31 Aug Prajna Paramita Heart Sutra, Part 51
[Series of Master Shen-Long expounding on the Prajna Paramita (Perfection of Transcendent Wisdom) Heart Sutra]
(Last week we ended with, “So, everyone goes home and put this into practice in your mind. Otherwise, hearing all of this and not practicing does not work.”)
Next, we explain: No existence of the realms of the eyes, up to and including no existence of the realms of consciousness. For all of you to understand the condition of the Prajna Paramita Sutra, first look at the word “no” which can be explained with multiple meanings:
(1) It is precisely without attachment.
(2) It is non-existing, but also represents the modes of existing. I trust that all of you may not understand this meaning.
Why do we now see the world in modes of existing? Here it exists, there it also exists; “people, matters, places, objects”, “women and men”; all exist. If you use this way of thinking, you are not using your Prajna (wisdom). Instead, you are using all materialistic phenomena, feelings, thinking, mental formation, and consciousness – the five composition elements of your existence Five Skandhas way to think.
Here, Sutras talk about how the nature of Five Skandhas are the absence of inherent existence; if you use the secular way of thinking then Five Skandhas are all existing; this is where the trouble is from. Today, we have incessant afflictions is precisely because we think that everything is the mode of existence. You work hard to earn money and you can get it. Having a disturbance at work or an unpeaceful livelihood, and you will have a feeling. Regarding “birth, aging, sickness and death” you will have a feeling. Truthfully speaking, after you study this Heart Sutra, you will feel comfortable in your mind. These phenomena are delusional thoughts caused from your attachment. If you feel that these things are unreal, then congratulations you have extricated yourself. If you think it is real, I guarantee you will enjoy it slowly and suffer through it.
Therefore, within this enjoyment and enduring, there are many different phases that exhibit your different kinds of attachments. For instance: When we eat a meal, sometimes you want to think, pick and select. To what extent will you be happy and satisfied?
Honestly speaking, things can never be happy and to your satisfaction. You may think about the past, or think about the present, or think about the future; but whatever you think, it is impossible to be according per your wishes.
Why not? Your way of thinking, looking at things, saying and doing still use the concept of Five Skandhas are all existing and are not the nature of absence of inherent existence. We are going to understand this concept from here. Now we start to explain: No existence of the realms of the eyes, up to and including no existence of the realms of consciousness.
This realm of eyes refers to a scientist speaking about the optic nerve. You think it is real, then you are wrong. It is the continuous images of creation (beginning) and extinction (ending) running 900 times in an instant.
How to explain this? If you watch the shooting of a gun with a high-speed camera, I had mentioned this before, the bullet leaves from the muzzle of the gun to hit the target, such short distance, however for us to see it as an instant. When you look at it through a high-speed camera, every extract is static and segments – this proves that images are unreal.
Image (phenomenon) is the misconception manifested from your mind, and this misconception has brought you measureless and boundless attachment. Speaking further onwards, it brings you measureless and boundless afflictions. Therefore, what we see from our physical eyes are surely not the first true phenomenon which has already passed through three reflexes. So, what we see are unreal images after delusional thought and attachment. For instance: Today explaining the Sutra, here at present there are many people; looking at everyone’s condition – with your physical vision you see their skin. If you have divine vision or Heavenly vision, you can see through to the internal organs. If you are an Arhat with wisdom vision, and you can see the condition of selflessness and without individual existence. If you are a Bodhisattva with Dharma vision, you can see the condition of the ion’s creation (rising) and extinction (falling).
There are many kinds of Bodhisattvas; if you are a Bodhisattva who has attained the first stage of the joy of Mahayana Bodhisattva development (as in the 41st level within the 52 levels of cultivation who has realized intrinsic truth with unmoved mind) and you have already eradicated the unenlightened condition, then what you see are the fluctuations of the mind. If you have eradicated all 41 grades of the unenlightened conditions and become a Buddha, then you would see that nothing is there, even “thought” does not exist.