Shariputra: Goddess, what prevents you from transforming yourself out of your female state?
Goddess: Although I have sought my "female state" for these twelve years, I have not yet found it. Reverend Shariputra, if a magician were to incarnate a woman by magic, would you ask her, "What prevents you from transforming yourself out of your female state?"
Shariputra: No! Such a woman would not really exist, so what would there be to transform?
Goddess: Just so, reverend Shariputra, all things do not really exist. Now, would you think, "What prevents one whose nature is that of a magical incarnation from transforming herself out of her female state?
Thereupon, the goddess employed her magical power to cause the elder Shariputra to appear in her form and to cause herself to appear in his form. Then the goddess, transformed into Shariputra, said to Shariputra, transformed into a goddess, "Reverend Shariputra, what prevents you from transforming yourself out of your female state?
And Shariputra, transformed into the goddess, replied, "I no longer appear in the form of a male! My body has changed into the body of a woman! I do not know what to transform!"
The goddess continued, "If the elder could again change out of the female state, then all women could also change out of their female states. All women appear in the form of women in just the same way as the elder appears in the form of a woman. While they are not women in reality, they appear in the form of women. With this in mind, the Buddha said, "In all things, there is neither male nor female."
Then the goddess released her magical power and each returned to their ordinary form. She then said to him, "Reverend Shariputra, what have you done with your female form?"
Shariputra: I neither made it nor did I change it.
Goddess: Just so, all things are neither made nor changed, and that they are not made and not changed, that is the teaching of the Buddha.
. . . the daughter of Sagara, the Naga-king, [appeared] . . . and said: . . .
I have obtained enlightenment according to my wish; the Tathagata can bear witness to it; I will extensively reveal the law that releases from suffering.
Then the venerable Shariputra said to that daughter of Sagara, the Naga-king: You have conceived the idea of enlightenment, young lady of good family, without sliding back, and you are gifted with immense wisdom, but supreme, perfect enlightenment is not easily won. It may happen, sister, that a woman displays an unflagging energy, performs good works for many thousands of aeons, and fulfills the six perfect virtues (paramitas), but as yet there is no example of her having reached Buddhahood, and that because a woman cannot occupy the five ranks, viz 1. the rank of Brahma; 2. the rank of Indra; 3. the rank of a chief guardian of the four quarters; 4. the rank of Chakravartin; 5. the rank of a Bodhisattva incapable of sliding back.
Now the daughter of Sagara, the Naga-king, had at the time a gem which in value outweighed the whole universe. That gem the daughter of Sagara,the Naga-king, presented to the Lord Buddha, and the Lord graciously accepted it. Then the daughter of Sagara, the Naga-king, said to the Bodhisattva Prajnakuta and the senior monk Shariputra: Has the Lord readily accepted the gem I presented to him or has he not? The senior priest answered: As soon as it was presented by you, so soon it was accepted by the Lord. The daughter of Sagara, the Naga-king, replied: If I were endowed with magic power, brother Shariputra, I should sooner have arrived at supreme perfect enlightenment, and there would have been none to receive this gem.
At the same instant, before the sight of the whole world, and of the senior priest Shariputra, the female sex of the daughter of Sagara, the Naga-king, disappeared; the male sex appeared and she manifested herself as a Bodhisattva, who immediately went to the South to sit down at the foot of a tree made of seven precious substances, in the world Vimala (spotless), where he showed himself enlightened and preaching the law, while filling all directions of space with the radiance of the thirty-two characteristic signs and all secondary marks.
Shariputra: The perfection of wisdom (prajnaparamita) gives light, O Lord. I pay homage to the perfection of wisdom! She is worthy of homage. She is unstained, and the entire world cannot stain her. She is a source of light, and from eveyrone in the triple world she removes darkness, and leads them away from the blinding darkness caused by defilements and wrong views. In her we can find shelter. Most excellent are her works. She makes us seek the safety of the wings of enlightenment. She brings light to the blind, so that all fear and distress may be forsaken. She has gained the five eyes, and she shows the path to all beings. She herself is an organ of vision. She disperses the gloom and darkness of delusion. She guides to the Path those who have strayed on to a bad road. She is identical with all-knowledge. She never produces any of the dharmas [elements], because she has forsaken the residues relating to both kinds of coverings, those produced by defilements and those produced by the cognizable. She does not stop any dharma. Herself unstopped and unproduced is the perfection of wisdom. She is the Mother of the Bodhisattvas, on account of the emptiness of own-marks [essence]. As the donor of the jewel of all the Buddha-dharmas [teachings] she brings about the ten powers of a Tathagata. She cannot be crushed. She protects the unprotected, with the help of the four grounds of self-confidence. She is the antidote to birth-and-death. She has a clear knowledge of the own-being of all dharmas [elements], for she does not stray away from it. The perfection of wisdom of the Buddhas, the Lords, sets in motion the wheel of Dharma.