hat is never cast off, seized, interrupted, constant, extinguished, and produced--this is called Nirvana. Indeed, Nirvana is not strictly in the nature of ordinary existence for, if it were, there would wrongly follow the characteristics of old age and death. For, such an existence cannot be without those characteristics. If Nirvana is strictly in the nature of ordinary existence, it would be of the created realm. For, no ordinary existence of the uncreated realm ever exists anywhere at all. If Nirvana is strictly in the nature of ordinary existence, why is it non-appropriating? For, no ordinary existence that is non-appropriating ever exists. If Nirvana is not strictly in the nature of ordinary existence, how could what is in the nature of non-existence be Nirvana? Where there is no existence, equally so, there can be no non-existence. If Nirvana is in the nature of non-existence, why is it non-appropriating? For, indeed, a non-appropriating non-existence does not prevail. The status of the birth-death cycle is due to existential grasping [of the skandhas] and relational condition [of the being]. That which is non-grasping and non-relational is taught as Nirvana. The Teacher has taught the abandonment of the concepts of being and non-being. Therefore, Nirvana is properly neither [in the realm of] existence nor non-existence. If Nirvana is [in the realm of] both existence and non-existence, then liberation will also be both. But that is not proper. If Nirvana is [in the realm of] both existence and non-existence, it will not be non-appropriating. For, both realms are always in the process of appropriating. How could Nirvana be [in the realm of] both existence and non-existence? Nirvana is of the uncreated realm while existence and non-existence are of the created realm. How could Nirvana be [in the realm of] both existence and non-existence? Both cannot be together in one place just as the situation is with light and darkness. The proposition that Nirvana is neither existence nor non-existence could only be valid if and when the realms of existence and non-existence are established. If indeed Nirvana is asserted to be neither existence nor non-existence, then by what means are the assertions to be known? It cannot be said that the Blessed One exists after nirodha (release from worldly desires). Nor can it be said that He does not exist after nirodha, or both, or neither. It cannot be said that the Blessed One even exists in the present living process. Nor can it be said that He does not exist in the present living process, or both, or neither. Samsara (the empirical life-death cycle) is nothing essentially different from Nirvana. Nirvana is nothing essentially different from Samsara. The limits of Nirvana are the limits of Samsara. Between the two, also, there is not the slightest difference whatsoever. The various views concerning the status of life after nirodha, the limits of the world, the concept of permanence, etc., are all based on [such concepts as] Nirvana, posterior and anterior states of existence. Since all factors of existence are in the nature of Emptiness (sunya), why assert the finite, the infinite, both finite and Infinite, and neither finite nor infinite? Why assert the identity, difference, permanence, impermanence, both permanence and impermanence, or neither permanence nor impermanence? All acquisitions [i.e., grasping] as well as play of concepts [i.e., symbolic representation] are basically in the nature of cessation and quiescence. Any factor of experience with regards to anyone at any place was never taught by the Buddha.
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