14 Jul Prajna Paramita Heart Sutra, Part 44
[Series of Master Shen-Long expounding on the Prajna Paramita (Perfection of Transcendent Wisdom) Heart Sutra]
[Sutra] Listen Shariputra, all materialistic phenomena are not different from no phenomenon as the impermanent existence nature; the fundamental essence of no phenomenon is not different from all materialistic phenomena. So, the materialistic phenomenon namely is no phenomenon as the impermanent existence nature; no phenomenon is namely the materialistic phenomena. The same is true with feeling, thinking, mental formations and consciousness.
The name Shariputra: Shari is a bird’s eye, which represents that his wisdom is top among the ten great disciples of Shakyamuni Buddha. This kind of bird’s eye is not only without near-sightedness (myopia), it sees everything extremely clearly like how we often describe a first-class pilot who is able to see very clearly and does not need to draw support from any instruments.
Why calls his name? Calling him, it is to tell him to pay attention.
In fact, Buddha calls his disciple’s name in the Sutra, which means he is calling us. You must not say that reading Sutra does not relate to us. After reading the Sutra for quite a while, in any case it only talks about his era and his disciples. This is where you make a mistake, if we do not have this sickness, Buddha would certainly not speak out about it.
Therefore, he says here: all materialistic phenomena are not different from no phenomenon as the impermanent existence nature; the fundamental essence of no phenomenon is not different from all materialistic phenomena. Just a moment ago we talked about all materialistic phenomena, is equal to no phenomenon as the impermanent existence nature; no phenomenon is equal to all materialistic phenomena.
No phenomenon is nothing there.
All materialistic phenomena are everything that is there.
Why “nothing there” and “everything is there” are the same?
We speak of “life is but a dream”, in the dream you have everything; that is a dream.
Dream, is or is not entirely nothing exist, is or is not a phenomenon?
Speaking from the aspect of phenomena, we say it exists; from the aspect of fundamental essence, we say it is no phenomenon as the impermanent existence nature. No phenomenon and the mode of existence concurrently appears and are not separately. Here is another example: “Moral precepts, stillness of mind control and wisdom” exists concurrently. Moral precepts are exactly the stillness of mind control; the stillness of mind control is exactly wisdom; it is an integral whole with three aspects. Just like other people who speak about civic awareness as a citizen with morality, when you have morality only then will it be emphasized you are a citizen, you have morality which are equal meanings. It is not separate. It is not to say: I have morality then I will work on becoming a citizen with civic awareness, or I am a citizen with civic awareness and I need to work on my morality.
Ancient people of China received educational instruction beginning as young as three years old where they were taught to learn by heart and to recite from memory the Three Character Classic (a 13th century reading primer consisting of Confucian tenets in lines of three characters), with lines such as:
People at birth, are naturally good, the natures are similar, the habits make them different (from each other).
People at birth refers to a person at birth is naturally good, one who is very pure.
Natures are similar, means everyone is born like a clean white sheet.
Habits make them different (from each other), refers to one’s environment, one’s personality and one’s habits are what have caused huge differences between each other.
What is this? It is the course of a dream.
All of one’s life is the course of a dream. In your dream, whether you kill people or set fires, or if you are fully obedient to your parents, all are unreal.
If all is unreal, do we still need to do it? Yes, we still need to do it.
Why? It has phenomena.
You cannot say I killed people and set fires and everything is all right, that there is no recourse. No, it does not work that way. It exists with karmic consequences from cause and effect. Karmic consequences from cause and effect are not the absence of inherent existence; it exists with phenomena.
For instance, donating a body organ, can you donate your organ while you are still alive?
When someone cuts you, do you not feel pain? Yes, it hurts.
How can you say this is unreal?
In other words, why would a person who has a purified mind say it is unreal?
There are some who are truly transparent in body and mind, like the Sixth Patriarch Hui-Neng. He left after he received the Buddha teachings from Huang-Mei the Fifth Patriarch then, other people were even chasing to kill him. One monk stabbed him with a piercing blow to his heart, resulting in a transparent body without substance. To us this is a miracle; in fact, it is not a miracle.
The Sixth Patriarch said to the monk: “Do not be afraid, do not be afraid….”
The answer is simple; he had already let go of his body and mind, and thoroughly changed his concept, thus his body was no different from the open space. His body did not exist any variations, he was not solid, and he was transparent. We are not. When thinking about organ donation, just thinking of it we are also scared.
If now another person said that I want a pair of eyes, would you give him your pair of eyes, even without anesthetic?
What kind of person can do it? It is precisely an enlightened person.
They know the truth about the universe, the whole physical body is composed of ions. Therefore, one does not have these feelings, one has already detached from all materialistic phenomena, feeling, thinking, mental formation, and consciousness; no feelings exist.
But we do, when we get sick, do we not go to see a doctor? It is very difficult; very few people can manage this way.
Body aches, tooth aches; these aches are killing you, do you not go to see a doctor? Yes, of course.
Why? It is too painful, and one cannot endure the pain.
One’s concept believes this matter is real.