Figures Painted On the Wall

Buddha teaching

Lord of Laṅkā, beings are appearances, they are like figures painted on the wall, they have no sensibility [or consciousness]. Lord of Laṅkā, all that is in the world is devoid of work and action because all things have no reality, and there is nothing heard, nothing hearing. Lord of Laṅkā, all that is in the world is like an image magically transformed. This is not comprehended by the philosophers and the ignorant. Lord of Laṅkā, he who thus sees things, is the one who sees truthfully. Those who see things otherwise walk in discrimination; as they depend on discrimination, they cling to dualism. It is like seeing one’s own image reflected in a mirror, or one’s own shadow in the water, or in the moonlight, or seeing one’s shadow in the house, or hearing an echo in the valley. People grasping their own shadows of discrimination uphold the discrimination of dharma and adharma and, failing to carry out the abandonment of the dualism, they go on discriminating and never attain tranquillity, By tranquillity is meant oneness (ekāgra), and oneness gives birth to the highest Samādhi, which is gained by entering into the womb of Tathagatahood, which is the realm of noble wisdom realised in one’s inmost self.


– The Lankavatara Sutra




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