The Diamond Sutra (金剛經 Thunder-Vajra Sutra) in 32 phrases: (The oldest actual manuscript text found in the Dunhuang Caves),
the Thunder-Vajra sutra is the basis for Zen, and Tantric Buddhist practice. For the complete text, see Alex Johnson’s excellent on-line version, Diamond Sutra, a new Translation.

1. Eat, put away bowl and cloak, wash the feet, sit with his legs crossed and body upright, fix attention in front of self; (the basic Zen posture) 2. Subdue judgmental thoughts and craving desires, attain tranquility and clarity of mind, by dwelling on these Thunder-Vajra teachings. 3. Clinging to arbitrary illusions of form or phenomena, ego, personality, self, a separate person, or a universal self-existing eternally, is not an authentic practice. 4. Practice compassion and charity without any attachment to appearances, idea or form. 5. When you see that all forms are illusive and unreal, only then you will begin to perceive your true Buddha (potency to be compassionate) nature. 6. Anyone who seeks enlightened compassion must discard all concepts of self, others, or of a universal self, and all notions of the non-existence of such concepts. 7. Buddha disciples are not enlightened by a set methods or teachings, but by an internal intuitive process filling them with inner compassion. 8. “Even as I speak, I must take back my words as soon as they are uttered, for there is no Buddha and there are no teachings.” 9. If we say ‘I am enlightened,’ we admit there is an individual person, a separate self and personality, and cannot be a Perfectly Enlightened Buddha. 10. The mind purified of all thoughts that relate to seeing, hearing, tasting, smelling, touching, and discriminating is spontaneous and natural, not limited by feelings from the senses. 11. If one explains even one stanza of this sutra to others, the happiness and merit that would result from this virtuous act is greater than all the sands of the Ganges river; 12. Wherever this Sutra is honored and revered there is a sacred site enshrining the presence of Buddha (transcendent non-being) within one’s own heart. 13. If a person, male or female, has, for the sake of charity explained this Sutra to others, their merit and compassion is greater than all of the sands of the Ganges River. 14. Do not accept appearances as a basis for exercising charity. Practice compassion and charity for all living beings without relying on appearances, and without attachment. 15. If we are still caught up in the idea of a self, a person, a living being, or a universal self, then we are unable to listen to, receive, recite, or explain this Sutra to others. 16. The meaning of this Sutra is beyond concept and debate. Likewise, the fruit resulting from receiving and practicing this Sutra is beyond concept and debated meaning. 17. If we say, ‘I have to create a serene and beautiful Buddha site’ we are not true disciples. Only a disciple devoid of any conception of separate selfhood is a true disciple. 18. Have eyes of love and compassion for all sentient beings. To do this, do not hold on to any past, future, or present thoughts. 19. “Blessings and merit to fill 3,000 universes,” is nothing more than a figure of speech, words have no substance. 20. Do not look for Buddha in his “perfect appearances.” Why? The Buddha has said perfect appearances are not perfect appearances. They are only “called” perfect appearances. 21. Do not teach that the Buddha has ‘spoken spiritual truths,’ No “truth” can be spoken; this is what Buddha called ‘speaking truth’. 22. Enlightenment does not feel, as the mind feels, any concept of spiritual truth. Even the words ‘total Enlightenment’ are merely words; they are used as a figure of speech. 23. “Being charitable,” or “kind,” are arbitrary concepts. Kindness is, after all, only a word and charity needs to be spontaneous and selfless, done without regard for appearances. 24. If a person gave away treasures as high as the highest mountains to others, their merit is less than one who, out of kindness, explained this Thunder-vajra sutra to others. 25. Do not say ‘I will lead all sentient beings to Nirvana;’ free oneself from the illusion of self, person, a living being, or a universal self. 26. If anyone looks at an image or likeness of the Buddha, claiming to know and worship him, that person is mistaken, not knowing the true Buddha. 27. When one gives rise to the highest, fulfilled, awakened mind, do not contend that all objects of mind as nonexistent. The highest, fulfilled, awakened mind does not contend. 28. To realize selflessness is more blessed than external charity. Blessings and merit are not for private gain; they are for the common possession of all beings. 29. Do not say the Buddha is coming or going, sitting up or lying down. Buddha is never coming from or going anywhere. “Thus come, thus gone (Tathagata)” is merely a figure of speech. 30. The mental concepts of matter and galaxies have no true basis; they are illusions of the mortal mind. Even when it is referred to as ‘cosmic unity’ it is unthinkable and unknowable. 31. Enlightenment is to see, perceive, know, understand, and realize that all things and all spiritual truths are no-things, conceived only within one’s mind as arbitrary conceptions. 32. How to contemplate our existence in this fleeting world: “Like a tiny drop of dew, or a bubble floating in a stream; 
Like a flash of lightning in a summer cloud, 
or a flickering lamp, an illusion, a phantom, or a dream. So is all conditioned existence to be seen.”

Thus spoke Buddha.

Chinese text used is from the just published Chinese Buddhist Canon, Wisdom series, Vol. 1, 大藏經,金剛經,Kumarajiva’s translation, Vol. 1

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