Then the Buddha spoke, saying, “O Subhuti! Anyone who aspires to bodhisattvahood should use their minds and think:
I shall liberate every single being—whether born of an egg or a womb, whether born in water or in the atmosphere, whether distinct in shape or amorphous, whether the kind that thinks or the kind that doesn’t—taking each and every one to the state of absolute and perfect nirvana! But even though I aspire to bring everyone to absolute perfect nirvana, the beings being brought there aren’t really beings—which means no one is being brought into a state of absolute perfect nirvana!
“Now, Subhuti! You may be wondering why potential bodhisattvas would need to think in this way. They’d need to think this way because if they held to an idea that selves exist, or that beings are beings, that lives are lived, or of an existence of ongoing individual personages, then they wouldn’t be able to become bodhisattvas!”
—The Diamond Sutra: Transcending Merit, tr. Sol Ta Triane, Copyright © 2018