Diamond Sutra, chapter 28

“If any person were to say that I have constantly referred to myself, or to a universal self, do you think they would have understood my meaning?”

Subhuti replied, “No. They would not have understood the meaning of your teachings. Because when you refer to those things, you are not referring to them literally, you only symbolically. Only in that sense can words be used to explain spiritual truths.”

The Buddha said,

“Subhuti, those who follow the path should put down arbitrary conceptions.”

The Buddha is telling us that we can’t cling to words and concepts on our journey to Awakening. Clinging gets in the way. Words are used as expedient means in the teaching, but really seeing Enlightenment, following the path, is the only way to Awakening. It can’t really be captured in words.

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About Daniel Scharpenburg

Daniel Scharpenburg is an independent dharma teacher living in Kansas City. He gives online teachings through the Open Heart Project. He also runs the Monday Night Zen Group at the Rime Buddhist Center. His writing has appeared in Lion's Roar, Patheos, Tattooed Buddha, and Elephant Journal.

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