MASTER SHEN-LONG | Prajna Paramita Heart Sutra, Part 1
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Prajna Paramita Heart Sutra, Part 1

Prajna Paramita Heart Sutra, Part 1

[Series of Master Shen-Long expounding on the Prajna Paramita (Perfection of Transcendent Wisdom) Heart Sutra]

Before I explain the title of this Sutra, I need to make a statement and let everyone know about the origin of this sutra.

We all know that there is a well-known Sutra called the Diamond Sutra. The Diamond Sutra unfolds the Prajna Paramita Heart Sutra. This means the Heart Sutra is the quintessence of the Diamond Sutra.  It is the key point. If you understand the Heart Sutra, then you will certainly know the Maha-Prajnaparamita Sutra, which consists of 600 volumes (that was delivered by Shakyamuni in four places at sixteen assemblies) as translated by Master Xuan-Zang. To “know well” means you have verified into the Buddha truth.

Today I will, to the best of my ability, try not to use Buddhist terminology to explain, because for those that have studied Buddhist terminology, while they may understand it, the general audience would have a problem understanding the in-depth meaning. Today I will only talk about the word Prajna (wisdom).

When listening to Sutra explaining, one needs to have patience.  During listening, you need to concentrate your attention completely. After having finished listening, one does not think it over again, for the mind is crystal clear and understands; this is called Prajna.

What is the function of Prajna? The function is wisdom because Prajna has multi-faceted meanings in which wisdom only represents one of them.

Prajna (wisdom) originates from Sanskrit and the Indian language has multiple implied meanings. Everything within the Heart Sutra talks about wisdom as the key point within multiple implied meanings. Here I have introduced the general concept to everyone.

Next, we will formally go into the Sutra title. The title is Prajna Paramita (Perfection of Transcendent Wisdom) Heart Sutra: Prajna – before Shakyamuni Buddha was born to this Saha land, in India there were 96 kinds of teaching outside of the doctrine. This so-called “teaching outside of the doctrine” means looking for teaching outside of the mind. People were all searching for wisdom.  These people had very high cultivation skill close to Samadhi (the highest level of the unmoved mind and undisturbed); they were not ordinary when seated quietly like an average person or doing Yoga practice. They all realistically entered the phase of verification into the ultimate essence of the truth. This so-called “phase of verification into the ultimate essence of the truth” means that you see with your own eyes, hear with your own ears, even to the extent that their six supernatural powers were gradually recovered.

What did one see? One saw the phenomena of the universe, like we speak about the Milk-Way galaxy, which to the average person is called the condition of Heaven and the whole world. Regarding Heaven, they saw that Heaven has 28 tiers. This happened before Shakyamuni Buddha was born here – this was the attainment of those ascetic practice monks, or practitioners of Brahmanism, and from other religions. However, there was a problem: they knew about outside phenomena, but they did not know why the root cause had come into being, which was equivalent to our current phenomena.

The so-called phenomena are as we are here listening to sutra explaining, we gather here and there are people, events, places, objects, but we do not know how people come to be, and do not know the contributory cause or condition behind it. Of course, there was a small portion of people who knew the contributory cause or condition, but maybe not that thoroughly.

The most important problem is that many people who have comprehended the truth up to the highest level, they want to make a breakthrough and they want to attain full selflessness to no longer have the concept of “I –self”. They wanted to attain this goal, but they could not reach it.

Why? It is because they still have attachment. The practitioners used the method of the “Total eight Meditation levels of the four Dhyana heavens of both the realm of Form and Formless” In Chinese culture; Daoism mentioned this. Daoism is the teaching of Lao-Zi (the founder of Daoism and the book of Dao – Daodejing); there is also another person named Zhang Dao-Leng, but we must not confuse his way with Lao-Zi. In Daoism, Lao-Zi speaks of:

The Way that can be described is not the universal and eternal way.

Regarding the universal and eternal way in Daoism, their comprehension is like the condition of those 96 kinds of teaching outside the doctrine, but it is not the same.

If you have studied Confucianism, you would also know that the Chinese often mention:

Sincerity, right mind, to cultivate one’s moral character, to govern one’s family, to rule a country, to pacify the country.

Sincerity is precisely talking about meditation (mental composure); Zeng Guo-Fan (1811-1872; Qing dynasty politician and military man) also said:

             No (distracting) thought emerges is called sincere.

Therefore, regardless from what angle you look at this, all ethnic groups seek out wisdom to reach this identical condition.

How come they have this identical thinking?

They want to resolve the problems of life.

What problem? Afflictions.

Living in this world we seem to have countless and boundless afflictions. Shakyamuni Buddha in his era talked about this, and he knew that all living beings needed to resolve this problem.

>>Click here to read the full series of Master Shen-Long expounding on Prajna Paramita Heart Sutra

 

在還沒有這入這個經題以前,我要先報告一下這部經的來源。

這個經的本身:中國有一部很有名的經叫【金剛經】。這個【金剛經】就是【般若心經】的展開。所謂「展開」,也就是說【心經】就是【金剛經】的精華,它是個樞紐。如果你懂了【心經】,這個【大般若經】六百卷你絕對可以通達。所謂「通達」,就是證入。

我今天盡量不用佛家的名詞來講,因為佛教的名詞,我相信各位同修如果有研究的人當然能懂,一般人來講不容易深入,我盡量用白話。另外還有一個現象就是,我講經很慢,可能今天只講兩個字,講「般若」。

一般來說,聽經要有耐性。你聽的時候,你全神貫注地聽,聽完了以後,也不要再去想它,心裡面清清楚楚,明明白白,這個叫做「般若」。

這個作用是什麼?這個作用是智慧。因為「般若」是多重的,智慧只代表其中的一種。

「般若」原是梵語,梵語我們講是印度話,它裡面多重含義。【心經】本身所講的一切,就是多重含義中的樞紐。這裡介紹讓大家有一個概念。

我們現在正式進入這個經題。【般若波羅密多心經】這個「般若」,在佛還沒有出生以前,我們指釋迦牟尼佛沒有出生在這個娑婆世界以前,印度有九十六種「外道」。所謂「外道」就是心外求法。他們都在找所謂智慧。這些人都有很高的禪定功夫,絕對不是我們一般人講的很普通的靜坐或者是瑜伽;他們都是進入「證」的階段。所謂證的階段就是你親眼見到,親可聽到,甚至於他們的六神通都慢慢地恢復。

他看到的是什麼?看到的是宇宙的現象,我們講的「銀河系」。一般人而言叫做「天上天下」的這個狀態;我們講的「天堂」。

他們可以看到的天堂狀態有多少層?有二十八層。

這是當時佛沒有降生以前,印應這些所謂苦行僧也好、婆羅們教也好、各式各樣的宗教,他們所達到的境界。但是有個問題,他是知其然,不知其所以然。也就等於說我們今天知道這個現象。

所謂現象,也就是我們來聽經,大家聚集在一起,有「人、事、地、物」,他會知道這個現象,可是他不知道人怎麼來的,不知道這個因緣。當然有一部份人知道因緣,可能不徹底。

最重要的問題,是很多證到很高境界的人,他要突破,他要達到完全無我,就是再也沒有我的觀念,他要達到這個,但是他達不到。

為什麼呢?因為他還有執著。他們用的叫「四禪八定」。這個在我們中國人而言,道家提到過。這個所謂「道家」,是像老子他們講的。另外一個張道陵的,這我們不能混為一談。所謂道家講:「道可道,非常道」。這裡面的這個「道」,跟九十六種外道證的狀態很相似,但是不一樣。

如果你對儒家有一點研究的時候,你也知道,中國人常常講:「誠意、正心、修身、齊家、治國、平天下」,這個「誠意」就是「定」。曾國藩也講過:「一念不生謂之誠。」

所以無論從那個角度看,每個有智慧的民族,他們要達到的狀態,幾乎都一致。

為什麼會一致?他要解決人生的問題。什麼問題?煩惱。

我們好像覺得活在這個世間這個煩惱很多,無量無邊煩惱。所以當時釋迦牟尼佛,就在這樣一個時代講這個,他知道眾生需要解決。

>>Click here to read the full series of Master Shen-Long expounding on Prajna Paramita Heart Sutra

 

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