16 Dec Prajna Paramita Heart Sutra, Part 66
[Series of Master Shen-Long expounding on the Prajna Paramita (Perfection of Transcendent Wisdom) Heart Sutra]
(Last week we ended with, “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.”)
When you are truly in the state of there is no wisdom, and nothing can lay hold of then you will entirely not have that distinction of subtle and distinguished thought. This is a very intriguing phenomenon. It is very hard for us to experience this in our life.
From the beginning of hearing Sutra explaining until now, all of you may have a kind of feeling: this wisdom, how can it be produced?
We often hear people say: this person does not have wisdom. This wisdom, what is it after all?
The general worldly custom concept is to have wisdom and then one can lay hold of things however, the Sutra states: there is no wisdom, and nothing can lay hold of. This word no and nothing was explained earlier to mean attachment. All of you must not be mistaken about this; this no and nothing does not mean “does not exist”. Wisdom cannot be said that it does not exist, wisdom exists but you do not have attachment to it.
Like water, when you write on water and the moment you write, phenomena exists. After you finished writing, the phenomenon is gone. When you write, you see the ripples in the water clearly however, it exists at the same time the water ripples. As long your twig leaves the water, the water will recover.
What is this phenomenon? What you see is the separation and reunion of ions, the wave motion of your optical vision.
In fact, the ions did not move but rather, your eyes were affected by the image. Going further in-depth, fundamentally there are no ions. There is not a single thing originally.
No wisdom, itself has no attachment to wisdom. “Does not have wisdom” is when you do not know whether wisdom exists or not. One means that you do not have attachment, the other is the unenlightened condition.
So “no wisdom” and “does not have wisdom is called the unenlightened condition”, are two different things.
All of you need to think about this conscientiously; the difference between “no attachment” and “the unenlightened condition” is huge. The “unenlightened condition” is us living muddle-headed daily, where life right now seems not bad and pretty good, and in the future as you approach your end there will probably not be any sickness and you die of old age. Some people would say that one has lived one’s whole life very happily. But if you look at this today from the perspective of wisdom, this kind of living is known as an unenlightened condition of living, also a kind of living with attachment. Although one is muddle-headed, but within one’s unenlightened condition there is attachment. If there was no attachment within the unenlightened condition, the unenlightened condition would be easy to handle and could easily be eradicated.
Why? With no attachment, if you tell one to wake up, one wakes up. Whatever you want one to do, one will do. If you tell one to chant Amitabha, one chants Amitabha.
Today we have a big problem. We have attachment. Everyone’s minds all have different severe attachments, different severe state of gain and loss. If all of you can understand no wisdom, also nothing can lay hold of, then the gain and loss in your mind will disappear.
We live in a good house, or our household is very poor; you do not have this concept. Other people purchased a car, we do not have this; you also do not have this concept.
What will my future life be?
What kind of job to look for?
I need to be such and such; you do not have these concepts at all.
Now the issue is, whether you want to do it or not? Do it. Do it, but without attachment.
Human has affliction which compares between the past, present and future incessantly. There is a common saying:
Constantly comparing oneself to others will only make one angry.
There is another interesting one:
It does not hurt to shop around for the best deal.
You also need to think, is this real?
During our daily life, we constantly run into many trifles not to our liking. If you use the concept of no wisdom, also nothing can lay hold of, then you will not have afflictions.
Although all are trivial matters, to extend the concept to phenomena of “birth, aging, sickness and death”; this life I have lived unpleasantly and will die with deep regret and with remaining grievance. If you can use the thinking of no wisdom, also nothing can lay hold of, then you will not become this way. From the Diamond Sutra:
All phenomena are like a dream, a mirage, a drop of dew, a flash of lightning; that is how to observe them.
Primarily, problems are from here.