The Central Metaphor of Buddhism



From the Diamond Sūtra:

‘My teaching of the Good Law is to be likened unto a raft. [Does a man who has safely crossed a flood upon a raft continue his journey carrying that raft upon his head?]

The Buddha-teaching must be relinquished; how much more so


To have gained the Teaching is to abandon the Teaching. You burn the Sūtras once their work is done.

If you haven’t gutted the Self-Eating Expression to empty, you aren’t done yet. It is the central metaphor of the Buddha Dharma.


The Buddha didn’t think much of ascetics, god-men, philosophers or sages. And he liked concrete metaphors. And this is the earliest concrete analogy of the hitherto abstract Self-Eating Expression.