Gems of Chinese Literature/Kumârajiva-Faith is the Substance

Gems of Chinese Literature  (1922)  translated by Herbert Allen Giles
Faith is the Substance by Kumārajīva


5th Century a.d.

[An Indian missionary monk who reached the Chinese capital, in order to preach the gospel of Buddha, in a.d. 401. He translated various sûtras into Chinese, from one of which, the so-called “Diamond Sûtra,” the following passages have been taken. At his death, about 412-417 b.c., his body was cremated, but his tongue remained unhurt in the midst of the fire.]

O Subhûti, if a good man, or a good woman, were to give up in the morning as many of his or her lives (in re-births) as there are sands in the river Ganges, and to do the same at noonday, and again in the evening, and to continue to do this every day for an innumerable number of kalpas, each of an innumerable number of years; and if, on the other hand, there should be one who, having heard this sûtra, should yield up his heart to implicit belief then the happiness of this last would exceed the happiness of that other. And much more would this be so if he were to write out this sûtra, hold fast to it himself, and recite and explain it to others. O Subhûti, let me state its importance. This sûtra has a merit which cannot be conceived of by thought, and cannot be estimated by weight or measurement.

If any one looks for me through the medium of form,
Or seeks me through the medium of sound,
Such a man is walking in a heterodox path,
And will not be able to see the Lord Buddha.

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