We Can Do This: Prajnaparamita Sutra Revealed, by Baksheesh the Madman

American Buddha was prescient and courageous enough to take down predators wearing Buddhist robes back when their misdeeds weren't shouted from the pages of global periodicals. We've stoked up the fire again, so you can see these gems, sparkling in the embers.
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We Can Do This: Prajnaparamita Sutra Revealed, by Baksheesh the Madman

Post by Admin » Fri Mar 29, 2019 6:49 am

WE CAN DO THIS: PRAJNAPARAMITA SUTRA REVEALED
by Baksheesh the Madman

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Come join me on the Ocean of Experience!

Author’s Dedication

May those who read this recognize it as their own understanding.

Go Straight To the Heart

Let’s go directly to the heart of the Heart Sutra:

"Therefore Sariputra, because there is no attainment, Bodhisattvas abide relying on the Perfection of Wisdom, without obscurations of thought, and so are fearless."

In order to understand the deep significance expressed herein, repeat after Baksheesh three times: “There is no attainment.” Now rest with that thought just a minute and consider the implications for your Buddhist spiritual life. Pretty confusing, huh? Don’t feel bad. Orthodox Mahayana Buddhists usually honor this statement without understanding, continuing on their merry way, seeking attainment. Scholars explain it away. Of course most American-born Buddhists think it’s pathetic that Christians bury their most cherished beliefs, like the injunction to eschew homicide, under a pile of corpses and political justifications, but they don’t turn the mirror on themselves to observe how little they understand their own doctrine.

What is the usual response to this authoritative statement from a top Buddhist disciple that “there is no attainment?” I suppose Zen masters do talk about it some, but if they carved it over the entrance to the monastery, they’d probably be retired as altogether too esoteric in their approach. Can you can imagine the anxiety of the rank and file priests if this truth of “no attainment” were popularized: "Suppose the faithful believe it and go away? Worse yet, suppose we ourselves come to believe it, and abandon the Dharma?" Such a fearful attitude may guarantee future employment, and protect the outer tradition from extinction, but it also dooms one to a coward’s fate, and the Bodhisattvas are the heroes of enlightenment, not deserters. We must rise to the challenge of understanding, or perish as ignorant as the rest.

No Attainment

Although many Buddhists avoid this truth that is clearly written for their benefit, I, Baksheesh, adjure you to return to the Heart of the Heart Sutra, and not turn your gaze for one moment from this thought: “There is no attainment.” Why? Because you must grasp this nut to loosen the bolt on your mind. Then, let your attention encompass the rest of the statement:

"Therefore Sariputra, because there is no attainment, Bodhisattvas abide relying on the Perfection of Wisdom, without obscurations of thought, and so are fearless."

The thrust of the statement is that “because there is no attainment,” Bodhisattvas don’t plan on achieving anything, and instead rely on “Perfect Wisdom,” which removes “obscurations of thought,” leaving them "fearless." In other words, instead of applying themselves to something unachievable, an “attainment” such as the extinction of desire, Bodhisattvas apply their superior perception and understanding to eliminate fear. Eliminate fear of what? All the usual fears, plus one more – fear of not achieving enlightenment -- which bedevils all Buddhist amateurs.

It might also be said that by “no attainment,” the sutra means no static attainment. A static attainment is a credential, a mark of achievement, like having attended many meditation sessions, or having received many tantric empowerments, having donated many dollars, or free sexual favors, to the guru. These static attainments are like money amateur Buddhists acquire in order to spend it assuaging the fear that they are making no progress, because the true attainment they crave remains far-off, apparently entirely out of reach. The Perfection of Wisdom is not a static achievement, yet the Bodhisattvas rely upon it, and only upon it.

Surfing

The Heart Sutra is like a surfboard. You can buy a surfboard on any day, and throw it into the curling waves, and it will bob about aimlessly like the unaware piece of flotsam it is, never catching a single wave. But if you have knowledge within you, you can get on it and surf, riding a rolling wall of water all the way in to shore. A surfer rides the waves relying not on static achievement, but rather by listening to an internal gyroscope that understand the waves. However many waves she’s ridden, she rides each one anew, relying on no static achievements, because this wave is different, has never been ridden before, and can only be ridden spontaneously, now.

Like a surfboard, the words of the Heart Sutra may give you a place to stand on the waves of endless change, but it is the Perfect Wisdom within your own heart that will keep you balanced there, standing straight and tall against the rolling horizon, a miracle of intelligence conquering chaos.

Fearless

Why are the Bodhisattvas fearless? They are better informed about reality, but that isn't a static attainment based on a general assertion like “life is impermanent.” Bodhisattvas have a thought-achievement, a knowledge-triumph, every moment. They see it right, they get it right, and they don’t make the mistake of relying upon what they learned yesterday, or what empowerments they received, what vows they’ve kept, and who has patted them on the head for being a good boy.

Thus the direct, true understanding of present life is called The Perfection of Wisdom. That's Wisdom as in "True Knowing," not as in "The Absolutely Right Answer." The latter would be a static attainment, suitable for doctrinal adoption by the masses. The former is a view attainable by everyone who sees clearly -- a much more select group.

Most Buddhists, of course, have renounced the search for personal experience of The Perfection of Wisdom. Having disqualified themselves from the search by virtue of their unworthiness, they do not cherish personal, direct understanding of doctrinal formulations. Repeating crystallized formulations of the "truth" that are easily grasped as thoughts, they collect souvenirs of their visits to Buddhaland. Trudging on their pilgrimage to final attainment, they miss the light of the sun, the fragrance of the flowers, the passing of their mortal hours, not realizing that to grasp the meaning of these experiences directly, presently, is Perfect Wisdom.
HEART SUTRA

The Mahaprajnaparamita Hridaya Sutra

Thus have I heard at one time.
The Lord was dwelling at Rajagriha, on Vulture-peak mountain,
together with a great host of monks and a great host of Bodhisattvas.
At that time the Lord was composed in the concentration on the
course of dharmas called 'Profound Illumination.'
At that time also the noble Lord Avalokita, the Bodhisattva and
Mahasattva, in the practice of the profound Perfection of Wisdom,
looked down; he beheld but five skandhas and that in their own-being
they were empty.
Then, through the inspiration of the Buddha, the Venerable
Sariputra said to the noble Lord Avalokita, the Bodhisattva and
Mahasattva: "How should any child of good family train, who wishes to
engage in the practice of the profound Perfection of Wisdom?"
And the noble Lord Avalokita, the Bodhisattva and Mahasattva, spoke
to the venerable Sariputra as follows.
"Sariputra, any son or daughter of good family who wishes to engage
in the practice of the profound Perfection of Wisdom should look upon
it thus: he or she beholds but five skandhas and that in their own-
being they are empty.
Form is Emptiness, Emptiness is form.
Emptiness does not differ from form, and form does not differ from
Emptiness.
Likewise feelings, recognitions, volitions and consciousnesses are
empty.
So, Sariputra, all dharmas are Emptiness, without differentiating
marks; they are not produced or stopped, not defiled and not
immaculate, not deficient and not complete.
Therefore, Sariputra, in Emptiness there is no form, no feeling, no
recognition, no volitions, no consciousness; no eye, no ear, no nose,
no tongue, no body, no mind; no visible form, no sound, no smell, no
taste, no tangible, no mental object; no eye-element, and so forth, up
to no mind-element and no mental-consciousness-element; no ignorance
and no extinction of ignorance, and so forth, up to no aging and death
and no extinction of aging and death; likewise there is no Suffering,
Origin, Cessation or Path, no wisdom-knowledge, no attainment and non-
attainment.
Therefore Sariputra, because there is no attainment, Bodhisattvas
abide relying on the Perfection of Wisdom, without obscurations of
thought, and so are unafraid.
Transcending perverted views, they attain the end, Nirvana.
All Buddhas existing in the three times, relying on the Perfection
of Wisdom, fully awaken to the highest, perfect Enlightenment.
Therefore one should know that the mantra of the Perfection of
Wisdom is the mantra of great knowledge, the highest mantra, the
unequalled mantra, the mantra that allays all suffering, the Truth,
since it has nothing wrong.
The mantra of the Perfection of Wisdom is proclaimed:

TAD-YATHA; GATE GATE PARAGATE PARASAMGATE BODHI SVAHA!

In this way, Sariputra, should a Bodhisattva and Mahasattva train
in the profound Perfection of Wisdom."
Then the Lord rose from that concentration and commended the noble
Lord Avalokita, the Bodhisattva and Mahasattva, saying: "Well said,
well said, O son of good family!
So it is, O son of good family, so it is.
Just as you have taught should the profound Perfection of Wisdom be
practiced, and the Tathagatas will rejoice.
Thus spake the Lord.

The Venerable Sariputra, the noble Lord Avalokita, the Bodhisattva
and Mahasattva, and the whole world, that assembly with devas, human
beings, asuras and gandharvas, were delighted and applauded the Lord's
speech.

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