloud
Universally covering all things;
And having appeared in the world,
He, for the sake of the living,
Discriminates and proclaims
The truth in regard to all laws.
The Great Holy World-honored One,
Among the gods and men
And among the other beings,
Proclaims abroad this word:
"I am the Tathagata,
The Most Honored among men;
I appear in the world
Like unto this great cloud,
To pour enrichment on all
Parched living beings,
To free them from their misery
To attain the joy of peace,
Joy of the present world,
And joy of Nirvana....

Upon all I ever look
Everywhere impartially,
Without distinction of persons,
Or mind of love or hate.
I have no predilections
Nor any limitations;
Ever to all beings
I preach the Law equally;
As I preach to one person,
So I preach to all.
Ever I proclaim the Law,
Engaged in naught else;
Going, coming, sitting, standing,
Never am I weary of
Pouring it copious on the world,
Like the all-enriching rain.
On honored and humble, high and low,
Law-keepers and law-breakers,
Those of perfect character,
And those of imperfect,
Orthodox and heterodox,
Quick-witted and dull-witted,
Equally I rain the Law-rain

Buddhism. Lotus Sutra 5





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