Diamond Sutra – self, others, beings, immortals

Diamond Sutra – self, others, beings, immortals – 金刚经 – 我相,人相,众生相,寿者相

In this Chapter, Buddha described the essential nature of Bodhisattva (enlightened beings that serves in this world): transcendence of the notion of: self, others, beings, and immortals.

self: a separate sense of individual self
others: what appears outside of one’s self
beings: the collective living beings
immortals: any part of life, form or no-form, that continue to exist indefinitely

Why does Bodhisattva not attached to the above 4?  For a Bodhisattva is a state of enlightenment which is beyond separation or duality.  And alignment with self, others, beings, or immortality implies separation in various levels.

Therefore, the Buddha described that a Bodhisattva that clings to the notion of these 4 is not a real Bodhisattva:  I.e. there is no “one” that can be Bodhisattva, no Bodhisattva who could perceive “others” or “collective beings”, and no Bodhisattva who could “last” forever.  Clinging or attachment to these 4 notions, therefore, represents sidetracks to, or misunderstanding of, the pathway of Bodhisattva towards spiritual enlightenment.

This transcendence of separation and opposition, as a key direction in spiritual cultivation, is basically in line with the Daoist notion of non-duality, represented in the Tai-chi diagram, which embraces and transcends separations and opposites (Yin and Yang) in perfect harmony.

* * *



佛告须菩提:诸菩萨摩诃萨应如是降伏其心!所有一切众生之类:若卵生、若胎生、若湿生、 若化生;若有色、若无色;若有想、若无想、若非有想非无想,我皆令入无余涅槃而灭度之。如是灭度无量无数无边众生,实无众生得灭度者。

何以故? 须菩提!若菩萨有我相、人相、众生相、寿者相,即非菩萨。
The Buddha said: “Subhuti, “all Bodhisattvas and Mahasattvas should subdue their minds as follows: “All living beings born from eggs, wombs, humidity or by transformation, with or without form, either thoughtful or thoughtless,and neither thoughtful nor thoughtless, are all led by me to the final nirvana for the extinction of reincarnation. Although immeasurable, uncountable and unlimitable numbers of living beings are thus led to (the final nirvana for) the extinction of reincarnation, it is true that not a living being is led there.

Why so, Subhuti? (Because) if a Bodhisattva (still) clings to the false notion (laksana) of an ego, a personality, a being and a life, he is not ( a true) Bodhisattva.在这一章中,佛描述了菩萨(觉悟有情)都超越了的素质:我,人,众生,和寿者。





* * *


佛告须菩提:诸菩萨摩诃萨应如是降伏其心!所有一切众生之类:若卵生、若胎生、若湿生、 若化生;若有色、若无色;若有想、若无想、若非有想非无想,我皆令入无余涅槃而灭度之。如是灭度无量无数无边众生,实无众生得灭度者。

何以故? 须菩提!若菩萨有我相、人相、众生相、寿者相,即非菩萨。


5 responses to “Diamond Sutra – self, others, beings, immortals – 金刚经 – 我相,人相,众生相,寿者相”

  1. […] A common theme of each of the 4 above states/levels is that, there is a lack of attachment (and aversion) to the “self” as one’s locus or focus in life.  From the ego’s perspective, it is tempting to claim itself to have arrived, or have attained certain enlightenment states, e.g. i am Arhat, i am Bodhisattva, i am Buddha, etc.  Therefore, in this Chapter, the Buddha specifically warned us that, we should be aware of this potential error, and reject the temptations to identify ourselves to any of these states, no matter whole holy or magnificent they are, or how fitting our lives might seem to the descriptions.  If we say we attained any of this states, we fall into the identification errors of a self, others, beings, immortals (see also earlier post: Diamond Sutra – self, others, beings, immortals). […]

  2. […] there was no abiding in the false notion of self, others, beings and immortals (see early post  Diamond Sutra – self, others, beings, immortals).  Together with high level of practice in concentration and wisdom, the Buddha was not moved and […]

  3. […] the importance of setting our spiritual intention beyond form, and we also learnt the importance of not following the notions of a self, others, beings, and immortality in our practice.  One may ask, without the notion of the self, how can we set our spiritual […]

  4. […] when one accepts the notion that “I shall liberate unlimited beings”, the notion of a self, others, world, and immortality arises and one falls into the realm of ego and mortality.  Even in the worldly realm, we can see […]

  5. […] Further to his earlier teaching “are we living beings, are we not“, the Buddha reminds Subhuti again in this chapter, “don’t think that I have liberated any being, for if you think so, i will be fallen into the limitation of a self, others, beings, and immortals“. […]

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *