After these words, the venerable Subhûti spoke thus to Bhagavat: ‘O Bhagavat, how is this treatise of the Law called, and how can I learn it?’ After this, Bhagavat spoke thus to the venerable Subhûti: ‘This treatise of the Law, O Subhûti, is called the Pragñâ-pâramitâ (Transcendent wisdom), and you should learn it by that name. And why? Because, O Subhûti, what was preached by the Tathâgata as the Pragñâ-pâramitâ, that was preached by the Tathâgata as no-Pâramitâ. Therefore it is called the Pragñâ-pâramitâ.
Bhagavat said: ‘What do you think, O Subhûti, is a holy and fully enlightened Tathâgata to be seen (known) by the thirty-two signs of a hero?’ Subhûti said: ‘No indeed, O Bhagavat; a holy and fully enlightened Tathâgata is not to be seen (known) by the thirty-two signs of a hero. And why? Because what was preached by the Tathâgata as the thirty-two signs of a hero, that was preached by the Tathâgata as no-signs. Therefore they are called the thirty-two signs of a hero.’
Bhagavat said: ‘If, O Subhûti, a woman or man should day by day sacrifice his life (selfhood) as many times as there are grains of sand in the river Gangâ, and if he should thus sacrifice his life for as many kalpas as there are grains of sand in the river Gangâ, and if another man, after taking from this treatise of the Law one Gâthâ of four lines only, should fully teach others and explain it, he indeed would on the strength of this produce a larger stock of merit, immeasurable and innumerable.’
[1. Âtmabhâva seems to refer here to the living body, not to the spiritual Âtman, which, according to Buddha, can be got rid of by knowledge only. Buddha himself sacrificed his life again and again, and a willingness to die would probably be accepted for the deed.]