Nirvana Sutra

Appreciation of the "Mahayana Mahaparinirvana Sutra"

The "Nirvana Sutra" Continued a (3)

Chapter Two: On Cunda

“At that time there was present among the congregation an upasaka who was the son of an artisan of this fortress town of Kusinagara. Cunda was his name. He was there with his comrades, fifteen in number. In order that the world should generate good fruit, he abandoned all bodily adornments [to indicate his respect and modesty], stood up, bared his right shoulder, placed his right knee on the ground and, folding his hands, looked up at the Buddha. Sorrowfully and tearfully, he touched the Buddha's feet with his head [i.e. in sign of respect] and said: "O World-Honoured One and bhiksus! Please have pity and accept our last offerings and succour innumerable beings. O World-Honoured One! From now on, we have no master, no parents, no salvation, no protection, no place wherein to take refuge, and no place to go. we shall be poor and hunger-ridden. Following the Tathagata, we desire to gain food for the days to come. Please have pity and accept our petty offerings, and, then, enter Nirvana. O World-Honoured One! This is as in the case of a Kshatriya, Brahmin, Vaishya or Sudra, who, being poor, goes to a far-off country. He works at farming and indeed gains a trained cow. The land is good, flat and square. There is no poor, sandy soil, no harmful weeds, no barrenness and no defilements [there]. What is needful is awaiting the rain from heaven. We say "trained cow". This may be likened to the seven actions of the body and mouth, and the good field flat and square to Wisdom. Doing away with the poor soil, harmful weeds, barrenness and defilements refers to Illusion, which we must do away with. O World-Honoured One! I now have with me the trained cow and good soil, and I have tilled the land and done away with all the weeds. I am now only awaiting the Tathagata's sweet rain of Dharma to visit me. The four castes of poverty are none but the carnal body that I possess. I am poor, as I do not possess the superb treasure of Dharma. Pray have pity and cut away our poverty and hardships and rid us innumerable beings of our sorrow and worries. What offerings I make are paltry. But what I may think is that they will satisfy the Tathagata and Sangha. I now have no master, no parents, and no refuge. Please have pity on us, as you have on Rahula [the Buddha's son]."

Then the World-Honoured One, the All-Knowledge [“sarvajnana”], the Unsurpassed Trainer, said to Cunda: "This is good, good indeed! I shall now cut off the roots of your poverty and let fall on your field of carnal life the unsurpassed rain of Dharma and call forth the bud of Dharma. You now desire to have from me life, body, power, peace, and unhindered speech. And I shall give to you undying life, body, power, peace, and unhindered speech. Why? O Cunda! In offerings of meals there are two fruits that know of no distinction. What are the two? Firstly, one attains “anuttarasamyaksambodhi” [unsurpassed, complete Enlightenment] when one receives it [a meal-offering]; secondly, one enters Nirvana after receiving it. I will now receive your last offering and let you accomplish danaparamita [perfected giving]."

At that, Cunda said to the Buddha: "You say that there is no difference between the results of these two offerings. But this is not so.  Why not? Because in the former case of receiving dana [a charitable gift], illusion is not yet done away with [in the recipient] and he is not yet perfect in all-knowledge. And he cannot yet cause beings to enjoy danaparamita. As to the latter category of receiving dana, illusion has gone and he is accomplished in all-knowledge and can let all beings be blessed equally with danaparamita. The former man who receives offerings is still a common being, but the latter the heaven of heavens. One that receives dana in the former category is one with 1) a body supported by various kinds of food,  2) a body of illusion,  3) a body where there yet remains the result of illusion, and 4) a non-eternal body. A person who receives dana in the second category has 1) the body of no illusion,  2) the adamantine body,  3) the Dharma body  4) the eternal body,  and 5) the boundless body. How can one say that the results of the dana performed in the two categories are one and do not differ? The person who receives dana in the former category is one not yet accomplished in danaparamita [and other paramitas] up to prajnaparamita [perfected Wisdom]. He only has the fleshly eye, but not the Buddha-eye, nor the eye of Wisdom. The case of the person receiving dana in the latter category is that of one perfect in danaparamita up to prajnaparamita, and also in the fleshly eye up to the eye of Wisdom. How can we say that the results of the two danas are the same and that there is no difference? O World-honoured One! In the case of the former, one who receives dana takes meals which get into his abdomen and get digested, and he gains life, carnal body, power, ease, and unhindered speech. In the case of the latter, the person does not eat, digest, and there are no results of the five things. How can we say that the results of the two danas are one and the same and not different?"

The Buddha said: "O good man! The Tathagata, already, since innumerable, boundless asamkhyas of kalpas [aeons] ago, has had no body supported by food and illusion, and he has no body where there yet remains the result of illusion. He is the Eternal, the Dharma Body, and the Adamantine Body. O good man! One who has not yet seen “Buddhata “[Buddha-Nature, Buddha-Essence, Buddha-ness] is called the illusion-body, the body supported by various kinds of food, and the body where there yet remains the result of illusion. The Bodhisattva, as he partakes of the food [offered to him just before Enlightenment] enters the adamantine samadhi [deepest meditative state]. When that food is digested, he sees “Buddhata” and attains unsurpassed Bodhi [Enlightenment]. That is why I say that the results of the two danas are equal and that they are not different. The Bodhisattva, at that time, crushes the four Maras [Illusion, skandhas, death, and the heavenly Mara]. Now, entering Nirvana, he crushes the four Maras. That is why I say that the results of the two danas are equal and that they are not different. The Bodhisattva, at that time, does not widely speak about the twelve types of Buddhist sutras [categorisation of the Buddhist scriptures into 12 types], but he is versed in these already. Now, upon entering Nirvana, he speaks expansively of them for beings' sake. That is why I say that the results of the two danas are equal and that they are not different. O good man! The body of the Tathagata has not partaken of food and drink for innumerable asamkhyas of kalpas past. But for all sravakas' ["listeners" to the Buddha's teachings] sake, I say that I took the milk-cooked porridge offered by Nanda and Nandabala, the two shepherd women, and that, thereafter, I attained unsurpassed Bodhi. But, in truth, I did not take it. Now, for the sake of the people congregated here, I shall accept your offerings. But, in truth, I do not partake of it."

Then, hearing that the Buddha-World-Honoured One, for the sake of the people congregated there, would take Cunda's last offerings, they were glad and overjoyed, and said in praise: "How wonderful, how wonderful! It is rare, O Cunda! You now have a name; your name is not for nothing. Cunda means "understanding wonderful significations"! You have now established such great signification. You build up what is true, you accord with the signification, and gain your name. That is why you are Cunda. You, now, in this life, will gain great name, profit, virtue, and vows. It is rare, O Cunda, to be born as a man and attain the unsurpassed profit which is the most difficult to achieve. It is good, O Cunda! You are the udumbara [plant], which is said to put out flowers only on very rare occasions. It is very rare that the Buddha appears in the world. It is also hard to meet with the Buddha, gain faith, and hear [his] sermons. It is harder still to be able to make the final offerings to him at the time of his entering Nirvana and well attain all this. Well done, well done, O Cunda! You are now perfect in danaparamita. This is as on the 15th of the autumnal month, when the moon is pure and full, when there is not a speck of cloud in the heavens, and all beings look up and [utter] praise. The same is the case with you, whom we look up to and praise. The Buddha now takes your last offerings and makes you perfect in danaparamita. Oh, well done, O Cunda! We say that you are like the full moon, which all people look up to. Well done, O Cunda! Though a man, your mind is of the Buddha. O Cunda! You truly are like the Buddha's son, Rahula. There is no difference."

Then those congregated there said in a gatha [verses]:

"Though born a man, you now stand above the sixth heaven.

I and all others, therefore, praise you and pray.

The holiest of men now enters Nirvana. Pity us and, with speed,

Beseech the Buddha to stay a long time yet in life,

To benefit innumerable beings, to impart to them

The unsurpassed manna of Dharma that Wisdom praises.

If you do not beseech the Buddha, our life will not be perfect.

Because of this, fall to the ground,

Pay homage to the Best Trainer."

At this, Cunda was overjoyed! It was as in the case of a man whose parents have of a sudden passed away and who suddenly come back again. That is how Cunda felt. He stood up again, bowed before the Buddha, and said in a gatha:

"I am glad that I have gained my Way; it is good I have been born a man.

I have done away with greed and anger; I am parted forever

From the three unfortunate realms. I am glad that I have gained benefit,

And meet with the golden ball of treasure,

That I now meet with the Trainer

And that I do not fear, even if  I gain life in the animal realm.

The Buddha is an udumbara, so to speak, one hard to encounter,

And it is hard to gain faith. Having once encountered

And practised the Way, we do away

With the sorrows of the hungry pretas.

Also, he thoroughly crushes the asuras and others.

We could sooner balance a mustard seed on the point of a needle 

Than encounter the Buddha's appearance in the world.

The Buddha is not tainted by worldly ways.

He is like a water lily in water. I am thoroughly cut off

From all the roots of the relative world

And have crossed the waters of birth and death.

It is hard to be born as a man; harder still is it

To encounter the Buddha when he appears in the world.

It is as in the case of a blind turtle

who, in the midst of the ocean, may chance to hit the hole

In a piece of floating wood. I now offer food

And pray that I will attain the unsurpassed reward,

That I will destroy the bond of illusion,

And that it will be strong no more. I do not seek here

To gain a heavenly body. Even having gained that,

One's mind is not so sweet. The Tathagata accepts

This offering of mine. Nothing could ever please me more.

This is like the case of a bad-smelling weed

Which emits a sandalwood fragrance.

I am that weed. The Tathagata accepts my offerings.

This is like the fragrance that issues from the sandalwood.

That is why I am glad. I now in this life

Am blessed with the highest reward.

Shakra, Brahma and all the others come

And make offerings to me. All worlds are

Greatly worried as they now know

That the Buddha will enter Nirvana. They loudly say:

"Now there is no Trainer in the world;

Do not discard all beings; view them as one views one’s only son!"

The Tathagata, in the midst of the priests, speaks of the superb Dharma.

This may well be compared to Mt. Sumeru,

That sits unmolested amidst a great ocean.

The Buddha-Wisdom thoroughly dispels the gloom of man.

It is as when the sun rises, all the clouds disperse

And light shines all over.

The Tathagata thoroughly does away with all illusions.

This is like the coolness that reigns

When clouds appear in the sky.

All beings love you and wail.

All are floundering on the bitter waters of birth and death.

Because of this, pray, O World-Honoured One!

Stay long in life and increase the faith of all beings,

Cut off the suffering of birth and death!"

The Buddha said to Cunda: "It is thus, it is thus! All is as you say. It is rare that the Buddha appears in the world. It is as in the case of the udumbara. It is, again, hard to meet with the Buddha and gain faith. To be present at the moment of the Buddha's entering Nirvana, to offer him food and thus accomplish danaparamita is as difficult. O Cunda! Do not be sorry now. Be glad that you now give the final offerings to the Tathagata and accomplish well danaparamita. Do not ask the Buddha to remain long in life. You now should meditate on the world of all Buddhas. All is non-eternal. It is the same with all created things and their natures and characteristics." For the sake of Cunda, he said in a gatha:

"In all the world, whatever is born must die.

Life looks long, but by nature an end there must be.

Whatever flourishes always wanes; met, one must part.

The prime of manhood is not long;

Luxuriance meets with illness.

Life is swallowed by death; nothing exists eternally.

Kings are all unmolested; none can compete.

Yet all of them must perish; so is it with life.

Suffering knows no end; unendingly the wheel turns and turns.

None of the three worlds [of Desire, Form, and Formlessness] is eternal; all that exists

Is not happy. What exists has a nature and characteristics.

And all is Void. What is destructible comes and goes;

Apprehensions and illnesses follow upon [one's] steps.

The fears of all the wrongs and evils done,

Age, illness, death and decline cause worry.

All these things do not exist forever.

And they easily break up. Resentment attacks one;

All are lined with illusion, as in the case of the silkworm and the cocoon.

None who has wisdom finds joy in a place like this.

This carnal body is where suffering forgathers.

All is impure, like unto strains, carbuncles, boils, and other such.

No reason is at bottom. The same applies

Even to the heavenly ones who sit above.

All desires do not last. So I do not cling.

One casts off desires, meditates well,

Attains the wonderful Dharma, and one who definitely

Cuts off "is" [samsaric existence] can today gain Nirvana.

I pass over to the other shore of "is"

And stand above all sorrows.

Thus I harvest this superb Bliss."

Then Cunda said to the Buddha: "O World-Honoured One! It is so, it is so. All is as you, Holy One, say. What wisdom I possess is paltry and of low grade. I am like a mosquito or sawfly. How can I contemplate the deepest ground of the Tathagata's Nirvana? O World-Honoured One! I am now like any great naga or elephant of a Bodhisattva-mahsattva who has cut off the bond of illusion. I am like Dharmarajaputra Manjushri. O World-Honoured One! It is like one who enters the Order at a young age. Though upholding the precepts, that person is still just of the class of ordinary monks. I, too, am one such. Due to the power of the Buddha and the Bodhisattvas, I am now one of the number of such great Bodhisattvas. That is why I beseech the Tathagata to stay long in life and not enter Nirvana. This is similar to a hunger-stricken man who has nothing more to put out. I only pray that the same will be the case with the World-Honoured One and that he will stay long in life and not enter Nirvana."

Then Dharmarajaputra Manjushri said to Cunda: "O Cunda! Now, do not speak in this way and beseech the Tathagata to stay long in life and not to enter Parinirvana, as in the case of one hungry who now has nothing more to put out. This cannot be. You should now see the nature and characteristics of all things. Seeing things thus, you will gain the All-Void samadhi. If you desire to attain Wonderful Dharma, act thus!"

Cunda asked: "O Manjushri! The Tathagata is the Holiest One and the highest of all heavens and earth. Could the Tathagata who is such be one who is made? If he is one made, he cannot be other than samsaric existence. Foam, for example, quickly rises up and swiftly dies away; the comings and goings [of all things] are like the turning of a wheel. All that is made is like this. I hear that the devas have the longest life. The World-Honoured One is the heaven of heavens. How could he have a life so short as not to reach 100 years? The headman of a village is unmolested [unlimited, unconstrained] in power, through which he can suppress people. But when virtue deserts him, he becomes poor and mean. He is looked down upon and whipped and made to work for others. Why? Because his power is gone. The same is the case with the World-Honoured One. He is like all things made. If he is the same as all things, he cannot be the heaven of heavens. Why not? Because all things are existences that must suffer birth and death. Therefore, O Manjushri! Do not put the Tathagata on the same level as that of all things made. Also, next, O Manjushri! Do you know this [for a fact] and speak thus? Or is it that you do not know, and say that the Tathagata is on the same level as all things made? If the Tathagata is on the same level as all things made, we cannot call him the heaven of heavens or the unmolested [unlimited] Dharma-King of the three worlds. For example, a king may be a man of great strength. His power is equal to that of a thousand persons and none can beat him. So this person is called one possessing the power of a thousand persons. The king loves such a one. So, courtly rank is given him, along with a fief. Fiefs and rewards flow towards him bountifully. This person is called one whose power is equal to that of a thousand persons. He is not quite equal to a thousand persons. But what he does is worth much. So we say that he is equal to a thousand persons. The same is the case with the Tathagata. He subdues the Mara of illusion, the Mara of the five skandhas, the Mara of heaven, and the Mara of death. That is why we call him the most honoured one of the three worlds. This is as in the case of a man whose power equals that of a thousand persons. Thus he is accomplished in various, innumerable true virtues. That is why we call him the Tathagata, the Alms-deserving and the All-Enlightened One. O Manjushri! You should not presume upon, imagine, speak about what pertains to the world of the Tathagata as being equal to that which is created. For example, a very rich man begets a son; and the augur predicts that this child will not live. The parents hear this and know that the child will not be able to inherit the family estate, and they look on this child as though it were grass. Now, a short-lived person is not made much of [respected] by sramanas [ascetics], Brahmins, males, females, or people big or small. If the Tathagata is placed on the same level as that which is created, he cannot be respected by all the world, man or heaven. What the Tathagata speaks about is that which does not change and is not different. It is the true Dharma. There is none who receives. Hence, O Manjushri! Do not say that the Tathagata is the same as any created thing.

"Also, next, O Manjushri! It is as in the case of a poor woman who has no house to live in and nobody to take care of her. Added to this, she is very ill and hungry. So she roams about, begs for food, stays in another's house, and gives birth to a child. The owner of the house drives her away. She holds this child and decides to go abroad. On the way, she meets with a bad storm and rain; cold presses down upon her. Mosquitoes, gadflies, bees and poisonous insects noisily attack her. She carries her child and means to cross the Ganges. The water moves quickly, but she holds the child and does not let go her grip on him. The mother and child both drown. This woman, because of her compassionate deed, is born after her death in Brahma's heaven. O Manjushri! Any good man who desires to guard Wonderful Dharma should not say: "The Tathagata is like all things"or "he is not so." One should only reproach one's own self and think: "I am but ignorant; I do not have the eye of Wisdom." The Tathagata's Wonderful Dharma cannot at all be conceived. Because of this, it is not fitting for us to say that the Tathagata is truly a thing definitely made, or a thing which is not made. What it is right to say is: "The Tathagata is definitely an Uncreate [that which was not made]. Because [of this] good arises for us beings and out of the compassionate heart. This is as in the case of the poor woman who, out of love for her child, sacrificed her own self. O good man! With the Bodhisattva who guards Dharma, it is thus. One might well sacrifice one's own self, but one cannot say that the Tathagata is equal to the created. One must say that the Tathagata is an Uncreate. By saying that the Tathagata is an Uncreate, one gains unsurpassed Enlightenment. This is as in the case of the woman born in Brahma's heaven. Why? Through protecting Dharma. What do we mean by protecting Dharma? That is, saying that the Tathagata is an Uncreate. O good man! Such a one does not seek emancipation, yet it comes of itself. It is as in the case of the poor woman who does not seek to be born in Brahma's heaven, and yet Brahma responds. It is like this. O Manjushri! A person may be going on a long journey. On the way, he becomes very tired and puts up at another person's house. While he is asleep, a great fire breaks out. At once he gets up and thinks: "I shall now surely die." As he repents, he puts on his clothing. He dies and gets reborn in Trayastrimsa Heaven. Then, after 80 lives, he becomes Great Brahma. After 100 thousand lives, he gets reborn as a man and becomes a chakravartin [world's greatest monarch]. This person does not gain life in the three unfortunate realms. Life is repeated, and he is born in places where peace always reigns. This is how things go. Because of this, one possessing repentance should, O Manjushri, meditate on the Buddha, but not regard him as the same as that which is created. O Manjushri! The tirthikas and those of bent mind may say that the Tathagata is the same as the created. The bhiksu who upholds the precepts should not think that the Tathagata is a created existence. Should one say that the Tathagata is one created, this is nothing but a false statement. After death, such a person will fall into hell, as surely as one is in one's own house. O Manjushri! The Tathagata is truly an Uncreate. One must not say that he is a created being. You should henceforth in this life of birth and death abandon ignorance and take to right Wisdom. Know well that the Tathagata is an Uncreate. One who meditates well on the Tathagata will be perfect in the 32 signs of perfection and will attain unsurpassed Enlightenment."

Then Dharmarajaputra Manjushri praised Cunda and said: "Well spoken, well spoken, O good man! You have already done what will beget you an endless life. You well know that the Tathagata is one eternal and unchanging, and is an Uncreate. You now well shield the Tathagata's created-form existence. One who encounters fire covers his body with clothing because of repentance. This good mind gains him birth in Trayastrimsa Heaven. He becomes Brahma and a chakravartin, and he does not get born into the unfortunate realms and thus will always enjoy peace. That is how things will go with you. As you well shield the created form of the Tathagata, you will in the days to come gain the 32 signs of perfection, the 80 minor marks of excellence, and the 18 characteristics peculiar solely to the Buddha. Your life will become endless, with no more bonds of samsara. There will always be an eternal flow of peace and happiness, and before long a day will come when you will awaken in the light of the Alms-deserving and the All-Enlightened One. O Cunda! The Tathagata himself will speak more expansively later on. And you and I shall shield the created body of the Tathagata. Set aside, for the present, questions of the created and the non-created.

"You should, as you see proper, quickly offer meals. To offer thus is the best of all offerings. The bhiksus, bhiksunis, upasakas and upasikas may have undergone a long journey; they may be extremely tired. Give the purest things as required. Thus speedily giving is the fundamental thing, to be perfect in danaparamita. O Cunda! Give the final offerings to the Buddha and Sangha, more or less, full or not full, quick as the occasion requires. The Tathagata will rightly be entering Parinirvana" Cunda said: "O Manjushri! Why is it that you so greedily care about the meal and make me give more or less, full or not full, in answer to the requirement of the occasion? O Manjushri! The Tathagata in the past practised penance for six years and supported himself. Why could he not now when it is just a matter of a moment? O Manjushri! Do you say that the Tathagata, the Right-Enlightened One, truly means to accept this meal? But I definitely know that the Tathagata is the Dharma-Body and that he is no carnal body that partakes of food."

Then the Buddha said to Manjushri: "It is thus, it is thus. It is as Cunda says. Well said, O Cunda! You have already attained the delicate point of great Wisdom and you now master the Mahayana sutras." Manjushri said to Cunda: "You say that the Tathagata is an Uncreate; the Tathagata's body is of long life. If this is said, the Tathagata will be pleased." Cunda answered: "The Tathagata is not pleased with me alone; he is also pleased with all beings." Manjushri said: "The Tathagata will be pleased with you and with all of us beings." Cunda answered: "Do not say that the Tathagata is pleased. Now, to get pleased is an inverted mind. An inverted mind is birth and death. Birth and death are of created existence. So, O Manjushri! Do not say that the Tathagata is a created existence. If you say that the Tathagata is a created existence, I and you commit an inversion [of truth]. O Manjushri! The Tathagata has no thought of love [attachment]. Now, love is like the case of a milking cow which, loving her own child, feels hunger and thirst, goes and seeks water-grass, and whether satisfied or not, suddenly turns back. The All-Buddha-World-Honoured One does not have such a mind. He sees all as equally as he sees Rahula. To think thus is what applies in the world of Wisdom of the All-Enlightened One. O Manjushri! For example, a carriage drawn by a donkey cannot stand comparison with one drawn by the four trained horses of a king. The case with me and you is also like this. It is impossible to fathom the minute and hidden depths of what is with the Tathagata, even if we try. O Manjushri! The garuda flies innumerable yojanas in the sky. He looks down on the great sea and sees such things of the water as fish, soft-shelled turtles, snapping turtles, crocodiles, tortoises, and nagas, and also his own shadow reflected in the water. He sees all these just as one sees all visible forms in a mirror. The petty wisdom of the common mortal cannot well weigh what comes to his eye. The same is the case with me and you too. We cannot weigh the Tathagata's Wisdom." Manjushri said to Cunda: "It is thus, it is thus. It is as you say. It is not that I do not see this. I only meant to test you regarding what belongs to the world of a Bodhisattva."

Then, the World-Honoured One shot forth from his moth a light of various colours. The light shone brightly on Manjushri's body. Shone upon by this light, Manjushri fathomed this out. Then he said to Cunda: "The Tathagata now shows this wonderful scene. He will enter Nirvana before long. The last offerings that you carried in some time ago will best be offered to the Buddha and then given to all those who are congregated here. O Cunda! Know that it is not without reason that the Tathagata lets shine this light of various colours." On hearing this, Cunda was silent and sad. The Buddha said to Cunda: "It is now time for you to give offerings to the Buddha and congregation. The Tathagata will rightly enter Parinirvana." He then said this a second and a third time. Then, at these words of the Buddha, Cunda cried and wailed, sorrowfully sobbed and said: "Woe is the day, woe is the day! The world is empty."

Also, he said to the great assembly: "Let us all cast down our whole body to the ground and beseech the Buddha not to enter Parinirvana." Then the Buddha said to Cunda: "Do not cry and unsettle your mind. Think that this body is like a plantain, a mirage in the hot season, watery foam, a phantom, a transformed body, the castle of a gandharva, an unfired brick, lightning, a picture drawn on water, a prisoner facing death, ripe fruit, a piece of meat, the warp on a loom which is about to end, and the ups and downs of a mortar. You should think that all created things are like poisonous food and that anything made is possessed of all worries."

At this, Cunda said again to the Buddha: "The Tathagata does not wish to stay long in life. How can we not weep? Woe is the world, woe is the world! The world is empty. I only pray that you Tathagata will pity all us beings. Please stay long and do not enter Nirvana." The Buddha said to Cunda: "Do not say such as "Love us and stay long in life. "As I pity you and all beings, I today enter Nirvana. Why? This is what is true of all Buddhas. This is so with what is created. That is why all Buddhas say in a gatha:

"The law of what is created

Is by nature non-eternal.

Life ended, we leave the world;

Extinction is bliss."

O Cunda! Now, meditate upon all that is made, that is composite. Think that all things are not-Self and are non-eternal, and that nothing endures. This carnal body has innumerable wrongs. All is like watery foam. So, do not weep."

Then Cunda again said to the Buddha: "It is thus, it is thus! All is as you kindly teach me. The Tathagata enters Nirvana for expediency's sake. But I cannot help being sad. Be this as it may, I bethink me and feel glad." The Buddha praised Cunda and said: "Well said, well said! You well know that the Tathagata, following the way of all beings, enters Nirvana for expediency's sake. Hear me well! It is as in the case in which sarasa [eastern bean goose] birds all gather at Lake Anavatapta [Manasarwar] in the spring months. The same is the case with all Buddhas. All gather here. O Cunda! Think not long or short regarding the life of all Buddhas. All things are like phantoms. The Tathagata lives in between. What he has is expediency; he does not cling. Why not? It is thus with the Dharma of all Buddhas. O Cunda! I now take what you offer. This is to allow you to cross the river of birth and death. Man or heaven who make offerings [to Buddha] for the last time, all gain an unshakable recompense and will be blessed with happiness. Why? Because I am the best field of weal for all beings. If you desire to become a field of weal for all beings, take whatever is given you. Do not tarry long."

Then Cunda, for the sake of the emancipation of all beings, hung his head and suppressed his tears, and said to the Buddha: "Very well, O World-Honoured One! When I am worthy of becoming a field of weal, I shall be able to fathom the Nirvana or non-Nirvana of the Tathagata. Now we and all sravakas and pratyekabuddhas are like mosquitoes or sawflies, and cannot well weigh the Nirvana or non-Nirvana of the Tathagata."

Then Cunda and his relatives all wept sorrowfully and walked around the body of the Tathagata, burnt incense, strew flowers, and most sincerely paid homage to the Buddha, and then stood up together with Manjushri, and brought forward the utensils of offerings."

Chapter Three: On Grief

"Not long after Cunda had left that place, the great earth shook in six ways. Thus went things in Brahma's heaven.

Of shaking, there are two kinds: one is a shaking and the other a great shaking. The little shaking is a [mere] shaking and the one that shakes greatly is a great shaking. The one that generates a small sound is a shaking, and the one that generates a great sound is a great shaking. The shaking where only the earth shakes is a shaking, and that where the mountains, forests, rivers, seas and everything else shakes is a great shaking. That which shakes in one direction is a shaking, and that which shakes round and round is a great shaking. The type that moves is a shaking, and the type where beings' minds get shaken is a great shaking. The shaking which occurs when the Bodhisattva comes down from Tushita Heaven to Jambudvipa is a great shaking. The shakings when the Bodhisattva takes birth on this earth, when he leaves home, attains unsurpassed Enlightenment, turns the wheel of Dharma, and enters Parinirvana are great shakings. Today the Tathagata was about to enter Nirvana. That is why the earth shook.

Then, all the heavens, nagas, gandharvas, asuras, garudas, kimnaras, mahoragas, humans, and non-humans heard this and their hair stood on end and, in one voice, they cried out and wailed. They said in a gatha:

"O Trainer of men! We now bow and beseech you!

We are parting from the Rishi of men.

We have no hope of being saved.

We now see you the Buddha enter Nirvana

And we are in the sea of suffering.

We are sad and worried, like a calf parting from its mother cow.

Poverty-stricken and with none to save us are we.

We are like one stricken with illness who, having no doctor,

Must attend to himself and partake of food not suitable for illness.

Beings are caught in Illusion.

They are always hindered by views of life.

They are parted from the healing Dharma-King

And they take drugs that are poisonous.

Because of this, the World-Honoured One

Abandons us. This is as when, without a king,

The people in the land get attacked by hunger.

The same is the case with us.

We have no shade of any tree, no taste of Dharma.

Now, hearing that the Buddha will enter Nirvana, our mind snaps,

Just as a great shaking destroys all places.

The great Rishi enters Nirvana and the sun

Of the Buddha sinks down to the ground.

The waters of Dharma are all dried up.

It is certain that we will die.

Beings are extremely worried as the Tathagata now enters Parinirvana.

This is like the son of a rich man who has just lost his parents.

The Tathagata enters Nirvana, and if he is nevermore to return,

We and all beings shall have no one to protect us.

As the Tathagata enters Nirvana, the animals and all others are sad and in fear;

Their minds burn in worry. How should we not be worried today?

The Tathagata abandons us just as we cast off tears and spittle.

For example, when the sun first shows itself, its light burns brightly.

It turns round and shines by itself, removing all darkness.

The divine light of the Tathagata well does away with our worries.

He is amidst us beings like a Mount Sumeru.

"O World-Honoured One! For example, a king brings up many sons. They look right and proper, and he always loves them in his heart. He first teaches them arts, which they all master. Then he gives them over to the hands of candalas. The same is the case here, O World-honoured One! Today we have become the sons of the Dharma-King. We are taught and we abide in right view. We beseech you not to abandon us. If discarded, we shall be like the sons of the king. Please stay long and do not enter Nirvana. O World-Honoured One! For example, the same is the case with one versed in all phases of learning. The same with the Tathagata. Learned in all phases of Dharma, fear yet arises in all phenomena. If the Tathagata lives long in the world, bestowing on us the manna of Dharma and satisfying us, all of us will have no fear of falling into hell.

"O World-Honoured One! There may be a man who first learns his work. He is taken by government officials and is imprisoned. People come and ask him: "How are you being treated?" "Now, I am in great sorrow and worried. If I were only out of prison, I should feel easy and be at peace." So it is. Is is thus with the World-Honoured One! For our sake, you underwent penance. And yet we are not out of birth and death and worry. How could the Tathagata attain peace?

"O World-Honoured One! It is like a great doctor who is versed in prescription and medicine. He teaches his son the secrets of medicinal preparation, but does not teach such to other students. It is thus with the Tathagata. You impart all these secrets to Manjushri alone and exclude us, without looking back. Please, O Tathagata! Do not be stingy; do not exclude us from the secrets of Dharma, as in the case of the great doctor who imparts [his knowledge] solely to his son and excludes other students. The reason why the doctor begrudges sharing his knowledge with the other students lies in the difference in his love. The heart of the Tathagata is always impartial. Why is it that you do not teach us? Please stay long and do not enter Parinirvana.

"O World-Honoured One! It is like one who is old or young, ill or in pain, and is not on a flat road, but is taking a steep path and may suffer hardship. A person sees this, has pity and points out the way that is flat and good. The same with us, O World-Honoured One! "Young" alludes to one not yet high in the stature of the Dharma-Body. "Old" alludes to one greatly burdened with illusion. "Illness and pain"refers to one who has not yet done away with birth and death. "Steep path" alludes to the 25 existences [the types of existence into which we can transmigrate]. O Tathagata! Show us the sweet right path. Please stay long and do not enter Nirvana."

Then, the World-Honoured One said to all the bhiksus: "O you bhiksus! Do not, like all common mortals and devas, be sad; do not wail! Make effort, be mindful, and abide in right thought." Then, all the devas and asuras, having heard what the Buddha said, stopped wailing, like one who has lost a son and, after the funeral service, suppresses his sorrow and wails no more.

Then the World-Honoured One spoke in a gatha for all the congregation:

"All of you! Open your mind, do not greatly distress yourselves.

The teachings of all Buddhas are thus.

So, keep silence. Try not to be indolent,

Guard your mind, abide in right thought,

Segregate your own selves from unlawful acts;

Console yourselves and be happy.

"Also, next, O bhiksus! If you have any doubts, ask now. If you have doubt as to Void versus non-Void, Eternal versus non-Eternal, Suffering versus non-Suffering, dependent versus non-dependent, gone versus not-gone, refuge versus non-refuge, always versus not-always, impermanence versus the Eternal, beings versus non-beings, "is" versus "not-is", the Real versus the not-Real, the True versus the not-True, extinction versus non-extinction, esoteric versus non-esoteric, and the dual versus the non-dual, I shall speak to you accordingly. For your sake, too, I shall first speak of the manna and then enter Nirvana.

"O bhiksus! It is hard to encounter the appearance of the Buddha in the world. It is hard to be born human. It is hard, too, to encounter the Buddha and gain faith. It is also hard to hear the unhearable. It is hard again to uphold and be perfect in the prohibitive injunctions and to attain arhatship. This is like trying to find gold in sand. It is as in the case of the udumbara. O Bhiksus! It is hard to be born a human, by segregating one's self from the eight inopportune situations [vices that bar the way to meeting the Buddha and hearing his teachings].

"O you! Having now met me, do not go away empty-handed. I underwent hardships in the past, and now I gain all such unsurpassed expedients. For your sake, innumerable kalpas ago, I cast away my body, hands, feet, head, eyes, marrow, and brain. In view of this, do not subject your selves to indolence. O Bhiksus! How do we adorn the treasure-castle of Wonderful Dharma? By adorning our own selves with various virtues and rare gems, and being protected by the bulwarks and moats of the precepts [shila], meditation [dhyana] and Wisdom [prajna]. Now, you have met with this castle of Buddhist teaching. Do not take what is false. For example, a merchant may come across a castle of true treasures, yet gather up such rubbish as tiles and gravel, and return home. The same with you. You have come to a castle of treasures, and yet you take what is false. O all you Bhiksus! Do not be satisfied with a low mind. You are now ordained, but you do not love Mahayana that much. O you Bhiksus! You wear on your bodies the kasaya and dyed robes of a priest, but your mind is still not dyed in the pure Dharma of Mahayana. O you Bhiksus! You go to many places and beg alms, but you do not seek the dishes of the Dharma of Mahayana. O Bhiksus! You shave your hair, but you do not shave off the bond of illusion. O you Bhiksus! I now teach you truly. Now I see that all is in harmony and the Dharma nature of the Tathagata is true and unshakable. So, make effort, all of you! Pick yourselves up, be brave and make away with all the bonds of illusion! If the sun of Wisdom of the 10 powers [of Buddhahood] sinks, darkness will reign over you. O you Bhiksus! It is as when the great earth, mountains, and medicinal herbs all become of use to beings. The same is the case with the Dharma of which I speak. It calls forth wonderfully good and sweet dishes of Dharma and provides the best cure for beings' illnesses of illusion. I shall now make all beings my disciples and the four classes of the Buddhist Sangha abide in the undisclosed teaching of Dharma. I, too, abide in this and enter Nirvana. What is the undisclosed storehouse? It is like the three dots [in Sanskrit] of the letter "i". If they are in a crosswise line, they make no "i". Placed vertically, they again serve no purpose. But when set like the three dots on the brow of Mahesvara, this is "i". If the three dots are written separately, this again serves no purpose. So is it also with me. The Dharma of emancipation is also [by itself] not Nirvana. The Tathagata's body is also not Nirvana. Great Wisdom is also not Nirvana. The three things may exist separately, but this does not constitute Nirvana. I now peacefully abide in the three and say that, for the sake of all beings, I enter Nirvana. This is as in the case of the letter "i".

Then all the bhiksus, on hearing that the Buddha-World-Honoured One would definitely enter Nirvana, were sad. Their hair stood on end and their tears and noses ran. They fell to the ground, touched the Buddha's feet, walked around his person innumerable times, and said to the Buddha: "O World-Honoured One! You explain very well to us the Eternal, Suffering, the All-Void, and non-Self. Just as all beings leave behind footprints and the best of all footprints are those of the elephant, so with this thought of the non-Eternal: it heads all thoughts. One who makes effort and practises well, does away with all love of greed, of the worlds of rupadhatu and arupadhatu, ignorance, arrogance, and the thought of the non-Eternal in this world of desire. O World-Honoured One! If the Tathagata is away from the thought of the non-Eternal, he should not enter Nirvana now. If not, how can you say: "If one practises the meditation upon the non-Eternal, one cuts off from oneself love [craving], ignorance, arrogance, and the non-Eternal of the three worlds?" O World-Honoured One! As a farmer, in autumn, deeply tills the land and thus removes all harmful weeds, so it is the same with this thought of the non-Eternal. It thoroughly rids one of the love of greed, the love of the things of the rupadhatu, arupadhatu, ignorance, arrogance, and the thought of the non-Eternal in the world of desire. O World-Honoured One! Of all tillings of the field, that done in autumn is the best. Of all footprints, that of the elephant is best. And of all thoughts, that of the non-eternal is the best. O World-Honoured One! Analogously, when an emperor is to pass away, amnesty is granted to all prisoners. Then he passes away. The same now with the Tathagata. Please cut off the illusions of the bond of ignorance and non-brightness of all beings, give them emancipation, and then enter Nirvana. We are not yet emancipated. Now, does the Tathagata desert us and enter Nirvana? O World-Honoured One! One may be caught by a demon. But as one comes across a good charmer, by dint of incantation, one can well gain one's release. The same is the case with the Tathagata. For the sake of all sravakas, he expels the devil of ignorance, and lets them abide peacefully, as in the case of the letter "i", in such Laws as the great Wisdom, emancipation, and others. O World-Honoured One! For example, people may bind up a gandhahastin, but even a good trainer cannot get him under control. All of a sudden, it snaps off the rope and chain and walks away as it wills. The same is the case here. We are not yet rid of the 57 illusions. Why does the World-Honoured One desire to abandon us and enter Nirvana? O World-Honoured One! A person suffering from ague obtains a cure for his ailments by encountering a good doctor. The same with us. There are all ailments and sorrows, ill ways of living, fevers, etc. [here]. We have met with the Tathagata, but the illnesses have not gone, and we have not obtained supernal peace and bliss. How can the Tathagata desire to abandon us and enter Nirvana? An intoxicated person does not himself know who is near or not, mother or sister, and is lost in rudeness and lust, and lacks the faculty of speech, and sleeps in defiled places. There happens to be a good doctor [nearby], who gives him medicine. After taking it, he vomits and regains his health; consciousness [conscience] asserts itself and repentance catches him. He reproaches himself very much and regards drink as the root of all vile acts. If he could cut himself free from drinking, his ill acts would cease. The same here. O World-Honoured One! For long, we have been repeating birth and death. We were lost in sensual pleasures and greedily took up the five desires. One who is not mother is taken as mother, not sister as sister, not female as female, and not beings as beings. Because of this, transmigration proceeds and one suffers from birth and death. This is like one intoxicated lying in defilement. O Tathagata! Please give us the medicine of Dharma, and let us vomit up the vile drinks of illusion. We are not yet awakened. Why, O Tathagata, do you mean to abandon us and enter Nirvana?

"O World-Honoured One! There may be a man, for example, who may praise the plantain tree and say that it has hardstuff. But this is not so. The same with beings, O World-Honoured One! We may praise and say that people, beings, life, nursing-up, intellect, doer and recipient are all true. But this cannot be. Thus, we practise non-Self. O World-Honoured One! It is as in the case of water in which rice has been washed or the case of dregs, which are of no use any more. The same with the body too. It has no Self or master. For example, O World-Honoured One! [The plant] saptaparna [alstonia scholaris] has no fragrance. It is thus with this carnal body. It has no Self and no master. Thus we meditate on selflessness. You, the Buddha, say: "All things have no Self and nothing belonging to Self. O you Bhiksus! Learn and practise [this]!" Once this is practised, self-conceit goes away. Self-conceit gone, one enters Nirvana. O World-Honoured One! No tracks of birds exist in the sky. Such can never be. One practising selflessness meditation can have no various views of life. Nothing such as this is possible."

Then, the World-Honoured One praised all the bhiksus and said: "It is good, it is good, that you practise the selflessness meditation." Then all bhiksus said to the Buddhha: "We not only practise the selflessness meditation, but even other meditations, to wit, all those on Suffering, the non-Eternal, and Selflessness. O World-Honoured One! When intoxicated, the mind spins round, and all mountains, rivers, castles, palaces, the sun, moon and stars appear to spin round too. O World-Honoured One! Any person who does not practise the meditation of the non-Eternal and Selflessness cannot be called a sage. Due to indolence, one repeats birth and death. O World-Honoured One! Because of this, we all practise such meditations."

Then the Buddha said to all the bhiksus: "Hear me well, hear me well! Now, you mention the case of an intoxicated person. This refers to knowledge, but not the signification. What do I mean by signification? The intoxicated person sees the sun and moon, which do not move, but he thinks they do. The same is the case with beings. As all illusion and ignorance overhang [the mind], the mind turns upside down and takes Self for non-Self, Eternal for non-Eternal, Purity as non-Pure, and Bliss as sorrow. Overhung by illusion, this thought arises. Though this though arises, the meaning is not gained [realised]. This is as in the case of the intoxicated person who takes what does not move as moving. The Self' signifies the Buddha; 'the Eternal' signifies the Dharmakaya; 'Bliss' signifies Nirvana, and 'the Pure' signifies Dharma. Bhiksus, why is it said that one who has the idea of a Self is arrogant and haughty, traversing round Samsara? Bhiksus, although you might say, 'We also cultivate impermanence, suffering, and non-Self, these three kinds of cultivation have no real value/ meaning. I shall now explain the excellent three ways of cultivating Dharma. To think of suffering as Bliss and to think of Bliss as suffering, is perverse Dharma; to think of the impermanent as the Eternal and to think of the Eternal as impermanent is perverse Dharma; to think of the non-Self [anatman]as the Self [atman] and to think of the Self [atman] as non-Self [anatman] is perverse Dharma; to think of the impure as the Pure and to think of the Pure as impure is perverse Dharma. Whoever has these four kinds of perversion, that person does not know the correct cultivation of dharmas. Bhiksus, you give rise to the idea of Bliss with regard to phenomena associated with suffering; the idea of Eternity with regard to phenomena associated with impermanence; the idea of the Self with regard to phenomena without Self; and the idea of Purity with regard to phenomena that are impure. Both the mundane and also the supramundane have the Eternal, Bliss, the Self, and Purity. Mundane teachings [dharmas] have letters and are without meaning [referents]; the Supramundane [teachings] have letters and meaning. Why? Because mundane people have these four perversions, they are unacquainted with the [true] meaning/ referents. Why? Having these perverse ideas, their minds and vision are distorted. Through these three perversions, mundane people see suffering in Bliss, impermanence in the Eternal, non-Self in the Self, and impurity in the Pure. These are called perversions/ inversions. Because of these perversions/ inversions, mundane people know the letters but not the meaning [referents]. What is the meaning/referent? Non-Self is Samsara, the Self is the Tathagata; impermanence is the sravakas and pratyekabuddhas, the Eternal is the Tathagata's Dharmakaya; suffering is all tirthikas, Bliss is Nirvana; the impure is all compounded [samskrta] dharmas , the Pure is the true Dharma that the Buddha and Bodhisattvas have. This is called non-perversion/ non-inversion. By not being inverted [in one's views], one will know [both] the letter and the meaning. If one desires to be freed from the four perverse/ inverted [views - catur-viparita-drsti], one should know the Eternal, Blissful, the Self and the Pure in this manner."

Then, all the bhiksus said to the Buddha: "O World-Honoured One! As you say, if we segregate ourselves from the four inversions, we shall know the Eternal, Bliss, Self, and the Pure. As you have eternally cut off the four inversions, you know well the Eternal, Bliss, Self, and the Pure. If you know well the Eternal, Bliss, Self, and the Pure, why not stay here a kalpa or half a kalpa, and teach us and turn us away from the inversions? And yet you abandon us and desire to enter Nirvana. If you look back at us and teach us, we shall surely listen and practise the Way with all attention. If the Tathagata must at all costs enter Nirvana, how would we be able to remain with this poisoned body and carry out the actions of the Way? We would also follow the Buddha-World-Honoured One and enter Nirvana."

Then the Buddha said to all the bhiksus: "Do not say this. I now leave all the unsurpassed Dharma in the hands of Mahakasyapa. This Kasyapa will henceforth be the one upon whom you may rely. This is as in the case where the Tathagata becomes the one to whom all beings can turn. The same is the case with Mahakasyapa. He will now become your refuge. This is as in the case of a king who has many territories and who goes on a tour of inspection, leaving all affairs of state in the hands of his minister. The same with the Tathagata. All right teachings are left in the hands of Mahakasyapa. Know that all that you have learned up to now about the non-eternal and suffering is not true. In spring, for example, people go bathing in a big pond. They are enjoying themselves, sailing in a boat, when they drop a gem of beryl into the depths of the water, after which it can no longer be seen. Then they all get into the water and search for this gem. They competitively scoop up all such rubbish as tiles, stones, bits of wood, and gravel, and say that they have the beryl. They are glad and take the things out, and see that what they hold in their hands is not true. The gem is still in the water. By the power of the gem itself, the water becomes clear and transparent. As a result, the people see that the gem is still in the water, as clearly as when they look up and see the form of the moon in the sky. At that time, there is a wise man there who, working out a power, slowly gets into the water and gains the gem. O you Bhiksus! Do not abide in the thought of the non-Eternal, Suffering, non-Self, and the not-Pure and be in the situation of those people who take stones, bits of wood, and gravel to be the true gem. You must study well the Way, how to act, wherever you go, and “meditate on the Self, the Eternal, Bliss, and the Pure”. Know that the outer forms of the four items which you have learnt up to now are inversions and that anyone who desires to practise the Way should act like the wise man who deftly gets hold of the gem. This refers to the so-called thought of Self, and that of the Eternal, Bliss, and Pure."

Then all the bhiksus said to the Buddha: "O World-Honoured One! You, the Buddha, said before that all things have no Self, that we should practise this and that, when practised, the thought of Self goes away, and that once the thought of Self is done away with, one does away with arrogance and that, arrogance once done away with, one gains Nirvana. Thus did you say "How might we understand this?"

The Buddha said to all the bhiksus: "Well said, well said! You ask this question and intend to dispel your doubt. Imagine: there is a king, who is dull-witted. He has little wisdom. And there is a doctor, who is obstinate. But the King does not know this and pays him a salary. This doctor uses the products of milk to cure all illnesses. Also, he does not know where the illnesses come from. He may be versed in the medicine of milk, but for him there exists no difference between a cold and a fever. He prescribes milk for all illnesses. This King was unaware that this doctor was ignorant of the pleasing and non-pleasing, the good and bad aspects of milk. But there was a Doctor who knew eight different treatments for illnesses and who was able to cure all diseases. This Doctor was versed in prescription and medicines and had come from a far-off place. And the King's doctor did not know how to ask and learn. He was rash and haughty. So the learned Doctor cordially invited the King's doctor and looked up to him [as an expedient] as his master and asked of him the secret of treatment. He said to the King's doctor: "I now invite you and make you my teacher. Please be good enough to teach me." The King's doctor said: "If you serve me for 48 years, I will teach you the art of medicine. " Then, at these words, the learned Doctor said: "I shall do as you tell me. I shall do my best and run errands." Then the King's doctor, taking the learned Doctor along with him, went to see the King. At this, the visiting Doctor explained to the King the various ways of treatment and even other things. He said: "Please know, O great King! Know well! This Dharma is like this and you will well cure illnesses." On hearing this, the King recognised the ignorance and lack of knowledge of his own doctor. He at once drove him out of the country. And he respected the new Doctor all the more. Then the new Doctor said to himself: "It is now time to teach the King." He said to the King: "O great King! If you truly love me, please make me a promise!" The King replied: "I shall give you, should you desire it, even my right hand or any part of my body." The new Doctor said: "You may give me all statuses, but I myself do not wish to have much. What I desire you to do for me is to proclaim to the people of every corner of your land that henceforth they are not to use the milk medicine, which the former doctor told them to use. Why not? Because much harm and poisonous results arise [from it]. Any person who still takes this medicine should be beheaded. If the milk medicine is not used, there will be no untimely deaths; all will go in peace. That is why I ask this of you." Then the King said: "What you ask me to do is a trifle. I shall at once issue an order and see to it that anyone who is ill does no take milk as a medicine. Any person who does will be beheaded." At this, the learned Doctor made several kinds of medicine, which tasted pungent, butter, salty, sweet, and sour. With these, treatment was given, and there was no case in which illness could not be cured.

"After some time, the King himself became ill, and the Doctor was called in. The King said: "I am now ill. How am I to be cured?" The Doctor thought about the illness of the King and saw that the milk medicine was good [here]. So he said to the King: "What you are now suffering from can very well be cured by milk. What I said before about the milk medicine was not true. If you take it now, you will be cured. You are now suffering from a fever. It is right that you should take milk." Then the King said to the Doctor: "Are you mad? Is it a fever? And you say that if I take milk, it will cure me? Before, you said it was poison. Now you tell me to take it. How is this? Do you mean to cheat me? What the former doctor said was good, [yet] you despised it and said that it was poison, and you made me drive him away. Now you say that it well cures illness. From you you say, the former doctor ought to excel you."

"Then the learned Doctor said to the King: "O King! Do not say this, please. A worm eats on [a piece of] wood and [the shape of] a letter comes out. This worm does not know anything of letters. A wise person sees this. But he does not say that this worm understands letters. And he is not overcome by surprise. O great King! Please know: so was it also with the former doctor. To all illnesses he gave medicine made from milk. This is as in the case of the worm that eats on wood, as a result of which a form like a letter emerges. The former doctor did not know how to distinguish between the pleasing and non-pleasing aspects, the good and the bad." Then the King wanted to know: "What do you mean he did not know?" The guest Doctor answered the King: "This milk medicine is harmful, but it is also a manna."  "How can you say that this milk is manna?" "If you milking cow has not taken the lees, the slippery grass and the wheat refuse, and if the calf fares well, and if the cow was not grazed too high up on the land or in a low and wet place, if the cow is given pure water and not made to run or made to live among the bulls, and if feeding is done regularly, and if the place it lives in is fit, the milk gained from such a cow well does away with all illnesses. This can well be called the manna of medicine. Any other milk is poison."

"On hearing this, the King praised the great Doctor: "Well said, well said, O great Doctor! Today, for the first time in my life, I know of the pleasing and non-pleasing, that which is good and not good in the milk medicine. Taking this, I am now well. I shall at once proclaim to the people that they may well take the milk medicine." On hearing this, the people of the country, angry and resentful, said: "The great King is now caught by a devil. Is he mad? He cheats us and makes us take milk." All the people, angry and resentful, came to the King. The King said to them: "Be not angry, and have no resentment. To take milk or not to take it all comes from the science of medicine. I am not to blame." At this, the great King and the people all jumped for joy. They all the more respected and honoured the Doctor, and made offerings to him. That is how all the people took the milk medicine and regained their health.

"Know, O you Bhiksus! The same is the case with the Tathagata, the Alms-deserving, the All-Enlightened-One, the Unsurpassed Best Trainer, the Teacher-of-Heaven-and-Earth, the Buddha-World-Honoured One. He comes as a great Doctor and subdues all tirthikas and bad doctors. In the presence of kings and all people, he says: "I shall become the King of doctors and subdue tirthikas." Thus we say: "There is no self, no man, no being, no life, no nurturing, no knowing, none that does, and none that receives." O Bhiksus! Know that what the tirthikas say is like the case of a worm that eats upon [a piece of] wood, from which, by chance, there appears what looks like a letter. Because of this, the Tathagata teaches and says no-self. This is to adjust beings and because he is aware of the occasion. Such non-self is, as occasion arises, spoken of, and it is [also] said that there is the Self. This is as in the case of the learned Doctor, who knows well the medicinal and non-medicinal qualities of milk. It is not as with common mortals, who might measure the size of their own self. Common mortals and the ignorant may measure the size of their own self and say, 'It is like the size of a thumb, like a mustard seed, or like the size of a mote.' When the Tathagata speaks of Self, in no case are things thus. That is why he says: 'All things have no Self.'

Even though he has said that all phenomena [dharmas] are devoid of the Self, it is not that they are completely/ truly devoid of the Self. What is this Self? Any phenomenon [dharma] that is true [satya], real [tattva], eternal [nitya], sovereign/ autonomous/ self-governing [aisvarya], and whose ground/ foundation is unchanging [asraya-aviparinama], is termed 'the Self' [atman]. This is as in the case of the great Doctor who well understands the milk medicine. The same is the case with the Tathagata. For the sake of beings, he says "there is the Self in all things"  O you the four classes! Learn Dharma thus!"