Nirvana Sutra

Appreciation of the "Mahayana Mahaparinirvana Sutra"

The "Nirvana Sutra" Continued (Z11)

Chapter Forty-Three: On Bodhisattva Kasyapa (d)

 [The Buddha said:] "O good man! A person who does not know defilement, the cause of defilement, the result of defilement, the lightness and heaviness of defilement, and who does not practise the Way is a common mortal. So, the material form of the common mortal is non-eternal, and all such as [his] feeling, perception, and consciousness are non-eternal.

"O good man! The wise of the world, all holy persons, the Bodhisattvas, and all Buddhas speak of these two significations. I, too, speak thus. That is why I say: "I do not quarrel with the wise of the world. I am not made wet and defiled by what obtains in the world."

Bodhisattva Kasyapa said to the Buddha: "O World-Honoured One! The Buddha speaks about the defilements of the three existences. What are the defilements of desire, existence, and ignorance?"

The Buddha said: "O good man! We speak of the defilement of desire, which is the defilement of desire that comes about due to the internal sensing  of evil which raises its head, initiated by external causal relations. That is why, in days past, at Rajagriha, I said to Ananda: "Accept now the gatha [verse] which the woman speaks. This gatha is what the Buddhas of the past spoke. For this reason, I say that the sensing of evil within and the causal relations that work upon one from without are desire. This is the defilement of desire."

"The defilements are all those evil things that are mental in the worlds of form and non-form and the causal relations that work upon one from without, excepting all the causal relations that work upon one from without and the mental sensings of the world of desire. We call these defilements.

"We speak of the defilements of illusion. When one does not know one's own self and what belongs to self, and when one fails to see the difference between things in and out, we say that there are the defilements of ignorance.

"O good man! Ignorance is the root of all defilements. Why? All beings, due to the causal relations of ignorance, call forth all imaginings and forms in the field of the five skandhas, the 12 spheres, and the 18 realms [of sense]. These are inverted notions as regards image, mind, and world-view. From these, all defilements arise. Therefore, I state in the 12 types of sutra: "Ignorance is the cause of greed, the cause of ill-will, and the cause of ignorance."

Bodhisattva Kasyapa said: "O World-Honoured One! The Tathagata once said in the 12 types of sutra: "The causal relations of thinking of non-good things evokes greed, ill-will, and ignorance." Why do you now say "ignorance"?

"O good man! Such things become the cause and the result to one another and grow. The thinking of non-good calls forth ignorance, and the causal relation of ignorance calls forth the thinking of non-good. O good man! All that increases illusions is the causal relation of illusions. Any action that befriends the causal relation of illusion is called the non-good thinking of ignorance. A seed calls forth a bud. This seed is the near cause; the four great elements are the far cause. The same is the case with illusion."

Bodhisattva Kasyapa said to the Buddha: "You the Buddha say that ignorance is a defilement. How can you say that ignorance calls forth all defilements?"

The Buddha said: "O good man! I speak of the defilements of ignorance. This refers to internal ignorance. If all defilements come about from ignorance, this is nothing but the cause of "in" and "out". If ignorance is a defilement, this is an internal inversion, which relates to the ignorance of the non-eternal, suffering, voidness, and the non-Self. If ignorance is stated to be the causal relation of all illusions, this will mean that one does not know the self and what belongs to the self, which concern the outer relations. If reference is made to the defilements of ignorance, this is none but beginninglessness and endlessness. From ignorance arise the five skandhas, the 18 realms, and the 12 spheres."

Bodhisattva Kasyapa said to the Buddha: "O World-Honoured One! You the Buddha say: "A person who has Wisdom knows the cause of the defilements." How can you say that such a person knows the cause of illusion?"

"O good man! One who is wise will meditate and try to know why this illusion comes about, when this illusion comes about, when one lives with whom, at what place one gains this, by seeing what, in whose house, on receiving what bedding, food and drink, clothing, and medicine. Through what causal relations does the low come up to be the middle, the middle to be the top, the low actions to be the middle ones, and the middle ones to be those of the top? When the Bodhisattva-mahasattva thinks in this way, he severs the illusions that he has had from birth. As he thinks in this way, this shuts out the illusions that have not yet arisen and causes them not to arise, and the illusions that have already arisen are annihilated. That is why I say in my sutra: "A person who has Wisdom should meditate on the cause of illusion."

Bodhisattva Kasyapa said to the Buddha: "O World-Honoured One! Whatever various kinds of illusion does the single body of a being call forth?"

The Buddha said: "O good man! A single container holds within itself various seeds. When water and rain come, each shoots forth buds. It is the same with beings. Due to the causal relations of craving, various kinds of illusion come about."

Bodhisattva Kasyapa said: "O World-Honoured One! How does a wise man meditate on the fruition of karma?"

"O good man! A person who is wise should think: "The causal relations of all defilements truly call forth [rebirth in the realms of] hell, hungry pretas [ghosts], and animals. The causal relations of this defilement gain a person the body of a human or a god. These are non-eternal, suffering, Void, and non-Self. In this container of the carnal body, we gain three sufferings and three non-eternals. The causal relation of this defilement truly causes beings to commit the five deadly sins[i.e. patricide, matricide, killing of an arhat, causing dissension within the Sangha, and causing blood to flow from the Buddha's body.], as a result of which man receives evil returns, and as a result of which man cuts off the seed of good, performs the four grave offences [i.e. killing, stealing, unlawful lust, and lying], and slanders the Three Treasures." A wise person should meditate and think: "I must not gain such a body and call forth such defilements and suffer from such evil consequences."

Bodhisattva Kasyapa said: "You say that there are undefiled results, and the wise cut themselves off from karmic results. Does the undefiled fruition lie in what we cut off or not? All those who gain the Way gain the undefiled fruitions. If the wise seek the undefiled fruition, why does the Buddha say that all the wise must segregate themselves from fruitions? If cut off, how could there be all such holy persons?"

"O good man! The Tathagata, at times, speaks of the result in the cause. This is as when people of the world say that earth is a pot or a thread is clothing. This is speaking of the result while still in the stage of the cause. We say that the cause is stated at the stage of the result. This is as when a cow arises out of watery grass and a man out of food. I, too, speak of the result in the cause. I have already stated in the sutras: "By my mind, I gain the body of Brahma." This is to speak of the result in the cause. I speak about the result in the cause. I speak of the cause in the stage of the result. This is as in: "These six spheres arise out of past karma." This is where I speak of the cause at the stage of the result.

"O good man! All holy persons, truth to tell, have no [sic!] undefiled results. All the results from practising the Way of the holy persons do not call forth any defilements. So we speak of "undefiled results".

"O good man! A person who has Wisdom sees things thus, and he ulltimately does away with the results of defilement. O good man! A wise man sees things thus and practises the Holy Way, so as to cut off the results of defilement. The Holy Way is none other than the Void, formlessness, and desirelessness. Having practised this Way, the person indeed cuts off the results of defilement."

Chapter Forty-Four: On Bodhisattva Kasyapa (e)

Bodhisattva Kasyapa said to the Buddha: "All beings reap the karmic fruit of defilement. Defilement is evil. The defilement that arises out of evil defilement is [also] evil. If so, there are two kinds. One is the "cause", and the other the "result". As the cause is evil, so the result is evil. As the fruition is evil, the seed is evil. This is as with the nimba fruit. As the seed is bitter, the flower, fruit, stem, and leaves are all bitter. This is as with the seed of a poisonous tree, where as the seed is poisonous, the fruit, too, is poisonous. The cause is the being and the result is the being. The cause is defilement, and the result is also defilement. The cause and the result of defilement are beings, and beings are the cause and result of defilement. If this is indeed the inference, why did the Tathagata employ the parable of the grass in the Himalayas which is poisonous and [also] an all-wonderful medicine”? If we say that defilement is the being and the being defilement, how can we say that there is a wonderful medicine in the body of the being?"

The Buddha said: "Well said, well said, O good man! Innumerable beings have the same doubt. You now do well to ask for an answer. I shall make this point clear too. Listen well, listen well! Think well about this. I shall now clearly state and explain this to you.

"O good man! I speak of the Himalayas in my parable, alluding therein to beings. The poisonous grass refers to defilement, and the all-wonderful medicine refers to pure deeds. O good man! When beings practise such pure deeds, we say that they possess an all-wonderful medicine within."

Bodhisattva Kasyapa said to the Buddha: "O World-Honoured One! How does a being possess pure deeds?"

"O good man! In the world, we see that a seed brings forth fruit. Now, there are cases where this seed, at times, becomes the cause of the fruit. Or there are cases where it does not. It can only be called "seed" and "fruit" when things proceed thus. When things do not proceed thus, we only say "fruit", and not "seed". It is the same with beings. All have two kinds [of deed]. With the one, it is the result of defilement, and also the cause of defilement. With the other, it is the fruit of defilement, but not the cause of defilement. When it is the fruit of defilement, but not the cause of defilement, we call this a "pure deed". O good man! Beings meditate on feeling and come to know that this is the near cause of all defilements. Because of feeling, a person cannot cut off all the defilements that are inside and out. All defilements, too, are unable to get out of the prison house of the three worlds. Beings, due to feeling, adhere to self and what belongs to self and gain the inversions of mind, image, and views of life. Hence, beings must first meditate on feeling. Such feeling becomes the near-cause of all phases of craving. For this reason, the wise, when they desire to extirpate craving, must first meditate on feeling.

"O good man! All the good and evil of beings that come forth from the 12 links of interdependence take their rise from feeling. That is why I said to Ananda: "All the good and evil deeds of all beings take their rise at the time of feeling." That is why a person who possesses Wisdom must first meditate on feeling. When this meditation is done, the person then thinks: "Through what causal relations does such a feeling come about? If from causal relations, from what do such causal relations come about? If by non-cause, why is it that such a non-cause does not call forth non-feeling?" He also thinks: "This feeling does not come about through the works of Mahesvara, nor through man, nor by motes, season, image, nature, self, power from without; nor does it come about through the combined working of one's own self and others; nor is it through non-cause. This feeling comes about through combined causal relations. The causal relations are at once craving. It is not that there is craving in this combination, nor is it that there is no craving. It is not that there is no feeling. For this reason, I truly cut off this harmonisation [conjoining]. By cutting off this harmonisation, no feeling comes about."

"O good man! The cause [once] thought about, the wise person now meditates on the fruition of karma: "Beings, through feeling, suffer from the innumerable sorrows of hell, hungry pretas, and animals down to the three realms. Because of the causal relations of feeling, there is no Eternal and no Bliss. The person thus extirpates the root of good and through this, the person gains emancipation." When one thus meditates, there exists no cause of feeling.

"How can we say that it does not call forth the cause of feeling? This is the discrimination of feeling. What feeling becomes the cause of craving and what craving is the cause of feeling?

"O good man! As beings thoroughly meditate on the cause of craving, they truly segregate themselves from self and what belongs to self. O good man! If one thoroughly meditates thus, one will indeed come to see where craving and feeling end. That is to say that one sees craving, and feeling goes off somewhat. Know that there ultimately will be an end. Then, one comes to have faith in Emancipation. As one gains faith, one comes to see from where Emancipation arises. One sees that this arises from the Eightfold Right Path, and one learns to practise.

"What is the Eightfold Right Path? In this are the three feelings:  1) suffering,  2) joy, and  3) non-suffering and non-joy. These three increase one's body and mind. Why is there increase? This arises from touch [“sparsa”]. Touch has three phases, which are:  1) touch of ignorance,  2) touch of brightness, and  3) touch of non-brightness and non-ignorance. The touch of brightness is the Eightfold Right Path. The other two touches increase body and mind and the three feelings. That is why I say that one must extirpate the two touches. When one extirpates the touch of the causal relations, one no longer gains the three feelings.

"O good man! Such feeling is the cause and also the result. One who is wise must meditate on the cause-result. What is the cause? From feeling one gains craving. This is the cause. What is the result? It arises from touch. Hence, the result. So, this feeling is the cause-result. The wise person thus meditates on feeling and craving. When one harvests the karmic results, this we call craving. A wise person meditates on craving in two ways, namely:  1) mixed eating and  2) non-eating. The craving for mixed eating causes birth, old age, illness, and death, and all other existences. The craving of non-eating cuts off birth, old age, illness, and death, and all other existences, and devours but the undefiled Way. A wise person will think: "Should I gain craving for mixed food, I shall not be able to do away with birth, old age, illness, and death. Though I now devour the undefiled Way, if I do not make away with the cause of feeling, I shall not be able to gain the fruition of the undefiled Way. So I must make away with this touch. Touch once cut off, feeling will die away by itself. Feeling once done away with, craving, too, dies away by itself. This is the Eightfold Right Path."

"O good man! If a person meditates thus, there can be the all-wonderful medicine in the body of poison, just as in the Himalayas there is the all-wonderful medicineal herb, although there is also poisonous grass, too. O good man! One thus receives a karmic result through defilement. But this karmic result does not further become a cause of [subsequent] defilement. This is pure action.

"Also, next, O good man! A wise person meditates and reflects on why the pair, feeling and touch, come about, and he sees that they come about through image. How? Beings see material form and do not gain desire. And also at the time of feeling, no desire comes about. If one should gain an inverted image regarding material form and say that material form is the Eternal, Bliss, Self, and the Pure, and that there can be no change, one, through this inversion, will gain greed, ill-will, and ignorance. So the wise must meditate on image.

"How does one mediate on image? One should think that all beings have not yet gained the Right Way and that they all have inverted images. What is an inverted image? Being in what is not Eternal, a person has an image of [i.e. sees this as] the Eternal; in non-Bliss, a person has an image of Bliss; being in what is not Pure, he has an image of what is Pure; being in what is empty, he has an image of the Self; being in what is not man or female, big or small, day or night, month or year, clothing, house, or bedding, he has images of man and female, down to bedding.

"Of this image, there are three kinds, namely:  1) small,  2) big, and  3) boundless. Through a small causal relation, one gains a small image; through a big causal relation, one gains a big image; through an unbounded causal relation, one gains an unlimited image. Also, there is a small image, which refers to one who has not yet gained samadhi. Also, there is a big image, which relates to one who has already gained samadhi. Also, there is an [unbounded] image, which relates to the ten reciprocal all-enterings [“dasa-krtsnayatana”]. Also, there is a small image, which relates to all the images of the world of desire. Also, there is a big image, which corresponds to all the images of the world of form. Also, there is an unbounded number of images, which refers to all the images of the world of formlessness. When the three phases of image die away, feeling by itself dies away. When the image and feeling go away, we say "Emancipation".

Bodhisattva Kasyapa said: "O World-Honoured One! When all phases of things die away, we gain Emancipation. Why do you, Tathagata, say that the extinction of image and feeling is Emancipation?"

The Buddha said: "O good man! The Tathagata, at times, speaks by the being, at which the one listening understands the thing; or, at times, he stands on the thing about the being , and the one listening understands what is said about the being.

"What do I mean by saying that when I speak of the being, the person who is listening takes it to refer to a thing? This is as when I once said to Mahakasyapa: "O Kasyapa! When the being dies, Wonderful Dharma dies out too." This is what I mean when I say that when I speak standing on the being, the one listening takes it to refer to a thing. What do I mean by saying that when I speak, standing on dharma, about the being, the listener takes it to have been said about the being? This is as I once said to Ananda: "I do not say that I befriend all things or that I do not. If I befriend the law [Dharma], the good law [Wonderful Dharma] will weaken and the non-good will become luxuriant. One must not befriend such a law. If one befriends the law, the non-good will weaken and the good law augment. One should come near such a law." This is what I say, standing on a thing, about the being, and the one listening takes it as my speaking about a being.

"O good man! The Tathagata speaks about the two extinctions of image and feeling. But he has already spoken about all that could be extirpated. When a wise person has meditated on such an image, he must next meditate on the cause of the image.

"How do all the innumerable images come about? One comes to know that they come about from touch. And this touch is of two kinds, namely:  1) touch by defilement and  2) touch by Emancipation. If it arises out of ignorance, we call this "touch by defilement". What comes about from "brightness" is called "touch from Emancipation". The touch from ignorance calls forth an inverted image, and that from Emancipation calls forth a non-inverted image. When one has meditated on the cause of the image, one next meditates on the karmic result."

Bodhisattva Kasyapa said to the Buddha: "The inverted image comes about from the image of defilement. All holy persons, truth to tell, possess inverted images and yet possess no defilement. How am I to understand this?"

The Buddha said: "O good man! In what way does a holy person possess an unverted image?"

Bodhisattva Kasyapa said: "O World-Honoured One! All holy ones, on seeing a cow, gain the image of a cow and say that this is a cow. Seeing a horse, they gain the image of a horse and say that this is a horse. The same applies to man, woman, big and small, house, vehicle, going and coming. This is an inversion."

"O good man! All beings possess two kinds of image, namely:  1) the image current in the world and  2) the image from clinging. All holy people have only the image current in the world, but do not have any image from clinging. All beings gain the image of clinging, because of the meditation by evil sensing. All holy persons do not gain the image of clinging, because of [their] awakening to good. Hence, all common mortals are classed as of the inverted, whereas the holy persons are not so classed, though they may know.      

"Having meditated on the cause of the image, a person who is wise next meditates on the karmic results. One suffers such karmic results of the evil image in the realms of hell, hungry ghosts, and animals, and of humans and gods. As I have done away with the image of evil awakening, I have cut off ignorance and touch. So does the image go. When the image is done away with, the person also removes the karmic consequences. To cut off the cause of the image, the wise person practises the Eightfold Right Path. O good man! Any person who thus meditates is called one who practises pure deeds.

"O good man! Thus do I say: "In the poisonous body of the being there is an all-wonderful medicine. Though in the Himalayas there is a poisonous [type of] grass, there is [also] an all-wonderful medicine."

Also, next, O good man! One who is wise meditates on desire. Desire is colour, sound, smell, taste, and touch. O good man! Thus the Tathagata speaks of the result in the stage of cause. From these five things, desire raises its head. And it is no desire.

"O good man! A person who is ignorant greedily seeks to partake of these. In these material forms, the person gains an inverted image. And this gaining of an inverted image extends down to "touch". And from the causal relation of inversion, there arises feeling. That is why I say that from this inverted image the world gains the ten images.

"From the causal relation of desire, one harvests evil karmic consequences in the world. The evil is directed to parents, sramanas, and Brahmins. One does what one ought not to do, and one does this wilfully, head and foot. Thus, a person who is wise realises the fact that this causal relation of evil evokes a covetous mind. Having thus realised the cause of evil, the wise person first meditates on the cause of covetousness and then thinks about the karmic results. When there is much desire, there come forth many evil results, such as [the realms of] hell, hungry ghosts, animals, humans and gods. This is what we call realising evil results.

"If one is able to do away with the evil image, no mind of covetousness will arise. When there is no covetous mind, there arises no evil feeling. With no evil feeling, there cannot be any evil result. That is why I first do away with the evil image. The image of evil once done away with, things as such naturally die away. Hence, the wise person practises the Eightfold Right Path, in order to do away with the evil image. This is what we call "pure action". This is why we say that in the poisonous body of the being, there is an all-wonderful medicine, as in the case of the Himalayas, where, though there are poisonous grasses, there is an all-wonderful medicine, too.

"Also, next, O good man! Having meditated thoroughly in this way on desire, the wise person next meditates on karma. Why? The wise person thinks: "Feeling, image, touch, and desire are defilements. Defilement truly brings forth living karma, but not harvesting karma. Such a defilement goes along with karma and is made up of two kinds:  1) living karma and  2) harvesting karma. Hence, the wise person must meditate well on karma. This karma is of three kinds: body, mouth, and mind." O good man! The pair, body and mouth, are also called karma and also the karmic result. The mind is called merely "karma", and not "result". As it is the cause of karma, we say "karma". O good man! We call the karmas of body and mouth the external karma, and the mental karma the internal. These three karmas go together with defilement. So we have two karmas, namely:  1) living karma and  2) feeling karma.

"O good man! "Right karma" is mental karma. We say "temporal karma". This refers to the karmas of body and mind. Being what appears first, we say "mental karma". What arise from the mental are the bodily and oral karmas. So, what is mental is called "right". Having meditated on karma, a wise person must meditate on the cause of karma. The cause of karma is the touch of ignorance. Due to the touch of ignorance, beings see "existence". The causal relation of existence is "craving". Due to the causal relation of craving, a person performs the three actions of body, mouth, and mind.

"O good man! Having meditated on the cause of karma, the wise person meditates on the karmic result. There are four kinds of karmic result, namely:  1) black-black karmic result,  2) white-white karmic result,  3) mixed-mixed karmic result, and  4) non-black-non-white-non-black-non-white karmic result.

"The black-black karmic result is such that it is defiled at the time of the action and the karmic result, too, is defiled. We say white-white karmic result, which is pure when [the deed is] being enacted, and the karmic result too is pure. We speak of a mixed-mixed karmic result, which is one [of a] mixed [nature] during [the deed's] enactment, and the karma, too, is mixed. We say non-white-non-black-non-white-non-black karmic result. This is undefiled karma."

Bodhisattva Kasyapa said to the Buddha: "O World-Honoured One! You said before that the undefiled has no karmic result. Why do you now speak about the non-white-non-black of the karmic result?"

The Buddha said: "O good man! There are two meanings to this. One is the result and the recompense put together, and the second is the fruition, but not the recompense. The black-black karmic result is the result, and also the recompense. When it arises out of a black cause, it is a "result"; when it becomes a cause, we say "recompense". It is the same with the pure and the mixed. The undefiled result comes out of a defiled cause. Hence, "result". When it does not become the cause of any other thing, we do not say "recompense".

Bodhisattva Kasyapa said to the Buddha: "O World-Honoured One! This undefiled karma is not that which is black. Why do you not call it white?"

"O good man! As there is no recompense, I do not call it white. When a cure is caused to the black, I say white. I now say: "What receives the karmic result is called black or white. As this undefiled action does not harvest any recompense, I do not call it white. I say "quietude". All such actions are definitely subject to recompense. The ten evil things are definitely subject to the realms of hell, hungry pretas, and animals. The ten good things definitely gain [one] the world of humans and gods. In the ten good things, we have the grades of: top, middle, low. Through the top causal relation, one gains hell, through the middle causal relation the animal [realm], and through the low, life in hell. Also, of a human's ten good deeds there are four kinds, namely:  1) low,  2) middle,  3) top, and  4) topmost. Through the low causal relation, one gains life in Uttarakuru; through that of the middle, Purvavideha; through the top causal relation, Godaniya; and through the topmost causal relation, life in Jambudvipa.

"When this meditation is performed, the wise man thinks: "How am I to segregate myself from this karmic result?" He also thinks: "This causal relation arises out of ignorance and touch. If I do away with ignorance and touch, such a karmic result will die out and not come about. Hence, a person who is wise, in order to extirpate the causal relations of ignorance and touch, must practise the Eightfold Right Path. This is pure action." O good man! This is why I say that in the poisonous body of the being there is an all-wonderful medicine. This is as in the instance of the Himalayas, where, though there are poisonous herbs, there is a medicinal herb, too.

"Also, next, O good man! Having meditated on karma and defilement, a wise man then meditates on the two karmic results that have been attained. These two karmic results are of suffering. When this suffering is known, one segregates one's self from all beings. The wise person also thinks: "The causal relation of defilement also calls forth defilement. Being the causal relation of karma, it again calls forth defilement. The causal relation of defilement again calls forth karma. The causal relation of karma calls forth suffering, and from the causal relation of suffering comes about defilement. The causal relation of defilement calls forth existence, and the causal relation of existence calls forth suffering. The causal relation of existence calls forth existence. The causal relation of existence calls forth karma, and the causal relation of karma calls forth defilement. The causal relation of defilement calls forth suffering. The causal relation of suffering calls forth suffering."

"O good man! If any wise person thus meditates thoroughly, one should know that such a person truly meditates on the suffering of karma. Why? All that is stated above referring to meditation are the causal relations of birth and death of the 12 links of interdependent arising. If a person thus thinks thoroughly about the 12 links of interdependence, one may know that this person no longer creates any new karmas and thoroughly crushes out old sufferings.

"O good man! A person who has Wisdom meditates on the suffering of hell. From one hell to 136 places, each hell has various types of suffering. All arise out of the causal relations of the karma of defilement. Thus does one meditate. When the meditation on hell has been completed, this leads to the meditation on the sufferings of the hungry pretas and animals. Having done this meditation, one again thinks of all the sufferings of humans and gods. All such sufferings arise from the karmas of defilement.

"O good man! In the life of heaven, we do not have any of this kind of great suffering. The body is soft, delicate and smooth. [But] when one sees the five forebodings of decline, great suffering raises its head. It is as with the suffering of hell, which proceeds in the same way, all equally.

"O good man! The wise meditate and think that all the sufferings of the three worlds take their rise from the causal relations of defilement. O good man! For example, a tile that has not yet been passed through heat is easy to break. It is the same with the physical body of a being, too. Gaining the body, this is now a vessel of suffering. For example, the luxuriance of the flowers and fruit of a big tree gets destroyed by birds; and piles of dried grass can easily be burnt up by a small bit of fire. It is the same with the fleshly body of the being, which easily breaks up.

"O good man! If a wise person can meditate well on the eight sufferings as in holy actions , know that this person indeed segregates himself from all sufferings.

"O good man! A wise person deeply meditates on the eight sufferings, and next on the cause of suffering. The cause of suffering is the ignorance of craving, which is made up of two things:  1) seeking what is bodily and  2) seeking wealth. Seeking what is bodily and seeking wealth are both sources of suffering. So one must know that the ignorance of craving is the cause of suffering.

"O good man! There are two kinds of this ignorance of craving, namely:  1) inner and  2) outer. That which is inner truly moulds karma, whereas what is external augments it. Also, that which is internal indeed moulds karma, and what is external moulds the karmic result. If internal craving is done away with, karma can indeed be done away with. If external craving is cut off, the karmic fruit goes away. Internal craving moulds the suffering of the world that is to come, whereas external craving calls forth the suffering of the present life. The wise meditate on the cause of suffering, which is craving. Having meditated on the cause, they do so on the karmic result. The karmic result of suffering is "cleaving" [“upadana” - clinging to existence]. The result of craving is cleaving. The karmic result of craving is cleaving. The causal relation of this cleaving, which is inner and outer craving, calls forth the suffering of craving.

"O good man! The wise must meditate and think that craving is causally related to cleaving, and cleaving is causally related to craving. If one truly extirpates this pair, craving and cleaving, there will be no more karmic action; one will no more suffer from any kind of sorrow. Hence, the wise should practise well the Eightfold Right Path and make away with all sufferings.

"O good man! If any person meditates thus, this is pure action. This is where we say that beings possess an all-wonderful medicine in their carnal poisonous body and that in the Himalayas, amidst the poisonous grass, there is an all-wonderful medicinal herb."

Bodhisattva Kasyapa said to the Buddha: "O World-Honoured One! What is pure action?"

The Buddha said: "All things are nothing but pure action."

Bodhisattva Kasyapa said: "O World-Honoured One! All things are not fixed in meaning. Why? The Tathagata calls them either good or non-good. At times, he says that such is the meditation of the four remembrances, or at times, the 12 spheres, or the good teacher of the Way, or the 12 links of interdependence, or the being, right view, wrong view, the 12 types of sutra, or the two truths; or the Tathagata now says that all things are pure actions. All in all, what do you mean by "all things"?

The Buddha said: "Well said, well said, O good man! The all-wonderful Great Nirvana Sutra is the treasure-house of all dharmas. It is like the great sea, which stores up all treasures. It is the same with this Nirvana Sutra. This is the secret house which contains all the meanings of all words.

"O good man! Just as Mount Sumeru is the root source of all medicines, so is this sutra the root source of the Bodhisattva precepts.

"O good man! It is as with the Void, wherein rests all that exists. So is it with this sutra, which is the abode of Good Dharma.

"O good man! It is like the great wind, which no one can bind or check. So is it with all Bodhisattvas who practise this sutra. No defilement or evil teaching can check or bind [them].

"O good man! It is like the diamond, which no one can destroy. So do matters stand with this sutra, which no tirthikas or men of evil notions can destroy.

"O good man! It is like the sand of the river Ganges, which no one can count. So is it with the meaning of this sutra. No one can truly count it out to completion.

"O good man! This sutra is the banner of the Dharma of all Buddhas, just as things so obtain with the hanging ensigns of Sakra.

"O good man! This sutra is the merchant that journeys nirvana-wards, or the great guide that takes to the great sea with all merchants.

"O good man! This sutra is the light of the Dharma of all Bodhisattvas, just as the light of the sun and moon truly destroy the gloom all round.

"O good man! This sutra serves as the best [medicine] to all beings who are suffering from illness. It is like the all-wonderful king of medicine of Gandhamadana, which thoroughly cures all illnesses.

"O good man! This sutra truly serves as a staff to the icchantika, as in the case of a weak person who can [thereby] easily support himself and stand up.

"O good man! This sutra truly serves as a bridge to all evil persons, just as a bridge even allows all the evil persons of the world to pass [over it].

"O good man! This sutra truly serves as a cool shade to all those who carry on their life in the five realms, where they feel hot due to the heat of defilement, serving [them] like a parasol that protects a person well from the heat.

"O good man! This sutra is the king of fearlessness, which thoroughly crushes out all the devils of defilement, acting like the lion king, who truly subdues all beasts.

"O good man! This sutra is a great charmer that can thoroughly crush out all the devils of defilement, just as a charmer makes away with the mountain elf.

"O good man! This sutra is like the unsurpassed frost and hail that crush out all the karmic results of birth and death, just as the hail destroys the fruit trees.

"O good man! This sutra is the greatest of medicines to a person who violates sila [the moral precepts], just as the ajata can truly cure pain of the eyes.

"O good man! This sutra houses all good dharmas, just like the earth, which serves as the support for all things.

"O good man! This sutra is a bright mirror to all beings who violate the precepts, just like a mirror which reflects well all colours and forms.

"O good man! This sutra serves as clothing for those who do not feel ashamed of what they do, just like clothing that can well cover and hide the carnal form.

"O good man! This sutra serves as a great treasure-house to those who are lacking in good things, just as Gunadevi gives benefit to the poor man.

"O good man! This sutra serves as the water of amrta [Immortality] for those who thirst for Dharma, just like the water of the eight tastes, which thoroughly satisfies a thirsty man.

"O good man! This sutra serves as a bed of Dharma to those who have the worries of defilement, just like the bed of peace that serves the people of the world.

"O good man! By means of this sutra, the Bodhisattva rises from the first stage up to the tenth. It is the cart upon which are laden jewellery, incense, flowers, and all such incense as pasting, powdery, and burning incense, and the cart in which those of pure castes can ride. It truly supercedes [surpasses] the six paramitas. This is a wonderful land of bliss. It is like the parijata tree of Trayastrimsa Heaven.

"O good man! This sutra is an adamantine and sharpened hatchet which can indeed fell the great tree of all defilements. This is the sharpened sword that can truly make away with the taint of ill smell. This is the valiant and strong that can thoroughly crush out the adversity [opposition] of Mara. This is the fire of Wisdom, which burns up the fuel of defilement. This is the storehouse of causal relations which gives birth to the pratyekabuddha. This is the storehouse of hearing which gives birth to the sravakas. This is the eye of all gods that serves as the Right Path to all beings. This is a refuge to all animals. This is where the hungry ghosts gain Emancipation, the most holy of hell, and the unsurpassed utensil for all beings of the ten directions. This is the parent of all Buddhas of the ten directions of past, future, and present. O good man! Thus, this sutra holds within itself all dharmas."