The Enlightened Wisdom (Bodhi Prajna) of Zen: Maha Prajna Paramita

The Enlightened Wisdom (Bodhi Prajna) of Zen: Maha Prajna Paramita

A Zen Commentary on Prajna (Great Perfect Wisdom) from The Flatbed Sutra of Louie Wing by Ted Biringer

Part 1


The next day Jordan, high priest of the School of the Tortoise, asked the Second Ancestor to give another address. Specifically, he wanted to learn about the significance of Maha Prajna Paramita, or the great wisdom of perfect enlightenment.

Thereupon, having taken his seat on the flatbed, Louie Wing asked the assembly to purify their minds. Then he gave the following address.

Learned audience, Maha Prajna Paramita is inherent in every one of you. It is only because of delusion based on conceptualization that you fail to realize it. The buddha-mind is not different in ordinary people and sages. The only difference between them is that sages have realized it, while ordinary people have not. Now allow me to expound on the nature of the enlightened mind so that each of you can directly realize Maha Prajna Paramita.

Good friends, simply reading or hearing about the inherent nature of prajna without actually awakening to it cannot bring you liberation. Even if your understanding and knowledge is wide and profound, without actual experience, you cannot be free. It is like someone learning to play an instrument; music theory and knowledge about the instrument may be helpful, but without actual practice, there can be no music.

You have to put your learning about prajna into practice with your whole body and mind. Knowledge and understanding alone cannot awaken you to the truth of prajna. At the same time, spiritual practice without knowledge and understanding will not do either. If you have aroused genuine aspiration, however, and you put the knowledge that has been transmitted by the sages into actual practice, you will not fail to awaken to your own inherent prajna.

Buddha is nothing other than the true nature of each one of you; there is no buddha outside of your own body and mind. This is the essence of all time and space. It is all-inclusive with nothing outside of it. It is ultimately beyond all limitations and beyond definition and description. It is the vast, unnamable, fathomless void. That is your own true nature and it must be personally experienced to be realized.

~The Flatbed Sutra of Louie Wing: The Second Ancestor of Zen in the West by Ted Biringer


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