24 Jan Prajna Paramita Heart Sutra, Part 70
[Series of Master Shen-Long expounding on the Prajna Paramita (Perfection of Transcendent Wisdom) Heart Sutra]
(Last week we ended with, “Living in this society you unconsciously have a mind of reciprocation, and a mind of gain and losses which has caused a person’s unbalanced frame of mind. The reason why your mind is unbalanced is because you have the concept of gain and loss, and have hindrance.”)
[Sutra] There is no hindrance in mind, hence one does not panic and fear, keeping cognitive distortion, dream and imagination far beyond.
Here it talks about when there exists no mind, then one does not panic and fear, keeping cognitive distortion, dream and imagination far beyond.
When you do not have mind then there is no hindrance, hence one does not panic and fear. Today our worst affliction is panic and fear and no understanding regarding the future.
You ask one, “What is going to happen in the next minute?” One does not know.
One smiles and asks a question in reply, “You ask of me, how would I know.”
I encountered many friends this afternoon, and this is the problem. One had a vacant look, trying to select.
I am telling you, regardless of how you do the selection your mind is not peaceful. When you have a choosing mind, you are restless. The smart person does one’s own selection. However, the muddled-head one does not select and does not know what to do. One insisting to be stubborn, and on top of that stubbornness, if one does not want to change then this is big trouble. This kind of person does not keep cognitive distortion, dream and imagination far beyond, and is also not far away from pain and fear. This kind of person easily convulses with fear when something happens externally and cannot adapt. I have seen many like that, “Oh my, I am done for. So-and-so already died, how can l live on?”
I have seen many kinds of problems like this; in fact, it is none of one’s business. Furthermore, this kind of problem of having no concern of one’s business, even if it happens to you, again it is no concern of yours.
This body of ours is a body of hindrance, just like a cloth that can be thrown away. However, one insists on draping this phony thing on oneself unfortunately. The body’s metabolism and assemblage of cells are unsubstantial and unreal. When your mind has the condition of hindrance, then fear exists. You panic about losing, and one day unexpectedly, it will all suddenly disappear and go missing. After you lose it you will start to fear. Fear is more than being afraid; to be afraid can still be resolved, but to be in fear is very difficult.
Some people are naturally fearful, not peaceful with all, and do not feel safe in mind. not only without any understanding regarding life of the universe, also panicked and fearful regarding one’s trifles.
Let us look at some joking matters: some people scream when then see a mouse, or yell when they see a cockroach. Why?
Did you ever think about the condition of their mind’s attitude, because when they see other things they seem to have no problem?
We can look at the mind attitude of all living beings from a small area of their daily life, and of course those living beings also include yourself.
How was this kind of habit formed?
How has this unhealthy habit formed since the no beginning existence of world-periods?
We explained this last time, that it was the start of the unenlightened condition when activating an unenlightened thought, and suddenly you do not understand this matter. So bluntly speaking, you did not understand this originally. The ancients spoke of no need to add “understand clearly to know”; in other words, there is no need to put a head above a head, further there is no need to draw legs on a snake to ruin the effect by adding an unnecessary layer. Speaking further in-depth, the less you know, the better you will be.
But, people nowadays are contrary to this, the more I know the better I will be. Therefore, panic and fear exist daily. Suddenly, one has panic and fear about the falling stock market and next, one suddenly has panic and fear about being unable to find a job and next, one suddenly has panic and fear about one’s ego-face and in that case, there is no end to one’s busy doing.
Therefore, one does not panic and fear, but one is keeping cognitive distortion, dream and imagination far beyond. This keeping far beyond means no longer having.
What is cognitive distortion? The living beings of the six realms of reincarnation all have cognitive distortion, where they invert the cause as the effect, and treat the effect as the cause. Maybe this meal you are eating today is of your past relatives. People who enjoy eating meat no need to be nervous, all is the ruling of cause and effect (consequence). Today this meat appears in front of you, it exists due to cause and effect.
- Why is it not other meat and it happens to be this meat?
- Why do you have predestined affinity with this family?
- Why were you born in this place?
- Why do we meet with each other today?
It all has its cause. How does this become natural affinity? It is from the seed of cause.
The extent of the complexity of this cause, even Buddha Bodhisattva cannot end the explanation for infinite existence of world-periods. Activation of one thought has already started the “cause”, from this it will bloom and bear “fruit-the effect”, it waits for a contributory condition – affinity, and when it reaches to a certain extent shapes in producing effect with karma. It is the chain of cause and effect to receive karma-result as consequence of one’s action. The “consequence of one’s actions” is phenomena. “Effect” is the result after phenomena. Therefore, everything cannot be separate from the chain of cause and effect; as a man himself sows, so he himself reaps.
If you cannot be separate from “the ruling chain of cause and effect”, you cannot be apart from cognitive distortion, dream and imagination.
Regarding this word imagination: if you do not imagine, there is no dream; if you do not dream, you will not have cognitive distortion where you treat illusion as reality.
There is an ancient gong-an (study case) that is very interesting. One day a monk passed a household holding a wedding party. This monk had a pure mind with supernatural ability of Heaven vision, and he could see the cause and effect of everyone from previous lives. He saw this family, and their cause and effect were very interesting.
The bride of the groom was his past grandmother who had returned to this life. The chicken, duck, fish and meat on the table were all their past relatives and friends. After he saw these phenomena, he was inspired to write down the next Gatha:
This is strange and monstrous phenomena,
the grandson takes wife of the past grandma;
Past chickens and goats are the invited guests,
Past kinfolks and friends cook in the pot.
Then he smiled and left.
I once had a friend who had this kind of ability. He sees many phenomena, but he does not dare to speak about it. He also does not know that other people do not know, later he did not dare tell.
Was what he saw real? Yes, it was real.
Talking about cognitive distortion, it is truly cognitive distortion when: What situations where your previous lives, this life of yours turns into that same situation, and you run into that same situation. Even using a needle and thread, it all comes with cause and effect. Today if you walk out and slip, there is no need to blame God or accuse others and say: “Today I have bad luck”. That moment was set, which is why you slipped. Today if you encounter happiness, there is no need to cheer – it is from your seeded cause of the past.
A wise person knows nothing can be lay hold of, and with a mindset of nothing can lay hold of, then one does not make the “cause and effect”; one’s mind will be composed. Furthermore, this way of being composed is forever, and one will surely not recede from this state.
There is no need for all of you to worry; after we become Buddha will we go back and become a common person again? That is surely impossible.
A common person before is a Buddha, this means you have Buddha-nature, and you have not cultivated to become Buddha yet. After becoming Buddha, your gold mine needs to go through cleansing by a sand and gold refinery. Your gold mine contains the gold mineral, you need to refine and remove its impurities. The impurity is your delusional thought and attachment; I trust all of you understand this principle. Yet strangely, you do not want to do it.
Why? Regarding the facts of reality, you still do not comprehend. If you comprehend it entirely, you will do it and you will unknowingly become non-cognitive distortion and non-fantasizing.
Dream represents your life on earth. Imagination represents your indulgence in flights of fancy, to think of the past, present and future, thinking about going to sleep or thinking I ought to do things this way, and so forth. After you part from these phenomena, then it is nirvana attainment.