it's amazing how the human mind works...
While it would be nice that if people can realise it the way the last paragraph says it but most people would have learned on Nirvana the way the second paragraph described it though not necessarily from a professor of religion, even from Buddhist Teachers themselves. Then it would be the next level for the hearers of such teaching, taking it to the next level to apply that teaching in their lives to realise its potential.
For some, the breakthrough can come with both paragraphs in play.
Just like how many Bhikshus and Bhikshunis came to the Sixth Ch'an Patriarch and requested him to explain this/that Sutra even though they had read it like umpteen times and years but still are unable to get the point of it and when the Patriarch managed to help them break through it and suddenly they had an insight there and then.
So its like: one must turn the Sutra/Teaching around and not let the Sutra/Teaching turn us around.
http://www.dharmaweb.org/index.php/Sutr ... cumstances
"There is nothing wrong in the Sutra," replied the Patriarch, "so that you should refrain from reciting it. Whether sutra-reciting will enlighten you or not, or benefit you or not, all depends on yourself. He who recites the Sutra with the tongue and puts its teaching into actual practice with his mind 'turns round' the Sutra. He who recites it without putting it into practice is 'turned round' by the Sutra. Listen to my stanza:-- When our mind is under delusion, the Saddharma Pundarika Sutra 'turns us round'.
With an enlightened mind we 'turn round' the Sutra instead.
To recite the Sutra for a considerable time without knowing its principal object
Indicates that you are a stranger to its meaning.
The correct way to recite the Sutra is without holding any arbitrary belief;
Otherwise, it is wrong.
He who is above 'Affirmative' and 'Negative'
Rides permanently in the White Bullock Cart (the Vehicle of Buddha)."
Having heard this stanza, Fa Da was enlightened and moved to tears. "It is quite true," he exclaimed, "that heretofore I was unable to 'turn round' the Sutra. It was rather the Sutra that 'turned' me round."
That is definately a perfect quote for this teaching.
If you observe your mind carefully, anytime anyone says "eternal self" , it immediately brings into mind a construct of some form/consciousness of yourself THAT IS ESSENTIALLY A MIND CONSTRUCT.
If I say "eternal Tathagatha" -- you will notice that your mind will make a picture of the Tathagatha, or think of bodiless voice of light! -- But all of this is wrong view -- a false construct of the mind
, your mind can't free itself of formative thoughts without direct realization.
So as soon as you say "eternal this" or "eternal that" the human mind makes a false construct -causing a literal wrong view -- or blockage of insight.
"The Tathagata, having shattered and defeated the four Maras by the incomparable victory of a Buddha, gained the Dharmakaya which is superior to all the worlds and which cannot conceivably be witnessed by any sentient being.
In other words, any being dependant on the senses cannot witness the Tathagatha with the senses (including mind)
"Lord, the Tathagatagarbha is neither self nor sentient being, nor soul, nor personality. The Tathagatagarbha is not the domain of beings who fall into the belief in a real personality,
8-9. The Dharmakaya and the Meaning of Voidness
"Lord, the cessation of suffering is not the destruction of Dharma. Why so? Because the Dharmakaya of the Tathagata is named 'cessation of suffering,' and it is beginningless, uncreate, unborn, undying, free from death; permanent, steadfast, calm, eternal; intrinsically pure, free from all the defilement-store;
10. The One Truth
"Lord, among those four Noble Truths, three Truths are impermanent and one Truth is permanent. Why so? Because the three Truths belong to the characteristic of the constructed, and anything belonging to the characteristic of the constructed is impermanent. Anything impermanent has an illusory nature. Everything with illusory nature is untrue, impermanent, and not a refuge. Therefore, the Noble Truths of Suffering, Source of Suffering, and Path leading to the Cessation of Suffering are actually untrue, impermanent, and not a refuge. Lord, among those [four], the one Truth -- Cessation of Suffering -- excludes the realm with the characteristic of the constructed. Anything excluding the realm with the characteristic of the constructed is permanent. Whatever is permanent lacks an illusory nature. Anything that lacks an illusory nature is true, permanent, and a refuge. Therefore, the Truth -- Cessation of Suffering -- is in reality true, permanent, and a refuge.
I love how the above relates the permanence of the Noble Truth of the Cessation of suffering to the Dharmakaya!
Beautiful realizations! Definately a sutra worth studying if you want to understand the Mahayana in a succint manner!:twothumbsup: