At that time, Mahamati made this request of the Blessed One: Pray tell me, Blessed One, about the being and non-being of all things; and when myself and other Bodhisattva-Mahasattvas are freed of the notions of being and non-being, may we quickly attain supreme enlightenment.The answer seems somewhat timely given recent events...
People of this world are dependent on two things, Mahamati, that is, they are dependent on the idea of being and on that of non-being, and they fall into the views whereby they take pleasure either in nihilism or in realism. They imagine emancipation where there is no emancipation.
Now, Mahamati, who are the people dependent on the notion of being? It means this that they regard the world as rising from causation which is really existent, and that the actually existing and becoming world does not take its rise from causation which is non-existent. This will not be the case if the world is something non-existing. They thus talk of the really-existing world as arising from the reality of causation. This is the realistic view of causation as held by some people.
Now, Mahamati, what is meant by being dependent upon the idea of non-being? It means, Mahamati, admitting greed, anger, and folly, and yet discriminating as regards the non-reality of what makes up greed, anger, and folly; and, Mahamati, there is one who does not admit the reality of things because of their being devoid of individual marks; and there is another who, seeing that the Buddhas, Sravakas, and Pratyekabuddhas are free from greed, anger, and folly, because of all things being devoid of individual marks, [think that greed, anger, and folly] do not exist.
Now, Mahamati, who of these is the one doomed to ruin?
Said Mahamati; Blessed One, it is he who, admitting greed, anger, and folly, yet refuses to admit them.
The Blessed One said: Well said indeed, Mahamati! Again thou hast indeed spoken well, Mahamati! Not only is he himself doomed to ruin because of his notion of greed, anger, and folly as existent and yet as not-existent, but he ruins even the character of the Buddha, the Sravaka, and the Pratyekabuddha. Why? Because the passions are not to be taken hold of innerly and outwardly, because they are neither different nor not-different. Mahamati, greed, anger, and folly too are not to be taken hold of innerly as well as outwardly; they have no substance of their own and they are not to be admitted; Mahamati, as there is no reality in the nature of greed, anger, and folly, [he who fails to understand this] is the one who ruins the character of the Buddha, Sravaka, and Pratyekabuddha.
He goes on to state:
The Buddha, Sravaka, and Pratyekabuddha are by nature emancipated as there is in them no cause for being bound and binding; Mahamati, [on the other hand,] where there is a state of being bound there are the binding and the cause of bondage.
Discrimination of either being or non-being is held to be a wrong view here as well, and either is coexistent with intellection, and when intellection ceases, being or non-being cease to arise.
Bits like this are kind of like bits of a map of samadhi...