MASTER SHEN-LONG | Explanation of the Title: Prajna Paramita Heart Sutra, Part 8
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Explanation of the Title: Prajna Paramita Heart Sutra, Part 8

Explanation of the Title: Prajna Paramita Heart Sutra, Part 8

[Series of Master Shen-Long expounding on Explanation of the Title: Prajna Paramita Heart Sutra]

(Last week we ended with, “One who initiates thoughts of either good or no-good, discrimination, attachments, will stay in the “Human world”.  These are the six states of existence –the six realms of reincarnation.”)

 

Beyond these six realms of reincarnation, there are the Three Worlds (Triloka – The universe is divided into three worlds of karmic rebirth such as desire, form and formless): The World of “Desire” (Kamadhatu), the World of “Form” (Rupadhatu), and the World of “Formless” (Arupyadhatu).

“World of Desire”: People still have the enjoyment of the five desires (wealth, lust, fame, food, and sleep) and the six defiled states (materialistic phenomena, sound, smell, flavor, touch, and thought).

“World of Form”: The desires do not exist anymore. Similar to the Mahabrahma Heaven indicated in Islam, there are no desires. Regarding the appearance of male or female, only male exists.

“World of Formless”: Even the phenomenon of the subtle body does not exist.

Shakyamuni Buddha lived in this world over 3,000 years ago. In India, there were groups of Trithikas.

What are Trithikas? They are non-Buddhist teachings and adherents of non-Buddhist philosophies and religions, like abandoning their own pure mind in search of the truth.

How many are there? There are 96 kinds. During that time, India’s civilization was remarkable, just like ancient China during the Hundred Schools of Thought period which started within the Spring and Autumn Warring States Period; their doctrines were all clearly stated but short-lived. The culture in India was the same of that period.

In those days, there was one who practiced meditative concentration and had attained the highest level – the state of “Neither Perception nor Non-perception Heaven (Naivasamjnanasamjnayatana, the highest heaven of the Formless Realm)”. His composed state of mind could last the existence of 80,000 world-periods.

The existence of one world-period is 1,344,000,000 earth years, so multiply it by 80,000; however, according to universe time it is only a split second. After he lost his power of mind control ability to overcome all disturbing thoughts, he became puzzled and questioned the Buddha’s teaching. Does not the Buddha state, “Samadhi attainment is eternal. How could I lose my ability?”

As soon as he doubted the Buddha’s teaching, he slandered the Buddha and ended in the Hell realm.

What does it mean to end in the Hell realm? It is being tormented by trying to figure out why.

A person who truly becomes enlightened and is free from worry from oneself can transcend the Three Worlds (Triloka) and the six realms of reincarnations, this is the first step. Precisely, it is the attainment of graduating from elementary school.

The levels of cultivation practice must be understood clearly, otherwise how you can cultivate it correctly. If you only rely on reading books without practicing it daily, then you will never truly learn it.

What level has the Sixth Patriarch surpassed? He has surpassed elementary school, junior high, high school, university, advanced research study, doctoral and post-doctoral fellowship study.

The highest-level of attainment of the elementary school is equivalent to an Arhat. There are four stages of Arhat-ship:  1st fruit (Srotapanna), 2nd fruit (Sakadagami), 3rd fruit (Anagami), and 4th fruit (Arhat)—those who have abandoned the afflictions of illusions and temptations arisen from things seen and thought. This is terminology, but since we are focusing mainly on the conditions of Prajna (wisdom), we will not go into too much detail about this.

Does an Arhat have wisdom? Yes, he does, but it is not true wisdom; they only have the wisdom to exit and detach the Three Worlds (Triloka) and the six realms of reincarnation.

This kind of wisdom is stated in the Diamond Sutra (full title: The Diamond Cutter Perfection of Wisdom Sutra), that is:

  1. There is an ego
  2. Man is different from other organisms
  3. All living beings are produced by the five compositional elements of our existence as “all materialistic phenomena, feeling, perception, impulse and consciousness”
  4. Life is limited to time and space

After abandoning those erroneous ideas of the “four ego ideas states of all phenomena” above, then he can advance to the 9th meditative concentration level – the “Samadhi” attainment.  As just formerly mentioned, after one attains the 8th meditative concentration level it is the highest sphere of “Neither Perception nor Non-Perception meditative concentration” and one must still go through the reincarnation cycle.

An Arhat is reincarnated no more; no need to re-enter the human world for non-controllable transmigrations.

Why?  He can control his fate of life and death, he has this ability.

To what extent? Let me give an example, it is like the lotus flower. The lotus flower is not a water lily, our Chinese have problems with this. Regarding the name Amitabha:

The first syllable of A, what does it represent? It is the source of all things. The sound of “is pronounced (a¯)” and this seed word represents the source of all things. In the future when we talk about Esoteric Buddhism, I will give more details about that. Now to explain more simply using the lotus flower as representation:

The lotus that grows in the water is the Three Worlds (Triloka- the universe is divided into worlds of karmic rebirth as desire, form and formless) and six realms of reincarnation.

The mud fish that lives in the mud daily represents the “Three Lower Realms (animal, hungry ghost, hells)”.

The lotus bud that grows out of the mud but remains in the water represents “the Three Upper Realms (heavens, asuras, and humans)”.

The lotus that flowers out of the water, has removed or detached the Three Worlds (Triloka) entirely.

An Arhat, with his head above water taking his first breath; has no intention to go back to the human world again.

Why? He recalled his past lives went downhill to the Three Wretched Realms; reincarnated in the Three worlds (Triloka) and six realms, and he is afraid.

The description from the discourse of the Sutra asks, “afraid to what extent?”  His body was a mix of sweat with blood because he knows the suffering of hell was unbearable, a horrible place of spiritual torture.

>>Click here to read the full series of Master Shen-Long expounding on Explanation of the Title: Prajna Paramita Heart Sutra

 

(一)     無住和四智

(上星期講到:起個善惡、分別、執著、好壞在「人間」。這是「六道」。)

「六道」以外,有「三界」- 欲界、色界、無色界。

「欲界」很清楚,還有五欲六塵的享受。

「色界」,欲沒有了,像我們講回教大梵天,欲念沒有了;這男女相,只有男相,女相沒了。

「無色界」,連微妙的身體現象也沒有了。

三千多年前,佛在世的時候,印度有外道。

什麼叫「外道」?心外求法叫外道。

有多少種?九十六種,不得了。當時印度文明不得了,就像我們中國的九流十家、百花爭鳴的現象,你看春秋戰國時候的學說非常的清楚,可是一段時間沒有了。

當年印度也是這樣,有人就到了無色界的最高境界,叫「非想非非想處天」,那個定,一定八萬大劫。一個大劫是十三億四千四百萬年。它是八萬大劫,十三億四千四百萬年乘以八萬,可是在宇宙的時光中,一剎那而已。等他的定力失掉後,他覺得很奇怪,不是佛講過一定永定,怎麼可能定力會失掉?這樣子一謗佛就到地獄道。

什麼叫到地獄道?折磨,想不通怎麼回事兒。

真正開悟解脫的人,是超越三界、六道,這是第一步,就是小學畢業。

今天要把這層次要講清楚,不然修怎麼修。看書有很多東西,沒有在日常生活中實行,你不知道。

六祖,他是超越到什麼程度?他是小學、中學、大學、研究所、博士班都超越了。

小學程度最高層次是四果羅漢,一果、二果、三果、四果羅漢。四果羅漢斷了「見思煩惱」,這是名詞術語,如果細講,講不完,只能概略地講一講。我們主要講「般若」的現象。

那你說「阿羅漢」- 四果羅漢他有沒有智慧?有,不是真智慧,他是有出離三界六道的智慧。

這智慧就是《金剛經》上面講的「四相」- 「我相、人相、眾生相、壽者相」;把這四相拿掉,進入第九次第定 。剛剛講八定是「非想非非想處」,八定還要輪迴。

阿羅漢不要輪迴,就是不要再來人間不停的轉世。

為什麼?他可以控制生死,他有這能力。

至於這能力到什麼程度,我給各位舉個例:就像「蓮花」。我們講蓮花,不是荷花,我們中國常把這個名詞混淆,蓮花就是蓮花,荷花就是荷花。

「阿」是什麼?是一切法的源頭。「阿」字的音,跟種子是一切法的源頭。將來講到密教的時候,再跟各位報告。現在講單純一點,以蓮花做代表,

在水裡就是我們「三界」、「六道」。

在泥巴裡是「三惡道」,每天在泥巴裡像個泥鰍在泥巴裡,這三惡道。

出了一點泥巴,在泥巴上面,是「三善道」。

出了水面,把「三界」- 欲界、色界、無色界拿掉了、斷掉了,出水面。

阿羅漢才出水面,喘了一口氣,可是他絕對不想再回人間。

為什麼?他想想過去生墮落到三惡道,在三界、六道輪迴,害怕。

經典上講他怕到什麼程度?身上出汗,汗裡面夾著有血;因為看到地獄的苦受不了,這精神折磨。

>>Click here to read the full series of Master Shen-Long expounding on Explanation of the Title: Prajna Paramita Heart Sutra