02 Sep Explanation of the Title: Prajna Paramita Heart Sutra, Part 40
(Last week we ended with: “In that case, they all are ordinary people, how can you recover your pure and radiant essence? How can you go to a better world?”)
Nobody is willing to choose to go to hell in one’s next life. Choosing against staying in the brilliant and wonderful world; there is none. Everybody hopes to live better every day. The Sutra always states:
The merit attained from cultivation one day in the Bliss World of Amitabha Pure Land is hard to compare with one day cultivation in our world.
Our world here has another name—the Saha Land, described as “an evil world stained with five turbidities”. The merits attained from one day’s practice of cultivation in our fighting society, the Amitabha Pure Land cannot match with Earth.
The merit attainment from one day of cultivation practice in the Saha Land, is if you can chant (mindfulness) Amitabha for whole day, and truly let go to chant (mindfulness) Amitabha. Chanting (mindfulness) Amitabha is chanting enlightenment.Your mind truly has purified of defiling illusion without any delusional thought and attachments; the merit attainment does not know how many more times you go to the Bliss World of Amitabha Pure Land to chant for a day. Why? Because the environment here is miserable and with lots of disturbances. While the Bliss World of Amitabha Pure Land has no disturbances.
Therefore, all beings of the Bliss World of Amitabha Pure Land practice the cultivation very happily. Regarding this thing I can feel, their cultivation there is truly beyond description by words; their body and mind are without oppression, their body can be any size, as big as one wants, if you do not like having a body you can also do without. Practicing cultivation at whatever location or to manifest what phenomena, it is as you wish. Why? It is the aiding power of awe-inspiring Amitabha on you, the strength of his pledged vow power that assists you. Precisely as we talked about the power of vows, it is awe-inspiring which is exactly assisted by the energy.
What is the assistance? While you are in that energy it does not have distracting thought arising in the mind instead, it improves the efficacy of your cultivation. People there all have this, we call it Prajnaparamita (perfection of wisdom). The purpose of explaining this so much is to reveal the effect of Prajna.
What do all beings of the Bliss World of Amitabha Pure Land do all day? If following the sample activities performed in our Saha Land (earth world): we wake up every morning, brush our teeth, then we go to work and go to the office to create karma. Then, we get paid a salary monthly, and estimate from the annual salary whether we can buy a house with a mortgage; living our life this way. The last is retirement planning, and then we die in our bed at a ripe old age. In the Bliss World of Amitabha Pure Land there exists no sleep, no rebirth and death, and no aging and sickness. Every day doing what? Very simply, they stay in an internal state of tranquility, exempt from all external sensations.
This internal state of tranquility ordinary people like us cannot imagine because our mind has never been fixed.
What level of internal state of tranquility is this? It is the Realization into the state of nirvana, the Samadhi of Tathagata attainment is called the Realization into the state of nirvana. That kind of happiness Buddha often states as inconceivable. This is beyond the human thought of happiness named “bliss”—this kind of delightfulness is beyond the description by any languages or words. Just this kind of delightfulness will prevent you from aging, illness, or death; there exists non-arising and non-ceasing of all phenomena. So, you need to speak these true facts, but people of the Saha Land (our world) have a problem to believe. Why? The gap of understanding is too far apart.
As a matter of fact, for us to imagine the realm of heavens now, as what we have just described as the paradise of Catholicism is already hard to do; let alone about the Bliss World of Amitabha Pure Land. Let alone our soul has recovered to the highest state of purity and illumination, that kind of pleasure and that sort of function of theirs is beyond our comprehension.
- If you are interested then you ought to go there to look then you will know.
- If you originally have less delusional thoughts and attachments, you should train yourself to calm down with the absence of thinking for at least 5 minutes per day. This is the beginning; then further advance to 10 minutes, 15 minutes, 20 minutes, and so forth, to be absent of thinking.
If you can calm down, without any actions, or without any reactions within your behavior of thinking, then your body and mind will produce a phenomenon of purity, equality, enlightenment and compassion. In general, being purified of defiling illusion is not very easy, being compassionate is not very easy, and being enlightened is not very easy. Realistically speaking, it is not uneasy; it is that we have never done this way and have never genuinely let go of all and become disillusioned with all.
To explain the Heart Sutra of Prajnaparamita (perfection of wisdom), what is the most important purpose? To help the masses fix their minds in their life. After carrying out this way for a few months, you would change. Why? You become purity, equality and enlightenment. This way is very good.
We normally claim that practicing cultivation is not easy; imagine the daily exercise of chanting (mindfulness) Amitabha, Buddha worship, and morning Sutra recitations, it gets very tiresome. If you do not chant, you do not have a peace of mind. As a result, you rush through the morning and evening exercise sessions. In fact, there is no need because using the ear’s hearing ability on Sutra explanation reaps the benefits for us. Seeing by the eyes, sometimes one does not necessarily comprehend.
Let me provide an example: I am explaining Sutra. Do you make out anything? All of you see a person talking. But by hearing, it is not the same. You can hear the in-depth and profound meanings; by just looking, it does not necessarily have that effect. Some beings from other worlds with less hearing ability will only taking one look and they will know; I have run into someone like that before. There are people like this; when you invite them for a meal, there is no need to say anything, once they taste the meal they would say: “This is what Prajna (wisdom) is all about”.
Therefore, Buddhist scriptures also mentioned there are 84,000 methods to help all living beings; the number represents infinite beings, since everyone has different attachments we need to find a summarized method to help them.
沒有一個人願意說我下一生要下地獄，不想在光明美好的世界混了，我下地獄去了；沒有的。大家都希望一天比一天好。經典裡面常講：「極樂世界修行一天的功德，比不上我們。」我們叫娑婆世界 – 就是五濁惡世,這個鬥爭的社會裡面修行一天的功德，比不上。
「寂滅忍」，「忍」是什麼？ 認證，就是寂滅的現象。那種快樂，所以佛常講不可思議。不可思議之樂叫極樂 – 沒有辦法用語言文字去形容的這種喜悅。光是這個喜悅就讓你不老、不病、不死，沒有生、沒有滅。所以你要把這個事實真相講出來, 娑婆世界的人，就是我們這世界的人不會信的。為什麼？差距太遠了。
二, 如果你心裡本來妄想、執著就少的話，可以訓練自己，每天 讓自己五分鐘安靜下來 – 什麼事都不要想，先訓練這個能力。 十分鐘、十五分鐘、二十分鐘，不要去想。
我們平常說是修行不容易,想想念佛、拜佛、做早課、念很多經，很累。不念又覺得心裡不安，所以做早課、做晚課的時候，都用趕的。其實不需要，因為這聽 – 用耳朵聽的，對我們很受用。眼睛看，不見得看得懂。
所以經典上也講八萬四千法。渡眾生有八萬四千法 – 表示很多；眾生無量，每個人執著不同，要找出一個歸納法來幫助他。