In a lecture taught by Thich Nhat Hanh, he speaks about the 4 notions that should be removed. These four notions are taken from the Diamond Sutra:
- Self (ego.) To remove the idea of self we can understand that we are made of non self elements. A flower is made up of non flower elements, the Buddha is made of non Buddha elements, the Dharma is made only of non Dharma elements.
- Human. Humans are made only up of non-human elements (including animal, vegetable, minerals.) In order to protect humans, you have to protect non human elements (nature, minerals, elements.)
- Living Beings. Living as opposed to inanimate matter. So any being with intelligence is covered in this point. The central theme of the Lotus Sutra is the inherent nature of Buddha is within each intelligent being. Discrimination between living matter should be removed.
- Life Span. This idea that you are born at point B and die at point D on a linear graph, is erroneous. You (I), exist before and after body death. There is no non-being before birth nor after. We are continuous. Nirvana comes into play here. It is a space of no time, birth, death. Through meditation we can touch on this state of no birth/death.