13 Jan Explanation of the Title: Prajna Paramita Heart Sutra, Part 16
(Last week we ended with, “How to study? Practice in our human society and treat our human society as an enlightenment place (Bodhimanda). The enlightenment place is an environment of no discrimination. You treat your daily life as a place for enlightenment and this way of cultivation is called Paramita, which is the way to detach from suffering and obtain happiness.”)
My advice to everyone is to study the Heart Sutra again, and genuinely try to understand it.
Today we explain Prajna. Even if we continue to explain the word Prajnafor infinite existence of world-periods, we still cannot completely explain its full content. Today is merely an elementary introduction.
First, I will try my best to explain it as clearly as possible.
Second, I need to mention that the true sphere of Prajnahas four phenomena. Even though they are Buddhism terminology, for everyone to hear them now is to plant wholesome roots in your mind:
- Turning the consciousness of Alaya (the 8th consciousness) into the Great Perfect Mirror Wisdom (Adarsajnana).
- Turning the consciousness of Manas (the 7th consciousness) into the Wisdom to Regard All Things to be Equal and Universal (Smatajnana).
- Turning the subconscious (the 6th consciousness) into the Wisdom of Profound Insight and Observation (Pratyaveksanajnana)
- Turning the consciousness of eye, ear, nose, tongue and body (the prior five consciousnesses) into the Wisdom of Perfecting the Accomplishment of Self-Welfare and the Welfare of Others (Krtyanusthanajnana).
This is wisdom. This wisdom is not easy to achieve.
Just a moment ago I mentioned “Alaya (store-house) consciousness”, what is it? In our soul, the defiled thoughts and original pure essence are mixed together.
In accordance with the Chinese saying:
All beings have three immortal souls and seven mortal spirits.
This truly exists but there are various interpretations. The school of Buddhism talks about the “thought and soul”, where the “thought” is defiled and the “soul” is confused. When the confused (soul) and the defiled (thought) blend together it becomes the “unenlightened condition” which is unclear regarding matters.
Unclear to what degree? Not knowing anything at all; unawareness.
This kind of unaware phenomena blends together with the phenomena of our pure essence, turning into the Tathagata store-house consciousness (the immortal potency as a scared nature for becoming Buddha is concealed in every being).
The Tathagata store-house consciousness is the Chinese explanation, as the Alaya consciousness (the 8th consciousness) is a Sanskrit term. Precisely, it is the pure brightness mixed together with defiled phenomena. You need to turn it completely to become no discrimination and no attachment’s phenomena; this is called the “Great Perfect Mirror Wisdom”.
“Perfect” means fulfillment of the whole, “Mirror” together with “Great” means having no limitations and boundaries. When we face this Perfect Mirror it reflects all phenomena without distinction. When we stand before a mirror, it reflects us clearly and will reflect the same as a cat, dog or scenery in full clarity. But, the mirror itself is without any fluctuations, or without mind activations with arising thought, and no “attachment, delusional thought, and discrimination”. Our original essence, the essence wisdom of our life in the universe is exactly like that. This kind of wisdom is the true Prajna (wisdom).
This wisdom starts from being “unbound by any tie, so the mind initiates naturally and uses freely” which has 41 grades in total. Speaking from cultivation practice, there are 52 achievement ranks that include: ten grades of character attained, ten necessary lines of action, ten dedications (Transferences of Merits), and so on, as stated in Buddhist doctrine.
The question is, what exactly are they cultivating? Removing afflictions one grade at a time.
Before one has eradicated the unenlightened condition, the cessation of affliction is very difficult. The Sixth Patriarch has proclaimed:
There is not a single thing originally, where can dust (afflictions) be provoked.
What is this?He has eradicated one grade of the unenlightened condition, then he confirms one grade of the universal truth.
Basically, afflictions come in many kinds: “afflictions through the immense variety of duties in saving all living beings”, “afflictions of unenlightened conditions that arise from failure philosophically to understand things in their reality”, afflictions of our secular world, and afflictions of the trans-mundane; there are too many. All afflictions are not apart from “attachment”. Attachment has covered your radiance and your wisdom. After being covered, it becomes dysfunctional.
What is dysfunctional? The function of omniscient penetrative ability does not work.