MASTER SHEN-LONG | Explanation of the Title: Prajna Paramita Heart Sutra, Part 53
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Explanation of the Title: Prajna Paramita Heart Sutra, Part 53

We continue to explain Prajna. Last Chapter we explained the “essence, phenomenal characteristics, and function” of Prajna.

By means of the Surangama Sutra is the “essence”,

By means of the Flower Adornment Sutra is the “phenomenal characteristics”, 

By means of the Lotus of Wonderful Dharma Sutra is the “function”. 

Surangama, we know is the overall state of tranquility, exempt from all external sensations of the self-nature’s true body, and also be said as the Samadhi of Amitabha. We often listen to people talk about the “ocean seal to indicate the vastness of Samadhi of the Buddha as the face of the sea that reflects all forms” and this means the Dharani of all teaching. Dharani, is able to lay hold of the good so that it cannot be lost, and likewise of the evil so that is cannot arise.

Surangama is the essence that represents the functioning glorious body of self-nature of all being’s. The moment when Mahavairocana became Buddha, his transformations and empowering presence, he stated:

From cultivation practice the infinite existence of world-periods to today, I attain the realization:  There is not a single thing originally, where can dust (afflictions) be provoked

This is extremely very important.

The “essence” of Prajna, if you cannot understand, then you will be at a loss to understand “phenomenal characteristics” and “function” forever. Never mind about the “function”; you are even unable to see the “phenomenal characteristics”. Therefore, in the Flower Adornment Sutra

The Huayan Assembly of innumerable Buddha from afar are heard.

Many Buddha and Bodhisattvas perform the essence of Prajna, and all are within the Surangama Samadhi.

Today I want to further explain Prajna. Using what way to show? The three insights: All as the absence of inherent existence, all as unreal and the middle way. 

Referring to Master Zhi-Yi (also known as the Great Master Zhi-Zhe, or the wise one), the founder of the Tiantai School, there are three established methods of insight practices for the mind. The primary purpose of the Tiantai teachings is to concentrate the mind with special methods for developing clear insight into the truth and to be rid of illusions. Historically to the present, they have been called the ” three quietude’s of the mind” (when the physical organism is at rest), and the three insights (when the mind sees clearly with insight into the nature of reality).

Before the Surangama Sutra arrived in China, the Great Master Zhi-Yi built a special Sutra worship platform. It is said that in India, this wonderful Sutra existed, hoping that it would come to China sooner. He worshipped it for 18 years until he passed away, but the Sutra did not come. Later, it was Pramiti (an Indian monk) who smuggled it out of India. He cut open his arms and hid the Surangama Sutra in the arm. Before, people seeking the Buddha teaching were fully willing to risk their lives; some even let go of their lives. These people all reached various stages of enlightenment attainment–accurately witness in practice one has this cognitive sphere.  It is not like people in the current period of degeneration and extinction of the Buddha teaching who cultivate by talking, which is of no use.

Therefore, within the “three quietude’s of the mind and the three insights”, we explain the “three insights”. Today we are going to focus on the insight of all as the absence of inherent existence, insight of all as unreal, and insight of the middle way.

We start from the insight of all as the absence of inherent existence. “The absence of inherent existence” refers to all is the condition of nirvana.  The condition of nirvana that which exists.

Non-existent and existent are non-duality, true or fake exists at the same time.

Everyone should have heard that, the experienced practitioners have heard this. Why Non-existent and existent are non-duality? Because existent is precisely the absence of inherent existence, and vice versa.

Let me explain with an example. Now we are sitting in this room, where does the nature of the absence of inherent existence be shown? It is shown from your seat, from your mind, from your “eyes, ears, nose, tongue, body and mind”, “sight, sound, smell, taste, touch and ideas”. If you do not have attachments, the phenomenon of the “nature of the absence of inherent existence” is the fluctuation of all ions. I have talked so much about this “fluctuation” formerly.

What is fluctuation? Fluctuation of the mindfulness of thought.

The fluctuation of the mindfulness of thought creates spirituality. Fluctuation of spirituality creates materiality. Fluctuation of materiality creates karma–attachment.

The fluctuation of attachments, when desperately serious causes all karma of “greed, resentment, ignorance, arrogance and suspicion” completely in perfection without exception. If you cultivate the pure deeds, then you attain “moral precepts, stillness of mind control, and wisdom” perfectly. We must figure out that the main demarcation point is whether you have attachment or not. If you have attachment, you are unable to see the “nature of the absence of inherent existence”. Without seeing the “nature of the absence of inherent existence”, you cannot have experiential entry into the “nature of the absence of inherent existence”. Then there is a phenomenon, there is rebirth and death, there is a cyclic existence–reincarnation.

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


卷 (四 )     空、假、中三觀                          

今天繼續講「般若」。上次講到「般若」 -體、相、用,以《首楞嚴》為體,以《華嚴》為相,以《法華》為用。

《首楞嚴》,我們知道是自性法身的「總定」,也可以說是「彌陀之定」。怎麼講: 我們常聽人家講「海印」,這「海印」的意思,是一切法之總持。總持,就是「陀羅尼」。







《楞嚴經》沒有到中國以前,智者大師築了個拜經台,聽說印度有這麼一部經,希望它早點來中國,拜了十八年到他圓寂,還沒來。後來是般刺密諦把它偷運出國。把自己的手臂割開,把《楞嚴經》藏在手臂當中。以前人求法是完全投入生命,甚至把生命放下;這些人都是證果的人 -「實證」,實際上有這境界。不是像現在「末法」用講的,沒有用的。

所以「三止三觀」裡面,我們要講的是「三觀」。 今天要集中火力講「空觀、假觀、中觀」。



空有為什麼不二? 因為有就是空,空就是有。





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