Thus have I heard.
Once upon a time, the Blessed One resided on Mount Wisdom, close to the Great City, accompanied by a vast gathering of twelve thousand monks from innumerable worlds.
The Blessed One, the Honored-One-of-the-World, sat in the heart of the assembly, his countenance shining with the radiance of wisdom and compassion. He addressed the gathering, declaring:
"Reflect, O monks, upon the analogy of a seeker who aspired to achieve greatness. This seeker, assiduous in their practice, endeavored to surpass the constraints of their ordinary existence and attain remarkable insight, wisdom, and compassion. The seeker journeyed extensively, pursuing the counsel of esteemed teachers, and through immense effort, recognized that true greatness is found in transcending the self and embracing the universal, necessitating a deep comprehension of interconnectedness and the pursuit of truth.
The seeker, having comprehended the significance of transcending the self, inquired of the Blessed One: 'O Honored-One-of-the-World, what is the essence of truth, and how may I embody it to achieve greatness?'
The Blessed One responded: 'O seeker, the essence of truth resembles a boundless ocean, embracing the laws, principles, and facts that govern existence. To achieve greatness, one must embody and act in harmony with these truths, aligning their deeds with the fundamental nature of the cosmos.'
The seeker, having heeded the Blessed One's words, directed their focus towards the realm of art. They discerned that art, akin to life, functions as an expression of human experience, mirroring both the creator and their social and historical contexts. Through art, humans manifest their faith in the importance of their experiences and existence, which can be comprehended as a form of faith. The seeker realized that sublime art embodies truth, and by engaging with art, one can unite with universal truths and transcend the limitations of ordinary existence.
'In this world, my beliefs serve as the guiding light, illuminating the path of choices and actions. As a sacred ritual, art arises from the depths of my heart, blossoming as a vibrant manifestation of such convictions. Creativity flows as a river, testifying to the truths one cherishes. Similarly, life itself unfolds as a ritual of immense significance. Through the myriad choices and actions one undertakes, my personal convictions are expressed, resembling the luminous petals of a lotus flower.'
The Blessed One, perceiving that the seeker had grasped the connection between art and the quest for greatness, proclaimed:
'Behold, O wise one, the marvelous correspondence between art and life, both serving as conduits for the expression of belief and the pursuit of the supreme truth. With mindfulness, may you traverse the path to enlightenment, guided by the light of your innermost convictions.
Greatness in art is attained by walking the Middle Way, which both broadens one's understanding of life and embraces the richness of human experience. Through the equilibrium of these elements, art serves as a noble bridge, uniting personal truths with universal principles.
The perception of greatness and truth in art may ebb and flow like the sands, differing across cultures and eons. Yet, even as the sands shift, the linking of personal experiences with universal truths remains an unwavering pillar in the quest for artistic greatness.
Thus, the greatness perceived in both life and art arises from a shared pursuit of truth, mirroring the interconnected nature of all phenomena.'
O monks, let this teaching be a source of wisdom for you all. As the seeker comprehended the significance of transcending the self and embracing the universal through the path of art, so too shall you endeavor to embody truth and attain greatness in every facet of life. Do not allow yourselves to be shackled by the constraints of mundane existence; rather, strive to unite with the fundamental nature of the cosmos and cherish the interconnectedness of all living beings."
Hearing the words of the Blessed One, the assembly of monks rejoiced and were filled with faith and resolve to traverse the path of greatness through art, wisdom, and compassion. In veneration, they bowed before the Blessed One, the Honored-One-of-the-World, and pledged to disseminate the teachings of the Greatness Sutra to all sentient beings, guiding them on the path to enlightenment.
Thus concludes the Greatness Sutra, as expounded by the Blessed One upon Mount Wisdom.