The Essential Scripture...

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The Essential Scriptures of the Buddha and Patriarchs

The Diamond Prajñāpāramitā Sūtra

Section 3

The Buddha addressed Subhuti, “All bodhisattva-mahāsattvas should in this wise quell their minds: all species of sentient beings, whether oviparous, viviparous, moisture-born, or spontaneously generated, whether material or immaterial, conscious, unconscious, or neither conscious nor unconscious—I will ferry them all across to extinction by enabling them to access the nirvāṇa that is without remainder (anupadiśeṣanirvāṇa). I will in this wise ferry across to extinction limitless, innumerable, and boundless numbers of sentient beings, but in reality there are no sentient beings to be ferried across to extinction. Why is this? Subhuti, if bodhisattvas retain any conception of a self (ātmasaṃjñā), a person (pudgalasaṃjñā), a living being (sattvasaṃjñā), or a soul (jīvasaṃjñā; lit. “possessing a lifespan”), they are in fact not bodhisattvas.