What did the Buddha mean by "no truth can be spoken" in the Diamond Sutra?

2 Answers 2


The truth about the nature of reality is, strictly speaking, cannot be spoken, because reality is so multifaceted that it can never be fully and precisely expressed in words and concepts.

This is in line with the rest of Diamond Sutra which tries to give the reader a taste of the experience of Emptiness.

  • The Tao Te Ching, if that's any similar, gave me the impression that reality is One and primordial (and perhaps without form -- the mother of form); and that using the "analytic knife" distorts it, creates those facets. That's the impression I get too when you mention "suchness" (or @nocomprende's saying "non duality"). Actually the Tao Te Ching talks about "emptiness" too (as in, "it's the empty space in a house which make it useful"); idk whether emptiness in Buddhism is the same or different.
    – ChrisW
    Feb 9, 2018 at 10:07
  • Yes, I too think these are related themes. Tao refers to basically same thing as Absolute Truth in Buddhism. Suchness has slightly different connotation imo, it refers not to the cosmic perspective but to the unity of two truths from the perspective of an observer in the here and now.
    – Andriy Volkov
    Feb 9, 2018 at 18:40
  • I wondered what are the "two truths" you referred to -- I guess you mean a unity of "it" and "I" as outlined in this answer.
    – ChrisW
    Feb 10, 2018 at 9:59
  • Unity of absolute truth (global perspective) and relative truth (local perspective).
    – Andriy Volkov
    Feb 10, 2018 at 12:06

When all phenomena are done away with, all means of speaking are done away with as well.

Snp 5:6 • Upasīva’s Questions • Thanissaro Bhikkhu https://www.dhammatalks.org/suttas/KN/StNp/StNp5_6.html

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