10 Aug Prajna Paramita Heart Sutra, Part 49
[Series of Master Shen-Long expounding on the Prajna Paramita (Perfection of Transcendent Wisdom) Heart Sutra]
(Last week we ended with: Why do we have “three minds and two consciousness”? Because we want to discriminate; we want to have attachment.)
[Sutra] No existence of the realms of the eyes, up to and including no existence of the realms of consciousness. No existence of the unenlightened condition, and no ending of the unenlightened conditions; up to and including no aging and death, also no ending of aging and death. There is no suffering, no cause of suffering, no cessation the suffering, and no way to nirvana. There is no wisdom, and nothing can be lay hold of.
This Sutra is becoming more and more brilliant. No existence of the realms of the eyes up to and including no existence of the realms of consciousness; the variation within is huge. This is what we have just talked about a moment ago as eyes, ears, nose, tongue, body, and mind; sights, sounds, scent-smells, tastes, touch, and all illusory phenomena; even this does not exist, even this kind of sensory organ’s function also does not exist. Since ancient times, there were many people who misunderstood the Heart Sutra; they think that in the end nothing exists, then what meaning does life have?
They are all mistaken; the Sutra talks about how everything “all there” is everything “not there”. Previously stated: Hence, within no phenomenon exists no material phenomenon; no feelings, thinking, mental formations, and consciousness; if you have not yet comprehended this, then the following discussion will be even harder to comprehend.
If we move further back to omniscient penetrative ability with crystal clear perception that the nature of the Five Skandhas (the five composition elements of our existence) are absent of inherent existence. If you have not understood omniscient penetrative ability with crystal clear perception, then you will not understand the following explanation.
Let us move further back to have perfect insight of being master of oneself Bodhisattva; this to have perfect insight is extremely important. Whatever the insight of your mind, it manifests the sphere of your outside world. Someone could go to the coffin store and see the Bliss World of Amitabha Pure Land; someone could go to a funeral home and see the “purified of defiling illusion, equality and enlightenment”.
How come? One has purified mind of defiling illusion.
An old friend of mine practiced cultivation by volunteering to help the families of the dead at a funeral home to stay awake to chant and pray. With only a five-watt light, all around him were coffins filled with dead people; several people went there, some would be restless either sitting or standing for the whole night.
How come? They would hear sounds that were not supposed to be heard and would see things which are not supposed to be seen.
Some were only there for five or six minutes and felt the atmosphere was not right and then they run out. All those people had not comprehended all the universe phenomena are absent of inherent characteristics of existence. Then, there was one who sat there with a crystal-clear mind, unsoiled by impure practices.
Why? His body and mind were being the master of himself.
He did not place any of it in his mind. His mind was completely unmoved by any phenomena.
You asked him: why was he unmoved by any phenomena?
He answered: “So simple; all are phenomena.
What is the difference between a dead person and a living person?
What is the difference between the coffin and the wood floor?
Today one place is filled with living people, that other place is filled with dead people, what is the difference?
These are his concepts.
Moving a step further, one has even let go the concept of life or death; and completely without this concept. Moving another step further, there is no concept and all the phenomena he sees, nothing exists. Today, regardless of any method to enlightenment, if you cannot see clearly the life of the universe, it is very hard to do cultivation practice. Especially your habit; only you understand yourself the most.
Do you think he can control it? If he can change to another concept, then he can control.
Therefore, I feel that in many conditions, other people cannot help you. Others can only provide a method, just like how Buddha Bodhisattva explains Sutra, and he tells you the truth about the universe and passes on the method of enlightenment to you. Whether you understand it or do it exactly, that all depends on yourself.
How to do it? Each of you if you are interested in this, remind yourself during the exercise of morning and evening (Buddhist practice).
Why recite Sutra in the morning? In the morning when one gets up, there are not too many thoughts in one’s head, and it has an uplifting influence, especially the Heart Sutra: all material phenomena are not different from no phenomena; the fundamental essence of no phenomenon is not different from all material phenomena.You only need to learn a few words among the Sutra by heart which is sufficient.