06 Feb Prajna Paramita Heart Sutra, Part 72
[Series of Master Shen-Long expounding on the Prajna Paramita (Perfection of Transcendent Wisdom) Heart Sutra]
(Last week we ended with, “Therefore, other people have said that to learn to become Buddha, the first thing one needs to learn is the breadth of the Buddha mind. The breadth of the Buddha mind lets go of all. Whether it is reasonable or unreasonable, if you let go of either reasonable or unreasonable, then you will personally be more at ease.”)
Let me tell you a story, before there was a person who drifted about all day as a homeless man. Winter days or summer days, he lived more comfortably than a Buddhist monk. The Buddhist monks begged for alms from house to house with a bowl in hand needing to maintain a majestic presence. He did not require that, he takes a broken pot from house to house begging for food. Whether he gets food or not was all was fine to him. He can fall asleep anywhere; there was no one to wake him in the morning, and at daybreak he would get up himself.
He was in very healthy shape, to what extent? Even a flea builds a nest, but he did not have a nest of his own.
This kind of person, what is his way of thinking?
Truly speaking, regarding life in this universe, he has seen it with clarity.
Of course, there are many ways to become a beggar; one way is forced, where begging for food is very painful. This we cannot learn.
I am talking about one who has truly let go and is disillusioned with everything, where one is even without attachment to one’s own body, and one has attained the state of selflessness. This kind of person, if learning to become Buddha and practicing cultivation, it will be remarkable; one certainly becomes a Buddha ultimately, to enter nirvana thoroughly, because one has less attachments.
Then for our modern people, should we be beggars?
May I offer a bit of advice to all of you, you all should be beggars. However, you do not need to have alms bowl in your hand to beg for food or money from house to house; I am teaching you to be one with no-attachment spiritually. If in your mind there still exists my career, my sons and daughters; this is a big trouble. You work extremely hard your whole life like an ox and horse for them, and you also work extremely hard like an ox and horse for yourself. You are busy finishing all matters outside the house, and you still need to be busy inside the home. After you have finished socializing with the outside world, internally you still have a pile of suffering. There is no one for you to speak to about your bitter complaints; your wife and daughters do not understand. In other words, the opposite is also the same, and your husband and children also do not understand you. You become very vexed, with a pile of garbage inside you that has not been thrown away – this gets you into trouble.
This beggar must have practiced cultivation in his past life because he has disillusioned with everything and let go. When other people gave him rotten food, he ate it; or good food, he ate it. He sees clearly on all matters.
Later on, his son became a very wealthy man. Local people thought that his son was unfilial because his father was a beggar and the son should have started by offering to be a good son. Due to pressure from society and public opinion, the son finally found his father, bathed him, trimmed his hair, changed his clothes, and supported his esteemed father. After a few years, his old man disappeared again. The son went to look for him and found him again.
So other people asked the old man: “Why you do not want to live the way of wealth and honor?”
He said: “True wealth and honor is not this way. True wealth and honor is to be free spiritually, and to have freedom of action. With one alms bowl filled with meals from thousands of houses, roaming alone for thousands of miles!”
His actions are no different from a person leaving home as a Buddhist monk, he even has no need to set his majestic appearance as a monk. This story represents that one must have no hindrance in mind, one needs to let go of the mind.
The mind of yours needs to let go to what extent? Completely.
I need to talk about this point particularly:
I ask all of you, has anyone let go?
Someone would say yes.
How much have you let go? I am going to try.
I feel no one has let go yet. It is not easy for a person to let go even one percent. Here it talks about letting go 100%. Letting go does not mean that you change your plan, to retire, or to make any arrangements; rather, it is for you to thoroughly remove your worries and concerns from your inner mind.
I think everyone has agitation; does agitation bring you happiness? No, you are very clear about this.
I have seen many people who are like walking zombies; one lives their whole life completely lacking meaning.
Why? It is because one knows that oneself is not a walking zombie, rather the environment of reality has transformed them to this way.
However, everyone needs to know that the outer environment will not interfere with one’s own, rather it is the condition of one’s own mind. Mainly it is still the ego-face problem of a person. This problem of ego-face, frankly speaking, is not worth even a penny.
Now we are brought together here by fate to learn the Heart Sutra.
What is the Heart Sutra? It is when you do not have heart (mind) then you have succeeded. In fact, there is no need to spend a lot of effort, you merely need to have perfect insight of being master of one’s-self then this settles the account once for all.