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Mahaparinirvana is not Death

Hui Neng, The Sixth Patriarch, said:
The Supreme Maha Parinirvana
Is perfect, permanent, calm, and illuminating.
Common people and ignorant ones miscall it death,
While heretics hold arbitrarily that it is annihilation.
Those who belong to the Sravaka Vehicle or the Pratyeka Buddha Vehicle
Regard it as 'Non-action'.
All these are mere intellectual speculations,
And form the basis of the sixty-two fallacious views.
Since they are mere fictitious names invented for the occasion
They have nothing to do with the Absolute Truth.
Only those of super-eminent mind
Can understand thoroughly what Nirvana is, and take up the attitude of neither attachment nor indifference towards it.
They know that five Skandhas
And the so-called 'ego' arising from the union of these Skandhas,
Together with all external objects and forms
And the various phenomena of sound and voice
Are equally unreal, like a dream or an illusion.
They make no discrimination between a sage and an ordinary man.
Nor do they have any arbitrary concept on Nirvana.
They are above 'Affirmation' and 'Negation' and they break the barrier of the past, the present, and the future.
They use their sense organs, when occasion requires,
But the concept of 'Using' does not arise.
They may particularize on all sorts of things,
But the concept of 'Particularization' does not arise.
Even during the cataclysmic fire at the end of a Kalpa, when ocean-beds are burnt dry,
Or during the blowing of the catastrophic wind when one mountain topples on another,
The real and everlasting bliss of 'Perfect Rest' and 'Cessation of Changes'
Of Nirvana remains in the same state and changes not.
Here I am trying to describe to you something which is ineffable
So that you may get rid of your fallacious views.
But if you do not interpret my words literally
You may perhaps learn a wee bit of the meaning of Nirvana!

Reference:

The Supreme Maha Parinirva: http://www.sinc.sunysb.edu/Clubs/buddhism/huineng/huineng7.html

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