1. It makes no sense to say that essence arises from causes and
conditions. If essence were caused or conditioned, it would not be essence.
2. Essence cannot be created or otherwise come to be. Essence is not
artificial, nor does it depend on another.
3. If there are essences, then there are real differences between things
. . . .
4. Are there entities without essences? Then there are no real
differences between them . . . .
5. If we cannot find an entity with an essence, that does not prove the
non-existence of such entities. Some say that an entity that changes is
6. Those who think in terms of essences and real differences, and who
cannot recognize entities without essences, do not grasp the truth
taught by the Buddha.
7. The Buddha . . . counseled against saying “it is” and “it is not.”
8. If only entities with essences [really] exist, then there is no
non-existence, nor can anything change.
9. Some will say, “If there are no essences, what is there to change?”
We reply, “If there are essences, what is there to change?”
10. To say “it is” is to be attached to essentialism. To say “it is not”
is to lapse into nihilism. Therefore, judgments of “it is” or “it is
not” are not made by the wise.
11. “An entity with an essence cannot not-exist.” This is essentialism.
“It existed before, but now it doesn’t.” This is nihilism.