08 Dec Prajna Paramita Heart Sutra, Part 65
[Series of Master Shen-Long expounding on the Prajna Paramita (Perfection of Transcendent Wisdom) Heart Sutra]
(Last week we ended with, “A beginner may have problems understanding this, but it does not matter, you can try to apply the preceding concept of all materialistic phenomena are not different from no phenomenon as the impermanent existence nature; no phenomenon is not different from all materialistic phenomena in your daily life. If you truly cannot experience it, then use the chanting Amitabha method to calm your mind.”)
Today we explain: There is no wisdom, and nothing can be lay hold of. The word No and nothing is without attachment. This “without attachment” has many meanings, it can also be “no phenomenon for its impermanent existence nature”.
The ancients stated Three Insights: The study of 1. all as no phenomena, 2. all as unreal, 3. the middle ways; so, without attachment to “no phenomena”, without attachment to “the unreal”, and without attachment to “the middle ways”. The “middle ways” expresses I am without attachment regarding either “no phenomena” or “unreal phenomena”; but again, I am probably having attachment to the thought of “I have no attachment”. This kind of syntax and phrase, we have already discussed a lot this so-called “without attachment” situation in the preceding chapters.
Here this wisdom represents Prajna in all.
We speak about Prajna Paramita and have spoken before about needing to have Prajna to detach from the suffering sea, but here it explains that there is no need for Prajna and no need to attach to Prajna. What does it mean?
This no attachment to Prajna has a situation; precisely you row the boat, and you use this boat to go to the other shore. In the end, you have landed to the other shore and disembarked; do you still need this boat?
For some people, one still carries this boat on one’s shoulders and becomes a burden.
Therefore, this wisdom represents all Prajna wisdom. This Prajna wisdom is the moment that one is completely without attachment, and then true wisdom will manifest. If you do not have attachment to Prajna this is true wisdom, then you will progress to a further tier. Just like the method of having the purely natural way of behaving in harmony with the true nature of all things, we talk about “effortlessly achieving the way of enlightenment leading to nirvana”.
The 41 Mahasattvas with embodiment of truth, all have eradicated at least one unenlightened condition. Between the first grade Bodhisattva with the embodiment of truth (as the 41st of 52 cultivation tiers) and the status of absolute universal enlightenment Bodhisattva of the Perfect Teaching school (as the 52nd-cultivation tiers), there are more than ten grades of difference, and their unenlightened habits also differ greatly with each one, but they all practice the method of having the purely natural way of behaving in harmony with the true nature of all things.
So how to distinguish each one’s cultivation within the method of having the purely natural way of behaving in harmony with the true nature of all things?
It is already having the purely natural way of behaving in harmony with the true nature of all things; how to distinguish them? It is to distinguish from their unenlightened habits.
Therefore, it is called the condition of there is no wisdom, and nothing can lay hold of. To lay hold of expresses how we have wisdom now, the head is clear, and we need to detach from afflictions. We call this way of thinking or this concept, the concept of wisdom, the concept of Prajna.
However, here it explains nothing can lay hold of, so the concept of gain or loss do not exist, the concept of Prajna also is non-existent. Because wisdom and to lay hold of are still the tools; up to this level one still needs to let go, precisely this way can eradicate the unenlightened conditions.
If you say: “I have eradicated the unenlightened condition today”, then it is all finished; you still have the concept of “I have eradicated the unenlightened condition today”.
If you truly have eradicated the unenlightened condition:
- You are selfless.
- You do not have the unenlightened condition concept.
- There is no attachment in your mind when your last grade of the unenlightened condition gets eradicated.
Regarding practicing this method of having the purely natural way of behaving in harmony with the true nature of all things, strictly speaking, all recedes from one’s previous position before one attains the Bodhisattva of the 8th Stage (as in the 48th level of the 52 levels of cultivation). This kind of receding means your mind still has fluctuations.
Where is this fluctuation from? It is caused by subtle attachment to “I-self”.
This subtleness is to what extent? Even you yourself cannot detect it.
For instance, now you are at the first grade Bodhisattva with the embodiment of truth, then the second grade of Bodhisattva sees that you still have attachment, then from the third grade Bodhisattva to see the second grade and the first grade all have attachment. So, for the higher-grade Bodhisattva to see the lower grades Bodhisattva, all have attachment; however, the first grade Bodhisattva is unable to tell the higher grades.
Just like how we constantly talk about how after we are in the Bliss World of Amitabha Pure Land, our way of living is exactly Amitabha’s way of living. Is there any difference between you and Amitabha? There does not seem to be any difference.
However, Amitabha sees that the curvature of our activated mind with arising thought is too great, but for us to look at Amitabha, you could not tell. Of course, he is perfect and without movement, but we cannot tell that there is any difference between him and us. Like how we look at ancient eminent monks, their appearance is no different from us, and they act the same as us by eating, drinking, going to the toilet and sleeping. The only difference between them and us is that they leave here with their heads clear and when we leave our heads are unclear; it can only appear from this place.