13 Jan Explanation of the Title: Prajna Paramita Heart Sutra, Part 12
(Last week we ended with, “To exist with many thoughts of “greed, resentment, ignorance”, or “killing, stealing, excessive lust attachment” does not matter, you must not hold on and not let it go; let it be. Just like boiling water, when you open the lid and see the bubbling water in the pot and how it rolls uncontrolledly, you struggle. There is no need, turn off the burner and then it stops. So, you need to understand how to use this manner.”)
We just mentioned a moment ago, how to cultivate “activating the mind with arising thought”; this is convenient. We can engage in cultivation practice anywhere at any time, and let go each mind’s activation with arising thought; this is called “enlightenment” and “chanting Amitabha”. If you cannot let go during mind activation with thought arousal, then just chanting the name of Amitabha sincerely can suppress this mind activation with arising thought which is also fine. After a long duration of time like 24 hours, you will unite with Amitabha in mind. During this initial state, your afflictions are being subdued like using a stone to press down grass, but the grass roots have not snapped yet. This is the beginning step.
If you do not chant Amitabha, you can divert your affliction during your mind activation with arising thought.
Remember this, affliction cannot be ceased and there is no way to cease it, only to divert. When we talk about ceasing, it is only a descriptive statement. If our affliction ceases, then our Buddha-nature also ceases, and the fundamental essence of enlightenment also ceases.
Where are the affliction of“delusional thoughts, discrimination and attachments” from? It is from the abnormalities of our life’s fundamental essence.
Where are “pureness, brightness, equality, enlightenment and compassion” from? It is the condition of our inherent pure fundamental essence.
“Greed, resentment, ignorance, arrogance, and doubt” are the abnormality, the same as “delusional thoughts, discrimination and attachments”; both are rooted from the same origin. All it takes for you is to divert. The technique of diverting is very simple. You need to constantly train yourself during your activation of the mind with arising thought. After a period of time, everything ceases all at once. Like the Sixth Patriarch, as soon as he heard other people recite the Diamond Sutra when reading this verse:
The mind does not bound by any tie, the mind initiates naturally and uses freely.
He instantly opened up his intelligence and achieved enlightenment, and all of his afflictions ceased.
Opening up the intelligence and achieve enlightenment is precisely ceasing affliction; that is truly de-activating affliction forever. To disclose this information openly is not worth even a penny, however:
Buddha teaching without proper explanation by a right teacher, even one has the ultimate knowledge still unable to apprehend its profound truth.
The knowledge of this world does not work because worldly knowledge does not have the experience of becoming enlightened. If in our past lives we had the enlightened experience, then we can achieve it very quickly.
Experience of becoming enlightened isfrom where?
How to you know you have had an enlightened experience before?
It is easy just by looking at your action power. If you know this path is the correct way then follow it accordingly, and the effect takes place from your past enlightened experience. This is exactly described as the “good root”. Does not Buddhism speak about one who has the “good root” or “intelligent root” all day long? It precisely refers to you having an enlightened experience before.
However, to have this enlightened experience why do you reincarnate continuously up until now?
(1) You did not persist
(2) You have not taken hold of your most delicate and deeply imbedded afflictions and removed it entirely.
Therefore, the Sixth Patriarch is very important setting a good model for us. Even after he attained enlightenment and understood the truth about the universe, he still stayed in a group of hunters to practice cultivation 15 years afterwards.
What was he up to during those 15 years? He was diverting his most delicate and deeply imbedded afflictions into brightness.
It is nothing mysterious, it is only a process of an ordinary person’s cultivation practice. He became a model for us.
Here is an example, like a bottle of wine, the wine represents “affliction”. An Arhat’s wine is all gone without even a drop left however, the bottle still retains the residual smell of the wine, showing the remnants of the Arhat’s old habits. The Sixth Patriarch, neither has a drop of wine left in the bottle nor the smell of wine. He has attained the state of Tathagata (the original utmost pure condition) and genuinely becomes a Buddha in perfection. He had eradicated the entire 41 levels of unenlightened conditions because his old habits were completely removed, and even the wine bottle no longer exists. In that moment he spoke his famous statement:
There is not a single thing originally, where can dust (afflictions) be provoked!
After understanding the theory and methods, you can engage in cultivation practice much easier regardless of whether you chant Amitabha, try to explore and study Dhyana (Zen), or cultivate using Esoteric Buddhism by following this principle which is precisely Prajna (wisdom).
You can then use this way to let go of your afflictions within this life. Without afflictions, the minimal attainment you will be is a Srotapanna, the first fruition of Arhatship of the Hinayana School. This attainment of the first fruition of Arhatship is already quite remarkable. You will no longer associate with our Threefold Worlds (Triloka – the universe is divided into three worlds of karmic rebirth – desire, form and formless) and the six realms of reincarnation, but you have recovered some level of supernatural power.
What is “supernatural power”? It is ability. Recovering the virtuous functions of the fundamental essence of your purity, equality, enlightenment and compassion is called “supernatural power”.
People should not be superstitious and think that only a deity, ghost or Buddha Bodhisattva have this; everyone has it, it is merely a subsidiary function.
The school of Buddhism also considers supernatural power to be a very important ability, to what extent? Explaining Sutra and expounding on Buddha teachings shows the supernatural power. Practicing cultivation of “activating the mind with arising thought” is exactly the supernatural power or ability.
We shall not misunderstand that the supernatural power or ability is not to move the house or magically create a couple of meals on a table when there is no food. No, it is not. “Supernatural powers” mean inconceivable accessibility, which means reduced affliction. Especially among a group of people with afflicted minds, if you have affliction you will stand out from the masses; this is “supernatural power or ability”. People with afflictions are desperately serious thinking that is an extraordinary phenomenon. No, it is not, it is a normal condition.