The Diamond Sutra

‘Furthermore, Subhuti, self-identical is that dharma, and nothing is therein at variance. Therefore is it called ‘utmost, right and perfect enlightenment’. Self-identical through the absence of a self, a being, a soul, or a person, the utmost, right and perfect enlightenment is fully known as the totality of all the wholesome dharmas. ‘Wholesome dharmas, wholesome dharmas’, Subhiti — yet as no-dharmas have they been taught by the Tathagate. Therefore are they called ‘wholesome dharmas’.’ (Edward Conze translation)

‘Furthermore, Subhuti, that mind is everywhere equally. Because it is neither high nor low, it is called the highest, most fulfilled, awakened mind. The fruit of the highest, most fulfilled, awakened mind is realized through the practice of all wholesome actions in the spirit of nonself, not-person, non-living being, and non-life span. Subhuti, what are called wholesom actions are in fact not wholesome actions. That is why they are called wholesome actions.’ (Thich Nhat Hanh translation)

I won’t deny that while the Conze version is wonderful to recite out loud, when I read the Thich Nhat Hanh version, I had to go back and look at the former again, as I could not remember any passage in it that corresponded to the latter, which, all head-scratching about emptiness aside, is somewhat easier to grasp.

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