Thus I have heard. Pleione once met Athena in Athena's temple on Mount Olympus. Pleione asked a question.
Pleione: What is nothingness in relation to man?
Athena: I shall answer your question in these short Sutras.
1: The word nothing is used in three senses.
2: Nothing can be conceived of as a non-affirming negative that exists as a quantifier.
3: Nothing can be conceived of as the nonexistence of beings whose existence is impossible.
4: These first two senses of the word nothing are used when we talk about man.
5: Nothing can be conceived of as a relating object. Since such an object does not exist it has no relation to man.
6: Man's body is a manifestation of thew vacuum. The vacuum is a non-affirming negative phenomenon. Here nothing is used as a quantifier.
7: Thus man as a material object is ultimately nothing.
8: Man's mind, which exists as the activity of the brain manifests firstly as non-conceptual awareness. The non-conceptual awareness is a non-affirming negative phenomenon. Here nothing is used as a quantifier.
9: Thus man's consciousness is ultimately nothing.
10: Man's non-conceptual awareness manifests in the form of mental representations.
11: These mental representations can take a conscious form or an unconscious form.
12: Archetypes are forms the non-conceptual awareness can take when man experiences the unconscious mind.
13: Gods are archetypes not personal beings.
14: As all mental representations are forms the non-conceptual awareness takes gods must be ultimately nothing. Here nothing is used as a quantifier.
15: In terms of man while he is living man while he is alive is ultimately nothing. Here nothing is used as a quantifier.
16: This is true both of man's body and consciousness.
17: After death nothing, as it relates to man is conceived as the nonexistence of man. Here nothing is used in the sense of a being whose existence is impossible.
18: In some cases when man is experiencing the transition to death he may experience the absence of sensations and mental representations. Some call this absence nothing.
19: Those lucky enough to survive the transition and live see that consciousness is ultimately non-conceptual see the nothingness of consciousness as a quantifier.
20: Those lucky enough to be healthy and experience the non-conceptual nature of consciousness during no-meditation meditation practice also come to see that consciousness is nothingness conceived of as a quantifier.
21: Those unlucky enough to die become nothing. Here nothing is conceived as the nonexistence of the being of their body and mind.
22: The nonexistence of the being of man after death must be affirmed because the existence of man's body or mind after death is impossible.
When Athena had finished preaching this Sutra Pleione was jubilant. Pleione accepted Athena's teaching and began to follow it with great veneration.
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