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ULTIMATELY THERE IS NO SELF, SEVENTEEN
At the time, Subhuti asked the Buddha:
“World Honoured One, if a virtuous man or woman is determined to develop the Supreme Enlightened Mind,
“how should his or her mind abide and how should it be subdued?”
The Buddha said to Subhuti:
“A virtuous man or woman who is determined to develop the Supreme Enlightened Mind,
“should thus develop it:
“I have to lead all living beings to put a stop to (reincarnation) and escape (suffering),
“and when they have been so led, not one of them in fact stops (reincarnating) or escapes suffering.
“Because, Subhuti, if a Bodhisattva clings to the notion of an ego, a personality, a being and a life, he is not a (true) Bodhisattva.
“Because, Subhuti, there is not really a Dharma which can develop the Supreme-Enlightenment-Mind.
“Subhuti, what do you think?
“When the Tathagata was with Dipamkara Buddha, did He have any Dharma by means of which He attained Supreme Enlightenment (Anuttara-samyak-sambodhi)?”
“No, World Honoured One.
“As I understand the meaning of the Buddha's teaching,
“when He was with Dipamkara Buddha,
“He had no Dharma by means of which He attained ‘Supreme Enlightenment’”.
The Buddha said: “Just so! Subhuti, just so!
“There was really no Dharma by means of which the Tathagata attained Supreme
“Subhuti, if there had been,
“Dipamkara Buddha would not have predicted:
“In your next life, you will be a Buddha named Sakyamuni".
“Why is it? Because ‘Tathagata’ means the suchness of all Dharmas.
“If someone still says: ‘The Tathagata obtained Supreme Enlightenment,’
“(I tell you,) Subhuti, there is no Dharma by means of which the Buddha did so,
“(because), Subhuti, that Enlightenment was by itself neither real nor unreal.
“This is why the Tathagata says that all Dharmas are Buddha's Dharmas.
“Subhuti, these so-called Dharmas are not, but are (expediently), called all Dharmas.
“Subhuti, supposing there is a man whose body is great.”
Subhuti said: “World Honoured One, the great body of which the Tathagata speaks is not great, but is (expediently) called a great body.”
“Subhuti, in like manner, if a Bodhisattva says: ‘I should lead uncountable living beings to put a stop to (reincarnation) and escape (from suffering)’, he cannot be called a Bodhisattva.
“Because there is really no dharma called the Bodhisattva (stage).
“Therefore, the Buddha says:
“Of all dharmas, there is not a single one which possesses an ego, a
personality, a being and a life.
“Subhuti, if a Bodhisattva says: ‘I should adorn Buddha lands’, he cannot be called a Bodhisattva.
“Because when the Tathagata speaks of such adornment it is not, but is (expediently), called adornment.
“if a Bodhisattva is thoroughly versed in (the doctrine of) the unreality of ego and of things (dharma), the Tathagata will call him a true Bodhisattva.