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
Buddhism. Perfection of Wisdom in Eight Thousand Lines
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.
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,
Buddhism. Heart Sutra
Vimalakirti, "Manjusri, all worlds are empty."
Buddhism. Holy Teaching of Vimalakirti 5
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
What is never cast off, seized, interrupted, constant,
extinguished, and produced--this is called Nirvana.
Buddhism. Nagarjuna, Mulamadhyamaka Karika 25
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
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
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
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.
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
Buddhism. Holy Teaching of Vimalakirti 12
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....
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
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
Buddhism. Diamond Sutra 29
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. Lotus Sutra 16
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.
By detachment from appearances, abide in Real Truth. So I
tell you, Thus shall you think of all this fleeting world,
Buddhism. Diamond Sutra 32
A star at dawn, a bubble in a stream;
A flash of lightning in a summer cloud,
A flickering lamp, a phantom, a dream.
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.
Buddhism. Mahaparinirvana Sutra 259
Such a Buddha Nature is long overshadowed by illusion.
That is why beings cannot see.
The Buddha Nature is Compassion.
Compassion is the Tathagata.
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
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
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