The Buddha Mind Seal and the Teachings of Perfect Wisdom 

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The Buddha Mind Seal and the Teachings of Perfect Wisdom
Tenshin Reb Anderson

March 2, 2013 AM
No Abode

Notes: 
Transcribed by Karen Mueller
Transcript: 

I just wanted to say that this morning, in the first period of sitting, I was sitting here with you and tears glistened in the eyes at the beauty of this practice of us sitting together quietly. So beautiful. So wonderful to get together and sit still and practice enlightenment. Last month I spoke about this (welcome to people here for the first time)..Last time I talked about this expression of a “special transmission outside the Scriptures” which doesn’t use words. Directly indicating the mind of persons, seeing nature and becoming Buddha. I talked about that last month. IT’s sometimes said to be the way that. Here we have a statue of Bodhidharma up there with the bulging eyes. The Bulging Eyes Bodhisattva of Great Compassion Bodhidharma. Supposedly he gave this special transmission. He came from India and gave China this special transmission which didn’t use words, but directly indicated the mind to be studied and to be illuminated and to be vehicle of study to realize the nature of mind which is the nature of everything. And this process of realizing the nature of mind makes Buddhas. This is what he came to teach. So it’s kind of quintessential Zen. I talked about that last time. So it’s talking about a practice, what’s conveyed to you is to yourself; to study the mind, study the mind, study the mind. Whoever you meet, study the mind. Illuminate the mind. See its nature. Make Buddha. This teaching, this practice which is conveyed is sometimes called the Buddha Mind, the Buddha Seal, the Buddha Mudra. Or the Buddha Mind-Mudra. What’s the Buddha Mind-Mudra? The Buddha Mind Mudra is study everything with the understanding that you are studying mind. Don’t get distracted from studying mind no matter what happens. If people praise you, if people insult you and disrespect you, don’t get distracted from studying your mind. Give up being distracted from studying your mind, seeing it’s nature, making Buddha. The Buddha Mind Seal is “study yourself”. And then it says in one of our texts, “Expressing the Buddha Mind-Seal in all your actions”. So we’re trying to learn, no matter what we are thinking saying or whatever postures we are making.. everything we are doing all day long, to express that Buddha Mind Seal. What I want to emphasize this week is that I really feel that this, the Buddha Mind Seal, is really the main thing to take care of all day long. Now, while taking care of the Buddha Mind Seal, I would like to talk to you about the expression “a special transmission outside the Scriptures”. One way to understand the special transmission outside the Scriptures is that, when you study the Scriptures, you don’t get distracted from the Buddha Mind Seal. Part of the reason I am bringing this up again today is that I don’t want you to get distracted from the Buddha Mind Seal when I bring up lots of scriptures. The Buddha Mind Seal is to look at scriptures and not get distracted by them. Particularly, to look at the most magnificent teachings, the most profound teachings and to not get distracted from studying your self when you look at the most profound teachings. In retrospect, I think it was great that I talked about that last month because I am on the verge of opening up these profound scriptures to you. This next week we are going to start a series of classes at the Yoga Room about, I believe, the Perfection of Wisdom. Is that right? Is that what the class is called? Yeah, a series of classes about studying the Perfection of Wisdom, Wisdom Beyond Wisdom. Now you don’t have to look at texts to practice Wisdom Beyond Wisdom. Matter of fact, in the Perfect Wisdom texts; it says you don’t have to study these Perfect Wisdom texts to realize Perfect Wisdom. These texts tell you that you don’t have to look at the texts, which are telling you that you don’t have to look at the texts. But it’s quite helpful to look at texts which tell you that, which remind you of the Buddha Mind Seal. And some people, in the history of Zen, were looking at these Perfect Wisdom texts. They were looking at them and then they went to Zen teachers to ask them about these texts and then the Zen teachers.. Most of the Zen stories are to ask the person if they just got distracted by the text. So people who are trying to study themselves, use Buddhist texts to help them study themselves and then sometimes when they are using the texts to study themselves, they get distracted from studying themselves by the texts because the texts, because the texts are so brilliantly discussing how to study your self that you, looking at the text and forgetting that it’s you. All of these books, these magnificent books here, these are your mind! You are looking at your mind. See your mind? There it is. Look at me. I am your mind. Not the full extent of it, but I am an example of your mind. Many of our ancestors were ancestors that studied the teachings, studied the Scriptures, but they didn’t realize wisdom. And then they went to a teacher and told them about their studies and their sense that they hadn’t really understood the point of these teachings and then the teacher responded to that like this. One of these excellent students went to a teacher named Shir-to, which means “Stone-head”. Not so much that he had a stone-head or was a stone-head, but that he sat on the head of stone, sat on top of a stone. That’s one of our ancestors. And another one of our ancestors, named Yao-Shan, went to ask him about what’s the point of all these teachings. “I don’t get it.” And Shir-to said to Yao-shan, “Being so won’t do.” Or “Being like this won’t do. Not being like this won’t do either. Being like this and not like this won’t do at all. How about you?” How about you? So if you’re a student of the teaching or if you’re studying the teaching, being like this won’t do. If you’re studying Buddhist wisdom books, being like this won’t do. Not being like this won’t do either. Being neither like this or not like this won’t do at all. How about you? If you’re studying the Buddha’s teaching, if that’s the way you are, that won’t do. How about you? In other words, Buddha Mind Seal. Anyway, Shir-to said that to Yao-shan and Yao-shan didn’t get it. And Shir-to wouldn’t say any more. And Yao-shan said, “Please help me.” And he said, “Nope.” How about you? Help me. How about you? You won’t help. How about you? The one who says (I’m saying now), the one who says, I am not going to say anymore, how about you? This is your mind talking to you.
He said, “But I would recommend to you, go see Matsu, Great Master Ma. Go see him.” So he goes to see Master Ma and tells him, asks him the same question. Maybe he told him what Shir-to said; maybe not. Anyway, he goes and sees him and says, “What’s the point? What’s the meaning?” And Master Ma says, “Sometimes I make him raise his eyebrows and blink. Sometimes I don’t make him raise his eyebrows and blink. Sometimes raising eyebrows and blinking is right. Sometimes it’s not. How about you?” And Yao-shan realized the Buddha Mind Seal. He finally woke up. He finally really looked at the mind, illuminated it and became Buddha. So I would like to put something before you to see if you can study yourself while I am talking to you… to see if you can study the mind while I talk to you about the Perfect Wisdom teachings. May I start what may be called the Second Turning of the Wheel? The Second Turning of the Wheel is the Perfect Wisdom Teachings, the Perfection of Wisdom Scriptures. May I now set the second turning of the Wheel rolling? May I? (YES) Ok. Here I go. Here’s a book. See, it says Buddha’s Wisdom Books. It’s kind of nostalgic for me, this book. This book is translated by.. this is a book of scriptures. It has the Diamond Sutra and the Heart Sutra in it, translated by Edward Conze. This is another Perfect Wisdom book, Perfect Wisdom scripture translated by Edward Conze. This is another Perfect Wisdom book translated by Edward Conze. The Diamond Sutra has, I think 32 sections. The Heart Sutra has 254 Chinese characters; not so long. This is the Perfection of Wisdom in 8000 verses, 8000 lines. Much bigger. And this is the Perfection of Wisdom in 25,000 lines. When Suzuki Roshi was close to death, he said to his successor at Zen Center, Richard Baker, he said, “You should spend some time with Kan-za” and Richard Baker thought he said Kanzeon. That Suzuki Roshi was telling him to spend time with the Bodhisattva of Compassion. But then it became clear that he meant to spend time with Edward Conze, the translator, who was offering classes in Berkeley in the fall of 1971 while Suzuki Roshi was dying, Edward Conze was offering these classes. So we started to go over to Berkeley to go to classes with Edward Conze. This was 42 years ago almost, that we went over there. We had already been chanting the Heart Sutra for many years at Zen Center. But now we went and studied with Conze more about the Perfection of Wisdom teachings. (Q. As opposed to what else?)
Thank you. For years and years here I have been talking about the Bodhisattva training program which has six basic precepts, six basic training methods. Right? What are they? Generosity, ethics, patience, enthusiasm or diligence, concentration and wisdom. Right. These six perfections I have been talking to you about. These are six ways that Bodhisattvas train to become themselves completely and thereby become free of themselves. The main thing that actually sets beings free is the Perfection of Wisdom. But the Perfection of Wisdom is supported by the first five perfections and I have talked to you a lot about the first five perfections. And we could talk more and we will. But now I am going to start talking about, go right at..not go right at but anyway, look at the perfection of wisdom. I’ve said again many times, we can’t really practice the perfection of wisdom without practicing the first five. These are actually done in sequence. One, two, three, four, five, six. If we don’t practice generosity, ethics, patience and so on, we can’t really practice the perfection of wisdom. We can’t practice concentration unless we practice generosity, ethics, patience, enthusiasm for concentration. You can’t become concentrated unless you are enthusiastic about it. Half-hearted interest in concentration doesn’t yield concentration. You have to be diligent about it. You have to think it’s really cool. Like I was just thinking the other day.. I was recently in a hotel and I was watching the television and there was an ad in which somebody said to the kids, an adult says to kids, “Which is better? Doing one thing at a time or doing two things at a time?” And the kids say, “Two things at a time!” He says, “Right!” I thought I have a lot of competition. Millions of people are hearing doing two things at once is better than doing one thing at once. So I do one thing at a time when I hear somebody saying, “Doing two things is better.” I study myself when somebody says doing two things at a time is better than one. Being concentrated is really boring; being hysterical is really cool. When I hear that, I try to be enthusiastic, I tried to get worked up about not getting worked up. I try to get enthusiastic about being calm. Because we hear that being calm and relaxed and flexible and focused will lead and support understanding the nature of things, understanding reality and that will support wisdom and that will liberate beings. Therefore concentration is really cool, but not just for itself. But for setting the stage for perfect wisdom of the Buddhas. As opposed to what else? Not opposed to but in addition to that which supports it. But now I am going to go right at wisdom and then talk about, as you study the wisdom, to watch out for things which indicate you have not done what supports it. That part of the study of wisdom is to watch out for the indications that you have not done your homework. I have said here a number of times, “First clean the temple; then sit. First clean the temple; then be still and realize Buddha.” If you sit down and you haven’t cleaned the temple, you know, then you sit down and maybe the mice come and start pooping on your cushion and the rats are gnawing on the ceiling. Maybe I should clean the temple a little bit before I try to sit. Ok. So, another text that Edward Conze translated is called the questions of Suvikrantivikraman. I asked Reb. Myo Lahey to translate that from Sanskrit and he said maybe you could translate it as Bold Conqueror or Courageous Victor Bodhisattva. At the beginning of that Scripture, it talks about who the teaching of Perfect Wisdom is not appropriate for. For example it says it is not appropriate for conceited people. When Thiemo heard that the other day, he had a response. He can say it again in a minute. Basically hearing who should not hear this teaching is a way for us to look at ourselves and to do our house-cleaning to see if we’ve taken care of.. If we look at all the different people who should not hear the teaching, we could look at ourselves. Study our selves. Study our selves. We have to study our selves a lot before we are ready for Perfect Wisdom. Now I have been talking about how to study our selves. You study your self by practicing generosity. You study your self by practicing ethics. You study yourself by practicing patience. “Am I patient?” “Am I in the present with my pain?” “Am I veering away from my pain?” “Am I thinking about how long it’s been going on?” “Am I thinking about ‘Why me’?” “Or am I just right here with it?” You can look at yourself and see if you’re doing these practices. In other words, you study your self. You see, “Am I conceited? Am I lazy?” So I will talk to you about that later. It’s saying if people don’t do their homework, this teaching might not be good for them. IF they are not prepared it might not be good for them. So what about Zen centers where they chant the Heart Sutra? Or they offer people this teaching? We haven’t had much problem with the Heart Sutra actually. Most people hardly even hear it when they are chanting it. But some of these other teachings, when people hear them, they seem to be (maybe) not helpful. So I am a little cautious. I should say I wish to be cautious about sharing these Perfect Wisdom teachings with you. But still, even being cautious, I think I might be able to share a little bit of it with you today. So here’s the Perfection of Wisdom in 8000 Lines, English translation from Sanskrit. In Edward Conze’s commentary on the Diamond Sutra, which means the Diamond of Perfect Wisdom, the Diamond-Cutter of Perfect Wisdom.., in that commentary he mentions that most of the Prajna Paramita Scriptures start with paying homage. They mostly start by paying homage. At the beginning of the Diamond Sutra and at the beginning of the Heart Sutra in the longer version, there’s paying homage and the homage in Sanskrit is “Om namu bhagavatai arya prajna paramita” “Homage to the Perfection of Wisdom, the Blessed, the Noble. Homage to the Perfection of Wisdom, the Lovely, the Holy.” And then at the beginning of the Diamond Sutra also, it says, “Homage to the Perfection of Wisdom, the Lovely, the Blessed, the Holy, the Noble.” That’s two different translations. “Arya” can be noble or holy and bhagavatai is blessed or lovely. The Prajna Paramita is blessed and lovely. And now I have a responsibility to offer you, Ted, and that is to go back behind you and bring us Prajna Paramita. Bring us the statue of Prajna Paramita. Do you see her? Do you see her, Ted? There she is. No, that’s Manjusri Bodhisattva. That’s the Bodhisattva of Wisdom. I am asking you to bring me the Goddess of Perfect Wisdom. Do you see a goddess there? You can tell she has a female form. Do you see her female form? That’s Prajna Paramita. Now please bring it. (I couldn’t have planned that better.) Please bring it; please bring Prajna Paramita.
(Comment: No coming; no going.) Please progress on the path and bring me that statue! Thank you. So this is Prajna Paramita. This is a statue of the Goddess Prajna Paramita. Linda, would you place this on the altar in the center between the two incense burners. Right there. Thank you. Now we have a statue of Prajna Paramita sitting in front of the Buddha. Do you see? Prajna Paramita is the Mother of all Buddhas. Homage to the Perfection of Wisdom, the Blessed, the Holy. At Zen Center and at most Zen centers, we chant a shorter version of the Heart Sutra. The full version of the Heart Sutra has the homage at the beginning and also has a description of the assembly which is there. I looked up the large sutra on Perfect Wisdom and at the end of Edward Conze’s introduction to this Sutra,.. I thought.. At the end of his preface to this large sutra on Perfect Wisdom, Edward Conze says, “Om namo bhagavatai arya prajna paramita.” He pays homage at the end of his preface. And he said that usually these prajna paramita texts start out with homage. So I looked and at the Sutra and it doesn’t start with homage. It starts out with, “Thus I have heard”. It doesn’t have the homage up there at the beginning. So it describes the scene and I am not going to go into it right now. I am going to go into the second chapter. The second chapter of this Perfect Wisdom Sutra is called, “The Thought of Enlightenment.” It says, “When the Bhagavate (the Blessed One) saw that the whole Universe with the world of gods, the world of Brahma, with it’s shramanas and brahmanas, had assembled.” That’s described in the previous chapter. And also all the Bodhisattvas who would one day reach the state of Buddha, when he saw all this, he said to venerable Sariputra, “A Bodhisattva (a Great Being) who wants to fully know all Dharmas, in all their modes, (in other words, have the Buddha’s wisdom), should make endeavors in the Perfection of Wisdom”. A bodhisattva who wants to realize Buddha’s wisdom should make endeavors in the perfection of wisdom. “And Sariputra says, “How then should the Bodhisattva endeavor in the Perfection of Wisdom. And the Blessed One says, “Hear Sariputra, a Bodhisattva (a great being) having stood in the Perfection of Wisdom by way of not taking a stand in it, should perfect the Perfection of giving, patience and so on.” How do you endeavor in the Perfection of Wisdom? By standing in it, by way of not taking a stand in it. How do you abide in the Perfection of Wisdom? How do you endeavor In the Perfection of Wisdom? By abiding, by having No Abode in anything. Thus the name of this place. And then the 8000 Lines, there is an introductory section and then “The Extinction of Self”. So, in this 8000 Lines, we have a disciple, a monk, named Venerable Subuhti, and by the Buddha’s power, he said to the Baghavata, the Lord, “The Baghavata has said, “Make it clear now, Subhuti, to the Bodhisattvas, the great beings, starting from the Perfection of Wisdom, how Bodhisattvas, great beings, go forth in Perfect Wisdom.” Ok? So the Buddha in this text is saying, “Subhuti would you please make it clear to the bodhisattvas how to practice perfect wisdom?” Edward Conze, I think, when he was alive he thought these 8000 Lines was that oldest Perfection of Wisdom text. Since that time, scholars think that maybe the Diamond Sutra is earlier. One of the reasons they think that is that in the Diamond Sutra, Subhuti doesn’t seem to know anything about the perfection of wisdom. Venerable Subhuti, in the Diamond Sutra, doesn’t seem to know anything about it and Subhiti is teaching him about it. After the Diamond Sutra, Subhuti now is a teacher of the perfection of wisdom. The Buddha is saying, “Subhuti please teach the bodhisattvas about this. “ So in the 8000 Lines, he seems to be a teacher. In the Diamond Sutra, he seems to be an initiate, must being initiated to it. So I’m just saying some scholars feel now that, it makes sense in a way. So now we have Subhuti the expert, the champion teacher vis a vis the Perfection of Wisdom. He is a monk who is also a bodhisattva and he is being asked now by the Buddha to teach the other bodhisattvas. And make it clear to them, how they should practice Prajna Paramita. So Subhuti says, you said for me to do this; to teach them how to go forth into Perfect Wisdom, (but Subhuti’s got a problem). Subhuti says, “When one speaks of a bodhisattva, what Dharma does the word ‘Bodhisattva’ denote? I do not, oh Blessed One, see any dharma ‘bodhisattva”. So this is a place where we honor bodhisattvas and we honor the mind of bodhisattvas which has no abode. At the same time, Subhuti doesn’t see anything that’s a bodhisattva. Nor a dharma called the Perfection of Wisdom, either. He’s being asked to make it clear to the bodhisattvas how to go forth into the perfection of wisdom and he doesn’t see the bodhisattvas and he doesn’t see the perfection of wisdom. So then Subhuti says, “Since I neither find nor apprehend, nor see a dharma bodhisattva nor see a dharma Perfect Wisdom, what bodhisattvas shall I instruct and admonish and in what Perfect Wisdom?” and Subhuti goes on. See Subhuti is a good teacher. The Buddha asked him to instruct them and he’s instructing them by saying there’s nobody to instruct and nothing to instruct. That’s how I instruct them. And he says, “And yet, oh Blessed One, when this is pointed out (when I talk like this and point things out this way) if a bodhisattvas heart does not become cowed or stolid (you might say bored), nor does she despair or become despondent, if he does not turn away or become dejected, does not tremble, is not frightened or terrified, it is just this bodhisattva (this great being) who should be instructed in Perfect Wisdom. So now maybe at this particular moment, when I told you about this, if you didn’t get scared or bored, maybe you should be instructed further. So shall I go on a little further?
And then Subhuti says…this is Subhut talking by the Buddha’s power, but this is Subhuti talking, just like in the Heart Sutra, it is Avaloketishvara talking by the Buddha’s power. Now Subhuti says, “It is precisely this that should be recognized as the Perfection of Wisdom of the Bodhisattva” as his instruction in the Perfection of Wisdom. What is it that should be recognized? That you listen to it without getting depressed, without getting trembling, without moving, without getting bored. You just listen to it. And not even that. Because we’re just taking about what you don’t do. It’s when you, when this is pointed out, you respond this way, that’s it. Then a little bit more, “When the bodhisattva thus stands firm, that is his instruction and admonition. Moreover, when a bodhisattva courses in Perfect Wisdom and­ he should so train himself that he does not pride himself on that thought of Enlightenment” And I’m going to skip a little bit and read, “A bodhisattva does not become afraid when this deep Perfect Wisdom is being taught.. A bodhisattva who does not become afraid with this deep Perfect Wisdom is being taught should be recognized as not lacking in Perfect Wisdom. As standing in the irreversible stage of a bodhisattva. Standing firmly in consequence of not taking his stand anywhere.” You stand firmly in the Perfection of Wisdom by not taking you stand anywhere. As you get into this you might start to tremble a little bit. “The Perfection of Wisdom cannot be apprehended. It is thus that a bodhisattva should course in the Perfection of Wisdom. This concentrated insight of a bodhisattva is called the non-apprehension of all Dharmas.” The Perfection of Wisdom is that all dharmas lack apprehension. (Q. What do you mean?) They lack being grasped. (What do you mean by dharmas?) All phenomena. I looked at the beginning of the 8000 Lines and I found no homage. Unusual. But I did notice, 135 pages later, in a section called “Hell”, I did notice homage to the Perfection of Wisdom. In the middle of the text. “The Perfection of Wisdom, Oh Blessed One, is the accomplishment of the cognition of all-knowing”. The Perfection of Wisdom is the state of all-knowing. “The Blessed One says, “So it is Sariputra, as you say’. And the Sariputra says, “The Perfection of Wisdom gives Light, Oh Blessed One. I pay homage to the Perfection of Wisdom. She is worthy of homage. She is unstained. The entire world cannot stain her. She is a source of light. From everyone in the triple world, she removes darkness and she leads the way from blinding darkness caused by the defilements and by wrong views. In her we can find shelter. Most excellent are her works. She makes us seek the safety of the wings of Enlightenment. She brings light to the blind. She brings light so that all fear and distress may be forsaken. She has gained the five eyes. She shows the path to all beings. She herself is an organ of vision. She disperses the gloom and darkness of delusion. She does about dharmas. She guides to the path those who have strayed on bad roads. She is identical with all knowledge. She never produces any dharma because she has forsaken the residues relating to both kinds of coverings, those produced by defilement and those produced by the cognizable. She does not stop any dharma. She herself, unstopped and unproduced in Perfect Wisdom. She is the Mother of all Buddhas on account of the emptiness of all marks. As a donor of the jewel of all the Buddha Dharmas, she brings about the ten powers of the Buddha. She cannot be crushed. She protects the unprotected. She is the help for the four grounds of self-confidence. She is antidote to birth and death. She has a clear knowledge of the own-being of dharmas for she does not stray away from it. The Perfection of Wisdom of the Buddhas, the Blessed Ones, sets in motion the Wheel of Dharma”. So now we have this female deity on the altar and I just found this piece of paper. I don’t know who wrote this. It might be somebody familiar but I don’t’ know. It starts out, “Homage to the Perfection of Wisdom, the lovely, the holy. (Shall I read it? What do you think? Would you like me to read it?) “Homage to the Perfection of Wisdom, the lovely, the holy, who is adorable and endowed with infinite virtues. Homage also to the knowledge of all modes of all the Tathagathas and to all Buddhas and Bodhisattvas, i.e. Homage oh Wisdom, oh Wisdom, or Great Wisdom. Oh Great Wisdom, the Illuminator. Wisdom, the Giver of Light. Remover of ignorance. Succes, good success.. Help me succeed. Blessed Lady, beautiful in all your limbs. Loving Mother. Your hand is held out to me. Give me courage. Stand, stand. Tremble, tremble. Shake, shake. Yell, yell. Go, go. Come, come. Blessed Body, Blessed Lady, do not delay your coming. Svaha!” The ladies, according to whoever wrote this, the lady is being requested to be a really good mom and stand, stand. tremble, tremble. shake, shake. yell, yell. go, go. She’s doing quite a dance, this Perfection of Wisdom and we are supposed to.. not supposed to. But if we can be still with her while she’s going through all this intense activity of suchness while not moving, then we can receive her blessings. There’s quite a few more I have here which I will go into later. 108 names of the Blessed Perfection of Wisdom. I will read that to you later. So this is an initiation of study of Perfect Wisdom which I feel enthusiasm about and I wonder how you are doing after all this or with all this or before all this. Any responses? (Q My response is that I’m blown away. But I have a question. You read about two kinds of covering one of which was a covering due to defilement and one due to cognition) Cognizable. In the Heart Sutra it says, “without any hindrances, no fears exist”. The hindrance refers to these two kinds of hindrance which are also called coverings or obstructions. There’s other kinds of hindrances too. But this Like there is karmic hindrance. But even after karmic hindrance is removed, there’s the hindrance of defilements. And then there’s the hindrance, Conze translates it as “the hindrance of the cognizable.” But another translation is “the hindrance to cognition”. Both directions are good because whenever you know anything, there’s something to know, the mere fact of it being out there, that there is something cognized, the kind of cognition obstructs the perfect cognition. But on a grosser level, we have the obstructions of, for example, greed hate and delusion. And on a grosser level, we have the obstruction of not even looking at our mind. So the people who are listening to this teaching, at least have removed the karmic obstruction enough to hear the teaching. But there still might be emotional obstruction to letting it in. Once we drop the emotional obstruction or emotional covering on things… once you drop the greed and hate and confusion, you feel about objects, the next obstacle is to remove the objectivity of it, the externality of it. Then, when that drops, no fear exists. When the coverings of greed hate and delusion around the things we see, when that drops, we are less afraid. But there is still some fear as long as there is anything external. As long as things stand out there before us, there is still some fear. And that covering, when that is removed, when there is nothing external, then there is no fear. That’s in the Heart Sutra and also in this praise of Prajna Paramita. I think the next person was Tracy and then John. (Q. Is there any term besides conceited for who shouldn’t be told..) It just happened to be number one. There’s a whole list. And I’ll talk about that later and I’ll talk about it at the Yoga Room. There’s a whole list. There’s about ten things to look at in yourself to see if they are there. If they are there, then the practice of the perfections addresses them. If you can find them and take care of them, then you will be more ready to receive the lack of apprehension of anything. (Q I thought that if you had that you shouldn’t even bother studying it rather than when you’re studying it, you should notice that quality. ) That’s what I am saying. That’s what Thiemo had a response to, I think. The idea that conceited people should not be taught this.. That’s one way to see it, that if you saw a conceited person, you shouldn’t teach it. Another way would be, look at yourself to see if you’re conceited, address your conceit and then see if you’re ready to receive this teaching. And then check the other things out, to see if you have some of these other character attributes can be found in yourself. Or if you think you don’t have any of them, then you probably have at least the first one. So then if you take care of that one, then you open up to the other ones. If you take care of the other ones, you don’t have the first one. Does that makes sense? If you take care of laziness and things like that, then you’re not going to be so conceited. “I got a lot of work here. I have lots of laziness to work with.” That doesn’t sound too conceited. Unless you say, “I’m the best at working with laziness because I am the most lazy person. I am the World’s Champion of laziness. (Q Perfection? I’m just not clear about it.) Perfection means, one of the meanings of perfection is complete. But the more literal translation of paramita is ‘going beyond’ or having gone beyond. So there actually like six forms of transcendence. In the big Sutra which I started to read, talking about how do you stand in Prajna Paramita, you stand by not taking a stand in giving, ethics, patience.. etc. In other words, you don’t take a stand in your usual idea of these practices. You go beyond your usual idea of them. But you practice them and you practice them so completely that you go beyond your idea of them. And when you go beyond your idea of giving, you reach perfection of wisdom. When you go beyond your idea of ethics, by practicing them completely, you arrive at Perfection of Wisdom. When you do any of these practices completely, you realize that they include the other ones. But you have to do the other ones to realize that they are already included. Just like in tango practice, the old masters, all they basically do is walk and you can see that they know how to do everything else. But you have to train at all the other stuff to be able to walk that way. (Q. Defilements always been a difficult term for me to penetrate. The most recent of my serial misunderstanding of it is wrong understanding.)
Defilement is wrong understanding? I think that.. I’m not saying it’s wrong to say that defilement means wrong view. I would not say that is wrong. I would just say the root of the word defilement, the Sanskrit word ‘klesha’ which is often translated as defilement, means to stain. So it’s not so much that hatred is wrong view. There’s greed, hate and delusion. Delusion is kind of wrong view. But greed and hate are not exactly wrong view. They are more like consequences of lack of correct understanding. When you don’t understand correctly, the way you see them kind of stains them. You don’t understand things, you think you can hold them or get rid of them. So thinking that you can hold them further muddies the situation. So wrong view, in some sense, delusion is always there when there is greed and delusion is always there when there is hate. So wrong view must be there for there to be greed and hate. So wrong view is, in a sense, the basic defilement. (Q. It makes it easier for me to understand the term to think of it that way.)
As wrong view? Yeah. Now that it’s easy for you to understand, you can also see it’s not that anger is wrong view or lust is wrong view. Those are emotions based on wrong view. If you didn’t have wrong view, you wouldn’t have lust and hatred. You wouldn’t hate anything. You wouldn’t have ill will if you didn’t have wrong view. Wrong view is necessary to have ill will. And wrong view is necessary in order to be attached to things. So we have wrong view and so we can be attached. (Q. So is hatred an outflow of defilement?) Hatred is a defilement and it’s also an outflow of defilement and it’s also based on a more basic defilement which is delusion or wrong view. (Q. Opening to the teaching of wisdom and conceit..and teaching and conceit are getting closer to each other and carefulness.. I’m thinking of conceit as conception and I’m wondering if the releasing of conceit is the realization of wisdom.) The releasing of conceit is the realization of wisdom? That’s right! (Q. am interested in the function of the teaching) You could say be careful of giving this teaching to someone who is conceited. But you could also say, be careful of this teaching, if you’re conceited. Look to see if there is any conceit because conceit is antithetical to this teaching. Because conceit would be to think that you could get it. (Q. could there be two roads)
Yes,. Two roads. One road could be that you don’t study it. The other road would be that you would study it and check to see what it’s like and find out that it is baseless. Conceit can serve a function but it’s over-doing for the situation. It’s apprehending something. Really there’s nothing to apprehend and then the conceit would drop. In order of it to drop, some of the other problems in our character would have to be addressed to because it’s hard to be lazy and study conceit thoroughly. Ok? (Q. General study question about studying the mind. .Recognition Da Vinci/contrary to what I learned in western anatomy. Like pulling the tablecloth and still leaving the dishes on the table. So there’s understanding the bones of it and what it actually means and then there’s actually studying the mind at the same time. Difficult to styudy the mind and at the same time undestand the mechanics or outline of what’s being proposed. ) One of the things Edward Conze says is that the purpose of a commentary on a scripture is to tell people what the words mean. So I think that’s part of what you are saying. You would like some commentary on what the words mean. But the commentary doesn’t actually lead you into the deep meaning of the scripture but it helps you get ready for it. It’s part of the preliminary work of being able to contemplate it where some of the vibration you have around the words is being addressed and calmed. So that then you can.. Somebody said to me recently, it’s hard to listen to somebody and at the same time, study my self. So maybe you have to do some listening to somebody to get to the point where you can stop listening to them as other than your mind. At some point you have to renounce caring about understanding them if that doesn’t allow you to study your mind at the same time. But if you’re not at that point, then listen to them a little longer to see have you listened long enough so that you can continue to listen but not trying to get what they are saying. Give up get-what-they-are-saying. Primarily your job is to listen as listening to your mind. But somepeople feel like, if I listen to somebody talk so somebody talk and remember that it’s my mind I’m listening to, I won’t be able to understand what they are saying. Did you follow that? And sometimes you say, “I just can’t stand it. I don’t feel safe to not get what they are saying.” Say, ok. But at sometime you have to renounce getting what they are saying and learn to listen, not necessarily without getting it…yeah, sort of like listening without getting it. Listening without apprehending it. Which means listen to it as your mind. Listen to it as your self. And of course, you can’t apprehend your self. But you may warm up to that by asking questions about the words so that you feel you can tolerate ‘standing’ by way of not taking a stand. You may need more. And you said you weren’t born a Buddhist, but I don’t think anybody is born a Buddhist except maybe some advanced bodhisattva maybe. But I don’t think so. I think they all when they are born they don’t know they are Buddhists, even though they are conscious maybe. We all have to learn Buddhism over and we are learning it. So you are welcome to ask questions about words and what words mean as preparation for meditation which means what? Realizing that when you are reading these scriptures, they are not other than your mind. You’re studying your mind. (Q. Are there commentaries in print that you would recommend that we could read as we are studying this?) Actually Edward Conze was enthusiastically mentioning that, as he was writing these texts 50 years ago, that another professor, named Professor Tuccu, had recently published some commentaries by Asanga and Vasubandhu on the Heart Sutra and the Diamond Sutra. So this translator who did the translation work, he did the translation but he didn’t know exactly what the words he was translating meant and so then another scholar translated a commentary by ancient masters on what the words in the Sutra meant. However, although I might recommend some of these commentaries, the commentaries might not be what I am talking about. It would just be that you would have commentaries on some of these Perfect Wisdom texts but what I am doing wouldn’t be necessarily be about the text that you are reading you are reading The commentary about. I am not going to go through a text and then a commentary. I am not going to do that but you could do that. I’ve done that. What I will be trying to do is something.. Actually Edward Conze said, “You people should be making your own commentaries like Hakuin did.” So if you want to see the commentary of a Zen teacher, you could read Hakuin’s commentary. But he doesn’t explain what the words mean. He’s actually showing the results of his meditation on himself when he’s looking at the Heart Sutra. So Hakuin was ready to look at the Heart Sutra and the Diamond Sutra and the Blue Cliff Record and all these stories to see if, while he’s looking at this, they are ways of helping him to see if he gets distracted by these texts. So I am offering these texts as ways to see if you can not be distracted by them. But it may be helpful for you to read commentaries on them so that when I am talking about them and testing to see if you are distracted by them, you may have more ability to not apprehend them. And there’s lots of commentaries on the Heart Sutra, and here is one of them. So here is a commentary on the Heart Sutra and the Diamond Sutra so you can read this. And there’s another big fat book of commentary on the Diamond Sutra and there’s lots of commentaries on the Heart Sutra which.. I can give you but here is probably already at Zen Center a list of commentaries on the Heart Sutra. If fact there are lots of commentaries now on Genjo Koan. So that is all good to read but what I am emphasizing is the Buddha Mind-Seal. So I will be trying to look at these teachings of Perfect Wisdom, paying homage to the Perfection of Wisdom and now can we study these teachings which are trying to help us realize Perfecton of Wisdom without getting distracted by them. Because if we study the teachings of Perfections of Wisdom and don’t realize we are studying our mind we won’t understand them. We will just be disoriented by them and people who are disoriented are not ready. We should come back and become oriented again. (Q. I have this experience otten when the text is really visionary of having your mind blown. I’m wondering about, if it’s a distraction… or is it helpful?) If you’re wondering if the feeling of having your mind blown is a distraction? If you study it, it’s not a distraction because you’re not distracted from study. The thing is to be studying all the time. (Q. How might I study it?) By not apprehending it. Don’t apprehend. If somebody says, I had a taste of not-apprehending and my mind was blown, don’t apprehend mind-blowing. Don’t apprehend that either. (Q. What did Thiemo say about conceited people not studying?) Well it was..the general instruction is about qualities of people that it’s not appropriate for them to hear the teachings. So what did Thiemo say? (I said at the moment when you study yourself, when you hear this teaching, the teaching is something not apprehended. It’s something which comes from outside and so I feel like acting on this teaching comes not from manifesting this teaching and following it but from studying your mind hearing this teaching.) So that was a response to hearing who shouldn’t receive the teaching. Qualities of people for whom the teaching might not be appropriate. That was his response. The way he said it. Another way to say it is.. When you study yourself, when you hear about who shouldn’t receive the teachings, if you study yourself, you are not distracted by those qualities because you’re looking and you might discover them in yourself, but that’s just part of your study. So studying those qualities in yourself makes you ready to receive the teachings. Not necessarily looking for them but just when you hear them, just might “oh I wonder how that applies to me?” Also I might mention that I changed the scroll there.That scroll is the Heart Sutra of Perfect Wisdom. The MahaPrajnaParamitaHrdaya Sutra of Perfect Wisdom., written in what is called seedam characters, in a circle, given to me by one of our former sangha members named Jerry Fuller. He gave that to me when he was dying.
(What’s in the square?) I don’t know. It might be part of the Sutra but I don’t know. I can’t read those. IT’s not Chinese characters and I can’t read it.
The assembly seems quiet and sober. Is it? I think we can work with this. Thank you very much.