4. Early Mahayana: Prajnaparamita

4.1 Mahayana Buddhism Introduction - February 13, 2020

4.2 Prajnaparamita verses - February 20, 2020

The Perfection of Wisdom

Homage to the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas!
Not seeking wisdomNot seeking perfectionNot seeking transcendenceNot seeking enlightenmentAbiding in non-abidingThe Bodhisattva does not go astray
Not obscured by formNot obscured by feelingNot obscured by perceptionNot obscured by mental elaborationNot obscured by consciousnessThe one who is clear and at easeDiscovers the boundlessAppearances are vivid, but always in fluxThe Bodhisattva does not grasp at them
Transcending the worldThe Bodhisattva becomes invisibleGone to Nirvana but where?A fire is extinguished but where?No one knows A Bodhisattva has no past A Bodhisattva is not bound by time at allPure, free from conditions, without obscurationA Bodhisattva lives wisdomThe highest perfection

A Bodhisattva abides in non-arisingAnd goodness radiates in all directionsBenefiting countless beingsFree from names, resting in the namelessA Bodhisattva lives wisdomThe highest perfection
Knowing that everything is uncreatedKnowing words do not reach it at allKnowing the world flows from within They reside in the deathless This is perfect wisdom
Forms are not wisdom, nor is wisdom formThe original nature is like space Without a break or crackBoundless, without limit

4.3 The Prajna Podcast - February 27, 2020

The Perfection of Wisdom in a Few Words

Thus have I heard, at one time the Lord dwelt at Rajagrha on Vulture Peak, seated on the glorious Lion Throne, together with a large gathering of monks, with 1,250 monks, with hundreds of thousands of niyutas of kotis of Bodhisattvas, surrounded and revered by thousands of niyutas of kotis of gods, world guardians and others.
Then Lord Avolokiteshvara, the Bodhisaattva-Mahasattva, rose from his seat, put his upper robe over one shoulder, placed his right knee on the earth, bent forth his folded hands towards the Lord, and with a smiling face said to the Lord.
“Demonstrate, O Lord, The Perfection of Wisdom in a Few Words, which is of great merit; when beings merely hear it, all obstacles arising from their past deeds will be extinguished, and they will definitely awaken to enlightenment. And the mantras of those beings who labor zealously at the recitation of mantras will succeed without fail.”
Thereupon the Lord gave his approval to the greatly compassionate Lord Avalokiteshvara, the Bodhisattva-Mahasattva,
“Well said, well said, son of good family, you who have been engaged for a long time in furthering the benefit of all beings, their welfare and their happiness. Therefore, son of good family, listen and attend well! I will teach you The Perfection of Wisdom in a Few Words, which has great merit. When beings merely hear it, their obstacles will be extinguished and they will definitely awaken to enlightenments and the mantras of those beings who labor zealously at the recitation of mantra will succeed without fail.”
Thereupon Lord Avolokiteshvara, the Bodhisattva-Mahasattva, said to the Lord: “Teach it then, Blessed One, for the benefit of all beings, for their welfare and happiness!”
Thereupon the Lord at that time entered into the Samadhi called, “The Liberation from all Suffering”. When he had entered into that Samadhi, many hundreds of thousands of niyutas of kotis of rays issued from the hair-tuft between His eye-brows, and all the Buddha-fields were filled with these rays, and all the beings who were touched by that radiance became fixed on the utmost, right and perfect enlightenment, even as far as the beings in the hells. And all the Buddha-fields shook in six ways, and showers of heavenly sandalwood powder rained down on the ground at the feet of the Lord.
Thereupon the Lord at that time taught the Perfection of Wisdom as follows: “The Bodhisattva-Mahasattva should possess equanimity, he should have a friendly thought towards all beings, he should be thankful, he should be grateful, and he should desist in his heart from all evil.
“And this Heart of Perfect Wisdom mantra should be repeatedly recited:
(Homage to Sakyamuni, the Tathagata, the Fully Enlightened One, OM Sage, Sage, Great Sage, All hail!)
“Through this Perfection of Wisdom, I have reached the utmost, right and perfect enlightenment, and from it all the Buddhas have come into being. And all those who hear this this subtle dharma, bear it in mind, recite it, write it and explain it in detail to others and who when this has been made into a book, preserve and treasure it, they will, even through learning just a single syllable of what is written here, become Tathagatas.
(OM may I conquer, may I conquer! O you who are in the likeness of a lotus! Hold me close, hold me close! O you the path for going forward! Possessor of Wisdom, Possessor of Wisdom! Goddess! Protectress! You who rescue us from strife, who ward off the harmful actions of others! Fulfill, Fulfill, Lovely Lady, the hope of all! Clean away all my karmic coverings and those of all beings! You who are sustained by the Buddhas. All hail!)
“This, O Son of Good Family, is the Perfection of Wisdom in the ultimate sense, the Mother of all the Buddhas, the Mother of all the Bodhisattvas, the bestower of enlightenment, remover of all evil. Even all the Buddhas are unable to express in words her advantages, even after hundreds of kotis of aeons. Where it is merely being recited there all the Assemblies are consecrated, and all the Mantras are realized.”
Thereupon the holy Avalokiteshvara, the Bodhisattava-Mahasattva, said to the Lord, ”For what reason, O Lord is this the Perfection of Wisdom in a Few Words?”
The Lord said: “Because it is an easy means. If there are beings who are dull and lazy, and if they will bear in mind this Perfection of Wisdom in a Few Words, will recite it, read it, cause it to be read, they will, through an easy means, end up in enlightenment. For this reason, son of good family, has this Perfection of Wisdom been compressed into a few words.”
The Holy Avolokiteshvara, the Bodhisattva-Mahasattva, then said to the Lord: “It is wonderful, O Lord, that for the benefit of all beings this discourse on dharma has been pronounced, for the sake of sentient beings who are lazy and have need of an easy practice, for their welfare, for their happiness.”
Thus spoke the Lord Enraptured, the Holy Lord Avalokiteshvara, the Bodhisattva-Mahasattva, and the monks, and the Bodhisattvas, and the whole world with its gods, men, asuras and gandharvas rejoiced in the Lord’s teaching.
Adapted from the translation of Edward Conze

4.4 Feminine Wisdom - March 5, 2020

  • Prajnaparamita, Paul Tillich, Light Mysticism, and other topics...

4.6 Prajna amid the CoronaBardo - March 19, 2020

4.7 The Heart of Perfect Wisdom - March 26, 2020

The Heart of Perfect Wisdom

Avolokita, the Holy Lord and Bodhisattva was moving in the deep course of the wisdom which has gone beyond. He looked down from on high. He beheld the five skandhas and saw that they were empty of self-nature.

“O Sariputra,” he said. “Form is emptiness, and that very emptiness is form. Emptiness does not differ from form, nor does form differ from emptiness; whatever is form, that is emptiness, whatever is emptiness, that is form.”

“The same is true of feelings, perceptions, impulses and consciousness.

“O Sariputra. The phenomenal is marked by emptiness. Nothing is born nor dies, nothing is defiled or pure, nothing is partial or complete. Therefore, O Sariputra, where there is emptiness there is neither form, nor feeling, nor perception, nor impulse, nor consciousness. There is no eye, no ear, no nose, no tongue, no body, no mind, no appearance, no sound, no smell, no taste, no touch, no object of mind, no sight organ element up to no mind consciousness element; no ignorance, no end of ignorance up to no old age and death, no end of old age and death. There is no suffering no cause of suffering, no cessation of suffering, and no path; there is no wisdom, no attainment and no non-attainment.

Therefore, O Sariputra, since Bodhisattvas are indifferent to personal attainment, and abide by means of Prajnaparamita, they dwell without thought. In the absence of thought, there is no fear. They transcend falsehood and are sustained by Nirvana. All those buddhas of the three times having relied on Prajnaparamita fully awaken to the utmost right and perfect enlightenment.

Therefore one should know Prajnaparamita as the great mantra, the mantra of great knowledge, the utmost mantra, the unequalled mantra, the mantra that pacifies all suffering, in truth for there is no deception. By Prajnaparamita has this mantra been received.


4.8 Philosophy of Sadhana - April 2, 2020

4.9 The Perfect Wisdom of Natural Presence - April 9, 2020

4.10 The Elusiveness of Perfect Wisdom - April 16, 2020

4.11 The Power of Wisdom - April 23, 2020