In the Kumārajīva version of the Diamond Sūtra, we find twenty-four instances in which the stock phrase “A is not A as such. Therefore, it is called A” appears. It seems, however, that this phrase was not initially used in such a standardized form. The researcher’s examination of the Sanskrit and Tibetan versions of the scripture has revealed that such a typical form does not appear frequently in the earlier Sanskrit manuscripts and that a similar pattern is also found in the Tibetan versions, as the latter is a uniform and mechanical rendering of the Sanskrit versions. Whereas the earlier Sanskrit versions of the Diamond Sūtra adopt an inspiring literary style that draws its reader naturally to the words of the Buddha, the Kumārajīva version fixes the corresponding passages in a standardized form and emphasizes that these are the words of the Buddha.
The phrase “A is not A as such. Therefore, it is called A” states that when one immediately sees A is the dharma-nature devoid of self-nature and thus sees A is not what its real concept is, it is called A. Therefore, it was already said, is being said, and will be said that since the true nature of A is not identical with A, it is called A. Therefore, the Huayan Sūtra says that everything is constantly preaching the dharma; the Lotus Sūtra also says that the Tathāgata is always giving truthful words “It is called A.” In the case of the Diamond Sūtra, however, the phrase “It is called A” means that the Tathāgata goes beyond the true characteristic itself and performs a linguistic activity caused by the subsequently attained wisdom, which goes beyond the nondiscriminating wisdom that occurs prior to the division of one’s consciousness into subjective and objective aspects.
The Sanskrit phrase meaning “A is not A as such” which appears in Chapter 8 of the Diamond Sūtra is rendered as “A is not of the nature of A” in the Kumārajīva version. He then adds that the Tathāgata says that there are therefore great merits. This seems to contradict with Bodhidharma’s criticism of Liang Wudi as having no merits, but it rather corresponds with the meaning of the passage “emptiness is itself non-emptiness.”