Vajra Prajna Paramita Sutra
Sutra: Vajra Prajna Paramita Sutra
“Vajra Prajna Paramita Sutra” is one of the most important sutras from Prajna Paramita, or "Perfection of Wisdom". This sutra emphasizes the practice of non-abiding and non-attachment.
“Vajra Prajna Paramita Sutra” is commonly named as “Diamond Sutra” because diamond has a firm chemical structure. No matter it is under extreme heat or coldness, diamonds will not alter its structure a bit. Diamond or thunderbolt is a metaphor that Prajna Paramita, or the Perfect Wisdom, can shatter the illusions of this world and help practitioners discover the ultimate reality. Furthermore, diamond is used as a paraphrase to Buddha's teaching because the ultimate truth will not be altered by time, place and illusion.
“Diamond Sutra” is written as a dialogue between Shakyamuni Buddha and a disciple named Subhuti. The conversation involves about the nature of the “Perfection of Insight” and the nature of "Ultimate Reality”.
Buddha first states that he will bring all living beings to enter Nirvana, but afterward Buddha overturns his statement by saying that " there is actually no living being taken across to extinction". It is because Bodhisattvas do not see sentient beings through reified concepts such as 'person', 'soul' or 'self', but see them through the view of perfect understanding.
This interesting concept, or the “logic of not”, also applies to phenomena, emptiness, merit, Dharma(Buddha's teaching), enlightenment and even Buddha himself.
The phrases below are also “logic of not” from “Diamond Sutra”.
“Subhuti, Prajna Paramita is spoken of by the Buddha as no Prajna Paramita, therefore it is called Prajna Paramita”.
“Subhuti, in the Dharma spoken there is no Dharma which can be spoken, therefore it is called the Dharma spoken”.
Buddha uses these examples to shatter Subhuti’s preconceived nature of reality. Emphasizing that all phenomena are illusory due to nothing is fixed or permanent, he teaches that the true enlightenment cannot be grasped until practitioner has set attachment aside from any form and substance. “Diamond Sutra” point outs that self-existence due to sensations, coming from six senses and ordinary mind, is actually an illusion.
Therefore, the concept of " I have attained Arhatship " or "I will bring living beings to Nirvana" does not even occur in the mind of an enlightened Buddha because this would be an " attachment to self, to others, to living beings, and to a life." Indeed, “Diamond Sutra” goes on to state that anyone who says such things should not even call himself as a Bodhisattva.
In conclusion, the key messages behind “Diamond Sutra” are to have a mind free from fixed substances, to avoid attachment to self, to liberate sentient beings without notions of self and other, to live without attachment, and to cultivate without attainment.