The lord Buddha continued:
"Subhuti, if someone gives treasures equal to the number of sands on the shores of the Ganges river, and if another, having realized the egolessness of all things, thereby understands selflessness, the latter would be more blessed than the one who practiced external charity. Why? Because great disciples do not see blessings and merit as a private possession, as something to be gained."
Subhuti inquired of the lord Buddha, "What do you mean 'great disciples do not see blessings and merit as a private possession'?"
The Buddha replied:
"Because those blessings and merit have never been sought after by those great disciples, they do not see them as private possessions, but they see them as the common possession of all beings."
The Buddha said:
"Subhuti, if any person were to say that the Buddha is now coming or going, or sitting up or lying down, they would not have understood the principle I have been teaching. Why? Because while the expression 'Buddha' means 'he who has thus come, thus gone,' the true Buddha is never coming from anywhere or going anywhere. The name 'Buddha' is merely an expression, a figure of speech."
The lord Buddha resumed:
"Subhuti, if any good person, either man or woman, were to take 3,000 galaxies and grind them into microscopic powder and blow it into space, what do you think, would this powder have any individual existence?"
"Subhuti replied, "Yes, lord, as a microscopic powder blown into space, it might be said to have a relative existence, but as you use words, it has no existence. The words are used only as a figure of speech. Otherwise the words would imply a belief in the existence of matter as an independent and self-existent thing, which it is not."
"Furthermore, when the Most Honored One refers to the '3,000 galaxies,' he could only do so as a figure of speech. Why? Because if the 3,000 galaxies really existed, their only reality would consist in their cosmic unity. Whether as microscopic powder or as galaxies, what does it matter? Only in the sense of the cosmic unity of ultimate being can the Buddha rightfully refer to it."
The lord Buddha was very pleased with this reply and said:
"Subhuti, although ordinary people have always grasped after an arbitrary conception of matter and galaxies, the concept has no true basis; it is an illusion of the mortal mind. Even when it is referred to as 'cosmic unity' it is unthinkable and unknowable."