Archive for July, 2009

street-fighter-4-01With this week being my birthday week, and after receiving an overwhelming amount of feedback telling me that I my affinity for sitting meditation will get me nowhere, and that I can “meditate” while doing all kinds of things; like, watching TV, or playing games… I decided to subject myself to a harsh, brutal even, highly advanced (don’t try this at home kids), Three Day Street Fighter IV Meditation Retreat!

The goal: To unlock my mind’s eye, or all 8 (9 including the end-boss Seth) hidden characters, whichever comes first… or die trying!

So, that is why I haven’t written anything for the past few days, and, now that it is over, I would like to share with you some of my personal notes on some of the amazing breakthroughs I made on this intensive, personal journey of mine.

Monday I awoke, mentally resolved and prepared to submit myself to three days of seclusion; trapped in my basement, doing nothing by playing Street Fighter IV… for enlightenment. Myself and my room, a.k.a. sacred space, must be prepared as well. I go over the checklist:

Big Buddha Statue – Check
Sandalwood Incense – Check
Candles – Check
PS3 – Check
Street Fighter IV Game – Check
Custom Arcade-Style Fighting Stick – Check
Zafu – Check
Comfy Pants – Check
Phone Off – Check
Coffee – Oops, I forgot to get a coffee!

What’s dorking it out in your basement, playing video games, without coffee? What is that you say, “Gamers drink Mountain Dew?” Pfft! That’s for kids. Besides, I hear that stuff makes your sperm count die. Not that I want to make a baby right now, but I would like to keep my options open you know.

I walk, slowly, mindfully to my car and take a deep breath in and then out, as I begin to ready myself for some mindful driving, or driving meditation. Driving meditation is a lot like walking meditation, in that you drive really, really, slow. You should not play any music, but instead listen to and be aware of the sounds that the car is making, and the world around you. Feel your hands on the wheel, your foot as it gently touched the pedals… keep your back straight… and don’t go over 10 MPH.

It took a very long time to get to Starbucks to get my coffee, but it was worth it. I never felt so alive and meditative while driving before. I did not know how people would react, with my driving down the roads at 10 MPH, holding up traffic, but everyone was so kind about it. Everyone was honking at me (to support me in my retreat I assume), and waving like crazy at me. It was wonderful. The best part was that I had to drive by an old-age home, and there were some elderly folks outside riding around on their little scooters; I think I really made their day because it was the first time they ever had to pass a car on their scooters because the car was too slow.

Now that my coffee is in hand, I drink it mindfully; I am mindful of the black coffee goodness dripping down my throat; I am mindful of the caffeine that it is putting, thankfully, into my system; I am mindful of the child labor and piss-poor working conditions of the people who picked these beans for me to enjoy; I am mindful of the tree that had to die so I can take home this paper cup, and the other tree that died so I can have this little “jacket”, sleeve thingy over the cup so it does not burn my hands; I am mindful that it has taken me so long to drink this coffee that it has now gone cold and I don’t even want to finish the rest of it. Mmmmm, coffee meditation!

Sufficiently caffeinated, I sit on the floor, on my zafu, and prepare myself for the unlocking. There are various guides and posts online about the proper way to unlock all the characters, but most of them are inaccurate, and overly complex. Here is the right way to do it:

Beat the game in arcade mode as C. Viper to unlock Cammy; as Ryu to unlock Sakura; as Sakura to unlock Dan; as Abel to unlock Fei Long; as M. Bison to unlock Rose; as Chun-Li to unlock Gen; now, beat the game with all the characters you unlocked already to unlock Akuma; then, beat it as Akuma to unlock the Gouken cut scene… after that, beat the game as someone you already beat the game with before but you can’t lose any rounds, have to get 2 perfects, and 3 ultra combo finishes; then, finally, beat the game with all 16 default characters to unlock Seth.

That’s about it. Oh, and the above works on any difficulty setting, so you could do it all on the easiest setting if you need to. However, I did not want to cheapen my meditation experience, so I opted to keep the game on the default setting of Medium. I mean, who ever gets enlightenment on the “Easy” level?

After a few hours of playing, or meditating, I manage to unlock a few characters, but my neck is getting sore from looking up at the TV and my legs are starting to cramp up… because I am sitting in the lotus position. I opt to sit on the couch instead so my neck can be in a more comfortable position, but I keep my back straight and my legs crossed. It takes me all day to unlock the first half of the characters, and my body is starting to really feel it. My legs are really sore, and my eyes feel like they are about to burn out from my skull. Video game meditation is rough, but the thought of how much merit I will gain by all this vigor and effort keeps me going!

I crawl to bed and decided to get some rest, it is time to call day one over. As I lay there in bed I come to realize that the theme song from the game that plays in the background of all the fights is stuck in my head – playing in an eternal loop that just won’t stop. Also, I seem to have a hard time shutting my eyes; for, when I do, all I see is flashes of colors, pulses of light, and fuzzy images from the game burned into my retina. Maybe this is one of those Jahna’s people were talking about? Is this what seeing auras is like?

Day two starts with my looking into the mirror and realizing that both my eyes are bloodshot, and it looks like I need a shave. No time for that now! I will take care of that after the retreat is over. I decided to stay on the couch today as well, in hopes that it may help my neck out some, but I still keep the lotus position as I play. By the end of day 2, I have unlocked all the hidden characters… except for Seth. I am saving that one for my final day of Street Fighter Meditation. I need to call it another day though; my legs are killing me, I have taken like 6 Excedrin because my head is killing me, and I feel exhausted.

That night, I found it impossible to get any sleep. I felt so high-strung from all the video game meditation that I could not seem to unwind. I thought that maybe I could do some sitting meditation to try to calm myself down so I could sleep, but whenever I closed my eyes all I could see was flashing colors and bits from the game playing in my head… oh, and that freaking theme song is still going and going and going… ringing in my ears. I swear, I don’t know how the Buddha and his monks did it.

Day three, I look in the mirror and think I look like some kind of hermit; or, some kind of speed-freak, meth-head, on crack… and that song is still in my head. Screw lotus position, today I am going to sit on the couch like a normal human being and unlock Seth as quick as I can. I am mentally and physically done with this thing.

In fact, screw Seth! I’m done. I am going to go take a shower, shave, clean my room, see what life is like outside (I hear the weather is beautiful out there), and start sitting meditation again.


For more heresy please join me on my new blog at www.evolitionist.com


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santaRemember that day when your kid came home from first grade crying, because some other kid told them that there was no Santa Claus? Sorry about that; that kid was me. Look, it isn’t like you think; I wasn’t trying to be mean or anything. You see, my parents never told me that there was a Santa to begin with. My earliest Christmas memories was of them putting presents in front of me, saying, “Your Dad and I bought these for you because we love you,” and there was never any talk of fat men in red outfits, or reindeers that magically fly. When I was plopped in first grade, and Christmas time rolled around, I was taken aback by all the other kid’s talk about this Santa character. When I asked who he was, they told me that it was the person that gives us our presents; to this, I simply replied, “No it’s not. Our moms and dads buy us the gifts to be nice to us.” By the time I got home that day, there were already a slew of angry parents who had left some not-so-nice comments about me and my parent’s parenting skills on the phone. “What kind of a jerky kid are they raising? What kind of a parent doesn’t tell their kid there is a Santa? How are they going to correct this?” “Correct this,” my parents said, “you do know that there really isn’t a Santa right?”

Fast-forward a good decade or two, and here I find myself doing it all over again; although, this time it isn’t over a fat red men, no, this time it was over meditation in front of a bunch of Buddhists I was meeting for the first time. I was new to Buddhism, I haven’t been meditating long; I knew I liked to meditate, I had read the Dhammapada over a few times, and I had memorized the Four Noble Truths and the Eightfold Path—besides that, I was as “green” as they come. Partway through the night the discussion in the Buddhist group turned to “Mindfulness”, which I thought to myself, was awesome, “I know this one”; since that was one of those 8 really important thingies that Buddha guy told us to do… The “Awesome 8”, as I like to call them! (No, I have never actually called them that.)

So, they started talking about the importance Mindfulness, how great it is, and then talked about how Mindfulness IS Meditation… I raised my hand and simply stated, “No it isn’t. I mean, the Buddha listed them as two different things on the Dharma Wheel… so how can they be the same thing?”

I mean, did the Buddha screw up here? Was Mindfulness so great that he wanted to slip in there twice, but under a different name? Did the Buddha have some kind of O.C.D. about even and odd numbers; so, once he ended at 7, he had to repeat one to make it a nice, even 8?

Some people got offended, others corrected me, and the general populous simply patted me on the head, and told me that I was too new at this to understand, and that they, having practiced longer, know what they are talking about. Now, I am not a cocky individual, so I took this advice to heart, and I spent the next while studying the Suttas, Sutras, and various other resources on how I could be so mistaken about Meditation. Now, I have to tell you… and I hate to say it… but the more I study, the more I see that I was right the first time. We all know the old saying, “From out of the mouths of babes…”, and well, maybe this was one of those cases. Maybe, being new to all this and simply taking the teaching of the Buddha for what they were, at face value, I had avoided all those years of rationalizing, explaining away, justification, watering-down, and intellectual re-writes that tend to come along the way.

Let me make one thing perfectly clear: I am not belittling Mindfulness. How could I? I mean, it’s one of the Awesome 8! I could never say that Mindfulness in non-important, or, that it was some unnecessary part of “old-Buddhism” that can now be ignored or is supplemented by one of the other 7. I would never do that, but that is what others in this new Zen movement are doing to Meditation. They are belittling Meditation, kicking it right off the Wheel, and are making the claim that Mindfulness now is supplementing, or fulfilling the requirement for that part of the regiment. This not only, is bad Buddhism, but I also take to be quite offensive.

Think about it in a different context: Would we ever make the claim that Mindfulness fulfills/supplements Right Action? Shouldn’t we go and find all those Buddhists working out there to feed the hungry, clothe the naked, and help the hopeless that all they really need to do is walk slow, eat slow, and be “present” more and they can really forget about all that Right Action stuff… I mean, that takes a lot of effort and work anyway, right? And who wants that.

Mindfulness is Meditation no more than Right Speech is Right View, or Right Intent is Right Action.

Now, Mindfulness IS great, in that it really does lead into and strengthen the rest of the practice (other 7), but. In doing so, it does not negate the need to still practice the others. If you are “mindful” then you are going to be more careful in how you speak to others; If you are “mindful” of what is going on around you in the world, you are going to eventually feel the need to act and do something to help out. Those are just a few examples, but I hope you get the idea; although, not to “diss” Mindfulness or anything, but really practicing ANY of the 7, or having an emphasis on one, should (if done properly) result in being drawn to and fulfilling the others. It is a wheel you know.

I think it is erroneous and dangerous to leave sitting Meditation out of the practice, and I do have to question what kind of Buddhism is really being practiced without it. This all came to a “head” the other day to me as I was reading through a new issue of a popular, international, Buddhist magazine; where, they featured an article on how Mindfulness and Meditation are the same thing, and how much easier it is to be “mindful” than to be bothered with all that sitting and concentrating.

The article points out that Meditation is just concentration and Mindfulness is concentrating… so really, being mindful is meditating. They then, also admit how they don’t like to do sitting meditation, that is cuts into their busy life schedule too much, and that it is too uncomfortable. However, Zen mindfulness is GREAT since they can be mindful easily. How easy? Well, they say that when they take a shower… they are mindful to turn the dial back to cold when finished, and that is Meditation. They even talk about playing pool with their friends all the time, and how they realized that it takes a lot of “concentration” to play pool… I mean, you have to focus and not get distracted by all the noises and people talking, and you have to think about your shot, and make the shot… heck, so playing pool is some deep-ass meditation! Who needs sitting meditation anyway?

Funny that with all their mindfulness they never became mindful of their time; never considering maybe waking up a bit earlier, not going out with the boys to play pool so much (if they can find the time for that but not meditating), and maybe cutting back some of the TV so they can “fit” meditation into their lives better.

You know, when you watch TV, you are concentrating on the pictures, words, AND you are sitting! So, TV meditation, oh I’m sorry, TV mindfulness, does wonders! I know people who watch TV for hours and hours at a time—I could never sit that long meditating the old-fashioned way. These guys are true masters. Have you ever seen them at work? Sometimes, they are so “deep” into their TV meditation, so single focused, that they can’t even hear you when you tell them to take the trash out, turn it down, or pick the kids up from school. I always thought this was just pathetic, but really… really, they are just deep in the Jahna’s of TV meditation. Once hitting the 4th Jahna of TV watching, all outside noises fade away, nothing exists besides you and your show, you are the show, and time seems to stop all together.

I never had this experience, but I do think I at least got the the 3rd Jahna of Video Game Playing Meditation once.

Look, just because concentration is involved in meditation, that does not mean that everything that involves concentration is meditation. Sitting is involved in mediation as well, but does that mean that all sitting is meditation? I am sitting right now, heck… my roommates have been sitting on their butts upstairs for the past 3 hours watching movies… are we meditating?

Anyway, let me wrap this up.

I love Mindfulness. I practice Zen. And, I think this modern tendency to make “mindful… fill in the blank” replace a daily meditation disciple is just stupid.

I love to meditate, but I can’t stay in that state forever. Sooner or later I have to “unplug” and enter back into the world. I have people I have to talk to, meetings, I got to eat, sleep, work or go to school. This is where Mindfulness comes into play with my Meditation. I can’t sit on my butt all day, all the time, being blissful while my responsibilities in life go undone and the world around me goes to hell. I have to unplug, and enter back into the world of sense-pleasures. In doing so, I have to now switch to Mindfulness to take what I have gained and learned through my meditation regiment with me as I move through the day. Mindfulness reminds me to keep my nose clean, not to stray from the path, not to do anything or put anything into my body that is going to take away from my practice or harm others… However, I have found that my level of mindfulness is directly in proportion to, and resulting from, my level of meditation… and not the other way around.

To be fair to those who disagree with me, I can understand why some people would give up on sitting meditation for something more appealing, and more instantly gratifying as being mindful. Why sit with your legs all folded up for hours and hours when you can just eat really slow or even practice hugging meditation? Yes, there is such a thing as Zen Hugging Meditation.

Besides, if you are of the Buddhist school that says that there is NO enlightenment, no real Nirvana, and that any and every satori experience, vision, or insight that you may think you have during sitting meditation is false; then, why even bother meditating? To what purpose? There is no enlightenment anyway so why go through all the trouble? For these people, who see the practice as good works, self discipline, and a positive philosophy of life only—there is no reason to bust their asses with meditation. That, I understand. I disagree with it, but I understand it. If that is where you are coming from, then enjoy that walk and watching flowers bloom. But! (Yes, there is a “but”) But please stop attacking and belittling sitting meditation in the process. It makes baby Buddha cry.


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I know that I have already gone over The Eightfold Path before, but I would like to cover at least one of the spokes of this Dharma Wheel a bit more in-dept—that being Right View.

Out of all 8, I am sure that we each have our favorites. Now, don’t get your meditation pants all in a bunch; I am not talking about perceiving, judging, and determining dualisms; I am talking about how, at different points in our lives, there are certain ones that we naturally gravitate to, or relate to, over others. For me, at this point in my life, it is Right View and Meditation. However, being aware that I myself am also highly transitory, I remain aware that this too is in flux and is subject to change.

Besides the fact that I like it, I also want to cover Right View a bit because I think a lot of people are not really aware of what it “is”. During various Buddhist meetings and talks on the matter of the Eightfold Path, I have experienced hearing lots of people say that they do not like or relate to Right View, but that they love Mindfulness, or Right Action, or something else. But, when I talk to them more I come to find out that they are constantly reading good Buddhist books, are listening to good dharma talks, are in book groups, study groups, etc., etc.

The fact of the matter is that they are already practicing Right View. Actually, you are practicing it Right Now. Right View is really nothing more than the intellectual pursuit of understanding, or study and cognition, of The Four Nobel Truths and The Eightfold Path. Not that I am trying to de-spiritualize the thing, but there is nothing about it to de-spiritualize in the first-place—this step (out of the Eight) it is not a “spiritual” process to begin with, it is a mental process. Right View is the cognitive aspect of wisdom. It is knowledge.

If you take a look at any of your good Buddhist books, you should come to find that in some way they all at the very least address 1 of the Four Nobel Truths, or 1 element of the Eightfold Path. Odds are, that inadvertently that book, teaching, or recording, hits on several of them. So that book on Mindfulness that you are really into right now, probably is also covering topics on Meditation, Right Action, Right Speech, and, to top it all off… the intellectual process you are going through to study and understand more on the topic is, in its own way, practicing Right View.

It is actually quite hard, if not impossible, to really practice any one of the eight solely; for, they all tend to lead into and blend into one another. I know that different groups like to “specialize”, or focus, on one as their primary one; kind-of carving out a distinct flavor or niche for themselves in the Buddhist community; but, in the long-run, unless you try really, really hard to fight it, your grabbing onto that first spoke and pulling it has started that big ‘ol wheel a-turning.


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It was weird how today marked my final day of translating The Perfection of Wisdom in Eight Thousand Lines, and how it was today that, through translating it, I had a personal revelation on compassion. It hit me like a brick, that all dharmas are meaningless without compassion, and that all dharmas are fulfilled only through compassion. But what exactly is compassion anyway?

Am I a mean person? No, I don’t think so. Most people that know me think that I am a peach:) I open doors for strangers, help old people cross the streets, volunteer at food banks, and I wind up listening to and helping out people all the time with their problems. Today though, this all made me wonder if my current level of compassion was yet enough. Am I at least doing something? Yes. Is there more that I could be doing? Yes, I think that there is. I think that there is more for me to work on in this area.

What will the end result look like? I have no idea. But I don’t think that true compassion is going to turn me into some slobbering wuss, crying at every touching commercial, and Hallmark card. I still, highly doubt that it is going to change my stand against self-help Buddhism — I still think that falls under the term “idiot compassion” and that it is doing more harm to the practice than good. Can I maybe become more understanding and tolerant towards it though? Or, at least the people in pain that are grasping for it? Yes. I think that is the right thing to do.

On a different note, this all is really making me think a lot more about Right Action, and how as Buddhists we need to be doing more in the world/our communities to reach out to people. If those of the Mahayana tradition really do believe in the sheer importance of all this stuff, then shouldn’t they be at the forefront of all kinds of charities and good works? Why isn’t my sangha heavily (or even slightly) involved in helping others? Is yours? If this is such an integral part of the practice, then why are we all doing it so little?

The main thing that it got me thinking about is: is there more that I can be doing to help others? And no, I am not talking about crying more and getting all emotional all the time. And I am certainly not talking about running out and joining one of those Buddhist support groups. But…

Maybe I have been so concerned with my own personal journey that I have started to neglect spending time reaching out as much to others? I think I am going to start looking around to see if there are some more ways I can get involved locally.


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The Perfection of Wisdom in Eight Thousand Lines, in short, stresses the importance of the perfection of wisdom in the practice; how all other elements of the practice must be coupled with it; how none can be truly achieved without it, and even, how all dharmas can be potentially fulfilled (are encompassed) by the perfection of wisdom.

So, that leads us to the question, “What is the perfection of wisdom anyway?”

I think the perfection of wisdom is Compassion. Living a life of perfect-compassion realizes all true dharmas. It is only through a life of compassion towards others that any of us will ever truly be able to fulfill the dharmas, and properly walk this path. Despite any other efforts or practices, if lacking compassion, one will never attain true enlightenment (or find any real meaning in this life either).

The following is a less strict (and slightly condensed) interpretation, by me, of the Eight Thousand Lines in its original verse form only. The Perfection of Wisdom in Eight Thousand Lines is the earliest text of the Prajnaparamita (Perfection of Wisdom texts), which was later expanded. Please note that the Heart Sutra is not included in the Eight Thousand Lines, since it was written a couple hundred years afterwards. If you like this, I highly suggest getting your own hands on a traditional copy of the sutra. It makes for quite the nice read. Although, I know that it is a hard book to get your hands on, so that is why I took the time to write out a copy of it all for you all to enjoy online.

Chapter 1

Preliminary Admonition

1. Get your act together; muster up as much as you can of love, respect, and of faith! Remove your obstructions and anything that is holding you back! Listen to this Perfect Wisdom, (this Sutra) taught for the weal of the world, intended for the pure of heart indeed!

The Source of Subhuti’s Authority

2. Just like a river that flows and stems out, then giving life to all kinds of trees, plants, and vegetation across the land; so all the power and teachings of the pupils of the Buddha stem out from his power, and not their own power.

The Basic Teachings

3. There is no wisdom can we get a hold of, no highest perfection, no bodhisattva, and no thought of enlightenment either. When told of this, some get discouraged, some quit the path, but a bodhisattva on hearing this finds the path to the Buddha’s wisdom.

4. No form, no feeling, no will, no perception, no awareness; nowhere in them do these things find a foothold to latch on to. Without a home they wander, nothing has a hold on them, not even the dharmas, nor do they grasp for them.

5. They search and test everything in the pursuit of wisdom, and then finds that all the dharmas are empty—when fearless in the face of this discovery, they are not far from Buddhahood.

6. With no attachments to any of the Five Skandhas they now dwell tranquilly in themselves; absorbed in a trance (jhana or deep level of meditative concentration) or outside of it, it makes no difference to them for they know the true nature of all things.

7. What is this true nature? That what doesn’t exist, the foolish imagine, and what does exist they have also fashioned—existence and non-existence are both not real.

8. If they know the Five Skandhas as an illusion, but do make the illusion one thing and the Skandhas another; freed from the notion of multiple, separate things, they walk the path in peace, in the highest perfection of wisdom.

9. Those who have had good teachers will not be frightened by these teachings; those with poor teachers will be easily led astray, easily frightened away, and easily ruined.

Three Key Terms Defined

10. Why is it that we speak of the bodhisattvas so much? Because they are the example for us all, “Beings who strive for enlightenment”, desiring to extinguish all attachments.

11. Why is it that we think of them as “Great Beings”? Because they have cut off mistaken views, seeing all beings as a great illusion—like watching a magician work a large crowd, they know this whole living world as a mock show, and yet does not get discouraged by this knowing.

12. What is “the vessel that leads to enlightenment”? Walking in it one guides all beings to Nirvana; great is this vessel, vast like the vastness of space; those who travel upon it find safety, delight, and ease.

The Transcendental Nature of the Bodhisattva

13. The bodhisattva transcends the world, transcends and eludes our grasping and comprehensions. A fire has been extinguished, but where, do we ever ask, has it gone to? Likewise, how can we find those who have found Nirvana?

14. Pure, free from conditions, unimpeded, they reflect on non-production, but while doing so, produce such great acts of compassion. Thereby they are practicing the highest perfection of wisdom.

15. But when the notion of the suffering of beings leads them to think: “I will end this suffering. I will work to help these people.” Beings are now imagined, a self is imagined, and the highest perfection of wisdom is lacking.

16. They must know that all that “is” is no more real than they are, and that they are an illusion. The real and the illusion are no longer distinguishes, all words for things in use in this world are left behind, all things produced and which can be held must be transcended.

17. When free from doubts the bodhisattva carries on the path, skilled in this wisdom, knowing all dharmas as not really there, that their original nature is empty.

Chapter 2

Where the Bodhisattva Stands

18. Where does a bodhisattva stand? Nowhere, they have no footings. Not in will or in consciousness, or in any skandha whatsoever. Not in change or no-change, not in suffering or ease, not in self or no-self; the lovely and the repulsive are all suchness and emptiness to them, and they don’t take stand upon any of the fruits of which they have won—no Arhat, no Buddhahood, no enlightenment.

19. The Buddha himself did not take station in the realm which is freed of conditions, nor in the state of the conditionless, but freely wandered, like one without a home. Likewise, the bodhisattva positions themselves on a position devoid of any basis to be considered a position.

Where the Bodhisattva Trains

20. Those who wish to become a disciple of the Buddha, cannot reach the goal without a desire to do so, and great effort. However, they move across the shore, but without eyes on the other shore. (Literally: They move across, but their eyes are not on the other shore)

21. Those who teach the dharma, and those who listen; those who win the fruit of the Arhat, Buddhahood, or world-savior, or obtain Nirvana itself have learned that they are mere illusions, mere dreams—as the Buddha has told us.

22. Knowing this, a wise and learned bodhisattva, works not towards Arhatship, nor enlightenment, nor Nirvana. In the practice alone one trains for the sake of the practice.

23. Increase or decrease of forms is not the basis or aim of their training, nor does one set out to obtain merit or obtain a dharma. The “All-knowledge” alone does the bodhisattva hope to obtain through this training; to that goal alone they train, and delight in its virtues.

The Facts of Existence

24. Forms are not wisdom, nor is any wisdom ever found in form; in consciousness, perceptions, feelings, or will they are not wisdom, and no wisdom is ever found in them. Existence is like space, without a break or a crack.

25. “Perceptions”—are mere words, to the Buddha has told us. Those who succeed in ridding themselves of perceptions, they having reached the Beyond, have fulfilled their Teacher’s commandments.

26. If the Buddha himself could go back to the very beginning of time and say the word “be” over and over again, for all eternity, not even he could cause anything into being by his speaking (words). Knowing this is in the practice of the highest perfection of wisdom.

Chapter 3

The Merit Derived from Perfect Wisdom

27. For the one who takes up the Perfection of Wisdom, makes it their path, and constantly studies upon it; fire, poison, swords, and water will not come to harm them; as well as Mara (temptation) will find no entrance, no foothold on such a person.

28. How much merit will one gain from the Perfection of Wisdom? The devout could travel to a stupa to worship the holy relics; no, one could travel to the thousands of stupas spread across the globe, and worship with the most expensive of offerings and the longest of prayers. One could do so for all eternity, and the amount of merit that they would gain would be infinitesimal to one who had simply written down a single copy of this book, bearing it in mind, revering it wholeheartedly.

Perfect Wisdom a Great Lore

29. The Perfection of Wisdom is the greatest of lore, appeasing all the dharmas, appeasing sorrow and ill in this world of beings. They who have trained in this lore have become the Great Physicians.

30. Those who make their course one in the practice of pity, and concern for the welfare of others; they, the wise, by having trained in this great lore, will experience enlightenment.

31. Those who have happiness based on conditions, and those who have discovered unconditioned happiness, all their happiness should be known as having resulted from this.

Perfect Wisdom and the Other Five Perfections

32. The potential for gems exists scattered and hidden throughout all the earth, and when the conditions are right, they grow in a great variety. All the qualities of enlightenment, the five perfections, they all grow from the same conditions—from the perfection of wisdom.

33. Wherever a king travels he brings with him his entourage; likewise, wherever the perfection of wisdom goes, it brings with it all the best of the dharmas.

Chapter 4

Relative Value of Relics and Perfect Wisdom

34. When asked about the holy relics, the wise Sakra answered: “If I could have fields as vast as the sands of the river Ganges, all of them filled to the brim with holy relics, I would still take this wisdom over them all. Why? It is not out of a lack of respect for the relics, but why are they worshiped in the first place? They are worshiped because they were given their worth only by the perfection of wisdom; just as a man given title by a king is paid homage to, but it is the king which gives him his worth—so it is the perfection of wisdom that made these relics holy.”

Simile of the Wishing Jewel

35. “A priceless gem, possessing all the finest qualities, the basket in which it is contained is also, indirectly, paid homage to. Just so it is with the qualities of wisdom, the foremost perfection, which gain worship for the relics as well. Therefore, let the one who wishes to win the highest levels of being take up the perfection of wisdom. This is where true liberation is found.”

Perfect Wisdom and the Five Other Perfections

36. The Buddha then said: “It is wisdom that is behind the one who gives gifts, has morality, patience, vigor and concentration. Wisdom takes a firm hold on the dharmas so that they may not be lost. Wisdom alone is also the one who reveals to us all the dharmas.”

Simile of the Shadows

37. There are many thousands of different trees, or different species, shapes and forms in the forest; but when the light is cast upon them we only see one shadow. In the same way, the five perfections come from the perfection of wisdom. When cast into the light of the all-knowledge, enlightenment provides one single principle for all six of them.

Chapter 5

The Counterfeit versus the True Perfection of Wisdom

38. When a Bodhisattva through their own reckoning knows form, perception, feeling, will, or thought as impermanent, claiming them destroyed—they do so falsely, walking on a counterfeit path, being fooled by their own considerations; because the learned never effect the destruction of a dharma.

39. Where there is no apprehension of form, of feeling, or perception, or consciousness, or will—by the method of emptiness and non-production one realizes all dharmas. This is the practice of the perfection of wisdom.

Perfect Wisdom Greater Than Any Other Spiritual Gift

40. If someone were to train into Arhatship as many beings as there are sands of the river Ganges; and another were to make a single copy of the Perfection of Wisdom, giving it to another being, theirs would be the more distinguished merit.

41. Why? Because our supreme Teachers trained in this way, made it so all dharmas would become intelligible in this emptiness. Upon knowing this way the disciples speedily experience their emancipation—for some, a partial enlightenment, and others, full enlightenment.

Importance of the Aspiration for Enlightenment

42. Where there is no sprout, there can in the world be no tree. How can there then be the production of branches, leaves, fruits of flowers? Without the aspiration for enlightenment there is no possibility of an enlightened being in this world. How then could wisdom, enlightenment, and the fruit of the practice manifest themselves without the sprout of aspiration?

43. When the sun comes out, it sends forth a multitude of light, and then beings know it is time to exert themselves in their daily work. So, when the thought of attaining enlightenment has come into being, through this thought all the dharmas of quality are assembled.

44. If there was no lake, then how then could there be the rivers? And if no rivers, then trees, fruits and flowers could not possibly come into being also. So, if there is no thought of attaining enlightenment, how could there be the flowing along of the cognition of the dharmas? And if there is no cognition, there can be no growth of the fruits and flowers of the virtues, no enlightenment, nor the vast, oceanlike dharmas of the Buddha.

The Sun and the Firefly

45. If all the fireflies in the world were to gather together in great multitude, for the purpose of trying to illuminate us all; one single ray of light, shed by the sun, would still outshine them, and infinitesimal would be all the luster of the great hosts of fireflies in comparison.

46. However much merit the entire hosts of disciples, both past and present, may earn by all their combined giving, morality, and meditation development; but if a bodhisattva rejoices with one single thought, it would still outshine them all, and infinitesimal would be all the luster of the deeds of the great mass of disciples in comparison.

Chapter 6

The Range of Jubilation

47. If we take hundreds of thousands of enlightened beings, who have passed on through the ages of time, those who have recently passed, and those who are still among us; if we consider the merit of all of those beginning from the first thought ever of enlightenment, until the time of the extension of all dharmas that awaits us in the future; and also the merit of all offspring of the Buddhas, and of all disciples, be they still in training or far along in their training – having gathered it all up together, the bodhisattva rejoices at it, and turns it all over to the world for the sake of its own enlightenment.

True and False Turning Over

48. If, when turning this over, there precedes even the slightest perception of a thought, or if the turning over of the perception of enlightenment involves the perception of a being to turn it over to; established in perception, false views, and thought, it is now tied down by the triple attachment. It does not become turned over to those, not even those who apprehend it.

49. But when one thus thinks: These dharmas are extinguished and stopped, and to those which it is being turned over to, are also extinguished; then it does become turned over in one who, has in this way, considered wisely.

50. When one sees a sign or a vision, this is not turning over into enlightenment, but if one turns to the signless, becomes turned over into enlightenment. Mistaking sign or vision as enlightenment is like mistaking food mixed with poison as still good to eat.

51. It is your merit that turns over into enlightenment; one who instructs you so, does not upset the teachings of the Buddha. As many as there are in the world of bodhisattvas, none are greater than the one who has turned over in this way.

Chapter 7

Perfect Wisdom Guides the Other Perfections

52. The world is lost, born blind, and wanders without a guide. How can those who cannot even see the path find an entrance into the city of refuge? Just so, without wisdom the five perfections are sightless; those who are without the guide of wisdom are unable to experience enlightenment. When their hand is held by wisdom, then, having gained its eyes, they do get to that destination. It is like great painting which has been completed, all except of the eyes. Only after the eyes are painted in can the painter collect their rewards.

The Attitude to Dharmas and to the Self

53. When one develops this wisdom they will not stumble and seize up over the crossing of the dharmas. In the perfection of wisdom all is like space, wherein nothing real is whatsoever established. If one thinks “I walk in the wisdom of the teachers of the perfect knowledge, I will set free thousands of beings who have been touched by suffering”; this bodhisattva still imagines the notion of beings, and is far from the practice of true wisdom, the foremost perfection.

Faith in the Perfection of Wisdom

54. The Bodhisattva who has observed this foremost perfection in the past, having been trained in this in the past, knowing it without doubt; as soon as they hear this wisdom again in the present, will immediately recognize the Teacher, and will swiftly come to the peaceful calm of enlightenment.

55. The Bodhisattva who has served and learned under millions of Buddhas in past lives, yet never held any faith in the perfection of wisdom, upon hearing it, will only cast it aside as nonsense; being a person of small intelligence; having casted it away, this one will enter into the realm of hell where no one can save them.

56. So have faith in the perfection of wisdom, if you wish to experience the enlightenment of the Buddha. It is like an island that is full of more treasure than you could possibly carry. Be like a seeker who had once found the great island full of treasures (in their previous life), and who now, having lost the goods they carried back, decides to return to the island once again (in this present life). Being a bodhisattva, you have discovered it before, now, have faith and discover it again.

Chapter 8

The Meaning of Purity

57. The purity of the form is known by the purity of its fruit. From the purity of form and its fruit comes the purity of all-knowledge. All-knowledge, fruit, and form: as with the sameness of space, they are not broken or set apart from one another.

58. Having transcended this triple-world, the bodhisattva’s fetters are removed; yet they still experience rebirth; although they have been freed from decay, illness and death, they still experience it. This is part of the perfection of wisdom in which the wise have made their path.

59. This world is attached to this mud, that we call name and form. The wheel of birth and death revolves, blown like a windmill. Having recognized this revolving world as a snare for the wild beasts walking the earth, the wise roam about like the birds of the air.

60. They, who make their course the perfectly pure, does not course in form, nor in consciousness, perception, feeling or will; this course shuns all attachments, and freed from all attachments travels in the wisdom of the Buddhas.

Chapter 9

All-round Purity

61. Then, traveling on this course, the wise and learned Bodhisattva, having cut off all attachments, marches on unattached to the world. As the sun, released from the night-sky, comes forth; or, as a fire let loose, burns up the grass, shrubs, and the forest.

Chapter 10

Qualifications for Perfect Wisdom

62. The king of the gods once asked the Buddhas: “If a bodhisattva is to be ‘joined’ to nothing, then how are they joined to the perfect wisdom, and can they actively ‘peruse’ it?”

63. The Buddhas replied: “One who is not ‘joined’ to the least thing whatsoever, be it skandha, or not; the one who is ‘perusing’ this way is ‘joined’ to wisdom. This one, having heard that these dharmas are fiction, like an illusion, does not hesitate, but makes ever effort to train themselves further.

The Simile of a Village

64. If a traveler were lost in a vast wilderness, full of dangers and thieves, were to finally see a clearing ahead—cattle, paths and fences; they would breath in a sigh of relief, knowing that these are the signs that the forest is coming to an end, that a village is near, and there is no more to fear. In the same way, the one who searches through the woods for enlightenment, when learning of this wisdom breathes in a sign of relief, knowing that they are also near.

The Simile of the Ocean

65. As a sailor longing to travel into the farthest reaches of the ocean, can still see horizon of land, the trees and the tops of the forest of the Himalayas, they know they are still far from it. But when they can no longer see these signs, they become free from doubt, knowing that the great ocean is not too far away. Just so should be the one who has set out for the farthest reaches of enlightenment; learning about this perfection of wisdom, knowing that ‘before long I will experience the Buddha-enlightenment.’

The Simile of Spring

66. In the beauty of springtime, when the stalks and leaves have sprouted, from the branches will soon, before long, spring forth many leaves, fruits and flowers. Just so, one who has been taken by the hand of this perfection of wisdom, before long will attain the foremost of enlightenment.

The Simile of the Pregnant Woman

67. When a pregnant woman is stirred by her contractions, one should know that the time to give birth is near at hand. Just so, will the bodhisattva, when stirred by the perfection of wisdom, delight in knowing they will soon experience the birth of their enlightenment.

How to Dwell in Perfect Wisdom

68. When the seeker is walking in wisdom, the supreme perfection, they do not see the rise of form, nor its demise. If someone does not see dharma, nor non-dharma, nor the element of dharma, and does not give themselves over to the Blessed Rest, then they truly dwell in wisdom.

69. When one dwells in such a course, one does not imagine visions, nor powers, nor psychic powers, nor do they imagine the peaceful calm of enlightenment. Not discriminating, free from constructions, walking on resolutely, that is the practice of wisdom, the foremost perfection.”

Chapter 11

The Theme

70. Subhuti asked the Buddha: “Are they any obstacles to the precious qualities?” “There will be many obstacles,” answered the Buddha. “Of them, I will only speak of a few:

Various Obstacles

71. Many diverse and wonderful ideas will arise in flashes before the one who studies and copies this wisdom, but they again will quickly vanish, like flashes of lightning; without ever giving any real benefit to the wellbeing of the world. This is a trick of the tempter Mara.

72. And there will be many doubts when it is being taught; people thinking, “This does not relate to or pertain to me.” Because of this many will not listen, and will reject it. This is also a trick of the tempter Mara.

73. Just as, in ignorance, one would give up taking care of the root of the tree, preferring the leaves and the branches; or, as one when receiving an elephant as a gift, would prefer an elephants foot instead – so would one be, who having heard the Prajnaparamita (this Sutra), and wishes for the lesser Sutras instead.

74. Just as one who had got superior food or a hundred different tastes and varieties, would, although already having the best food of all, still seek after the inferior food. So would be the bodhisattva who, having got this perfection, would seek to become an Arhat.

75. Those who desire honor, will desire personal gain, in their hearts is a longing for them; you will know them by their constant intent of becoming close to and seen with faithful and their families. Having rejected what is right, they do what is wrong; having left the right path, they have gone down the wrong road. This is also the doing of Mara.

76. Even though they may have at first produced faith, keen on hearing this most excellent dharma; when they find that the dharma-teacher will not do the work for them, they lose heart, and go away sad.

Mara’s Deeds and the Buddha’s Help

77. When these deeds of Mara take place, together with many other diverse and unspoken obstacles, many monks will become troubled – forgetting this Prajnaparamita. Wherever there a priceless jewels which are hard to get, their owners inevitably have many foes. Just so, this wisdom is a jewel that is hard to get, and it is connected with many troubles.

78. When a being has newly set out on this path, they are limited, and cannot grasp, all at once, this jewel which is so hard to get. Mara will then make every attempt to detour and discourage, but have faith, for the Buddhas in the ten directions are intent on helping them overcome.

Chapter 12

Perfect Wisdom the Mother of the Buddhas

79. If a good mother with many sons had fallen ill, they all, with her past kindness in mind, would busy themselves about taking care of her; just so, the Buddhas in this world of ten directions bring to mind this perfection of wisdom as their mother.

80. The Buddhas of the past, present (ten directions), and the future, have all sprung forth from her. She (wisdom) is the one which shows us the world for what it really is, she is the mother of all Buddhas, and she reveals the thoughts and actions of all other beings.

How the Wise See the World

81. Seeing all as one single Suchness, free from existence, unfaltering, has the perfection of wisdom been understood by the wise. Whether the wise abide in the world, or whether they abide in the final Nirvana, one thing remains the same; they always abide in knowing: “Dharmas are empty.” This is where all Guides abide, residing in the delightful forests of the perfection of wisdom. Although they fetch and bring in suffering beings from the places of woe, they never have any notion of a being.

Similes about the Buddha

82. When a lion, in his cave, roars fearlessly, the lesser animals tremble. Likewise, when the Lion of Men, full of the perfection of wisdom, roars fearlessly, the heretics tremble.

83. Just as the sun, supported by the sky, dries up this earth, revealing its form; just so, the King of the Dharma, supported by the perfection of wisdom, dries up the river of craving and reveals the dharma.

The Tathagata’s Vision of Dharma

84. Where there is no vision of form, no vision of feelings, no vision of perception, no vision of will, no vision of consciousness, thought or mind, this has been expounded as the vision of the Dharma by the Tathagata.

85. A vision in nothingness is still a being. A vision of that nothingness is still considered an object. This is the true vision of the Tathagata, but it is impossible to explain it without creating objects.

Chapter 13

Simile of the King and His Ministers

86. Whoever understands this, understands all dharmas. When the ministers do their jobs properly, the king is free to concentrate on ruling properly. Whatever Buddha-like actions there are, whatever dharmas, it is the perfection of wisdom which affects them all. A king does not scurry around to village after village to meet others; but in his palace is the meeting place where they all assemble before him. Just so, the bodhisattva does not move from dharmic-nature to dharmic-nature, but finds the qualities off them all in the assemblies of the perfection of wisdom.

Chapter 14

The Bodhisattva and Enlightenment

87. The bodhisattva of firm faith, who is resolute in their intent on the perfection of wisdom; who has gone beyond the first two levels of discipleship, will soon attain, unhindered, the enlightenment of the Buddhas.

The Simile of the Ship

88. When a ship breaks apart, sinking into the ocean, those who do not grab a hold of something — some floating scrap of wood, a log, or even a corpse; will reach their demise in that water, without reaching the other shore, but those who hold on to something, travel to the other shore and reach it.

89. Just so, those already endowed with a certain measure of faith are the ones traveling in the ocean; yet, if they reject the Mother, the perfection of wisdom, then in the ocean of birth, decay, death and sorrow they must wander in for ever and ever.

90. But those who have taken hold of the supreme wisdom, skilled in seeing the one-being of existence; they will speedily reach the other shore, being worthy of the vehicle who has collected the wealth of merit and applied knowledge, being worthy of Sugata-enlightenment.

The Simile of the Jar

91. It is as if someone were to try to carry water in a clay jar which was not fully baked and hardened; one should know well enough that it would break too easily. But when the water is carried in a fully hardened jar, there is no fear of its breaking, and it gets to the destination safely. Although a bodhisattva be full of faith, if their wisdom is not hardened they will swiftly reach their destruction. But when such faith is contained in wisdom, going beyond the two levels, this one will attain the supreme enlightenment.

The Simile of the Two Ships

92. When a ship, which was not ready yet to be seaworthy, is put hastily in the water, it goes to its destruction, together with any goods and persons inside it. But when a ship is well ready, and well joined together, then it does not break apart in the water, and everything makes it safely to the other shore. Just so, a bodhisattva, of much faith, but of little wisdom, swiftly comes to failure in their enlightenment. But one who is well joined to wisdom, the foremost perfection, experiences the enlightenment of the Jinas.

The Simile of the Aged Man

93. An old man, sick and ailing, of 120 years old, although maybe capable of getting up, is not capable of walking on their own; but when two people help him, one on his left and one on his right, he has no fear of falling, and moves along with ease of mind. Just so, a bodhisattva, who is weak in wisdom, although able to set out on the journey, breaks down midway; but when one takes a hold of skillful means and wisdom, then one does not breakdown; experiencing the enlightenment of the mightiest of beings.

Chapter 15

The Beginner and the Good Friends

94. The bodhisattva, who is still a beginner, but resolute in their intention to achieve the supreme enlightenment of a Buddha, in being discerning, should become good pupils of a Master—always tending to the needs of their new good friends (spiritual teachers). Why? For, from that tending come the qualities of a learned one. Good friends are those who teach the perfection of wisdom.

How a Bodhisattva Helps Beings

95. Giving, morality, patience and much effort will turn concentration and wisdom over into enlightenment. However, remember that one should never grasp for enlightenment, turning it into another hindering skandha. Demonstrate this way to the beginners.

96. Walking in this path, become a shelter to the world, a refuge, and a place of rest for others; become a path for their salvation, the intelligence, the islands, leaders who desire only others welfare.

97. It is like an armor that is difficult to wear, that only the determined can even put on; not armed with the skandahas, the elements, or the senses; they are free from the notion of the three vehicles, and do not grasp for it; they become irreversible, immovable, and steadfast in character.

98. Endowed with the dharma, held back by nothing, free from doubts, getting caught up in meaningless perplexities causing confusion and dismay, intent on only that which is beneficial, having heard the perfection of wisdom they do not despair. Incapable of being misled by others, this is the meaning of irreversible.

Perfect Wisdom and Its Conflict with the World

99. Deep and hard to see is this dharma, never obtained by anyone, never reached; for this reason, when one has obtained enlightenment, the enlightened being becomes unconcerned with such things. Regular beings delight in a place to settle in, they are eager for sense-objects, bent on grasping, unknowing, and walking in blindness. The Dharma should be attained as nothing to settle into and as nothing to be grasped. This is why it is in conflict with the way the world sees things.

Chapter 16

On Suchness

100. Space, in all directions, north, east, south and west, is boundless; above or below, in all directions, no difference, no dualities in space can be attained. Past Suchness, future Suchness, present Suchness, the Suchness of the Arhats, of the dharmas, of the Buddhas—all is Suchness, and not difference can be attained.

Wisdom and Skill in Means

101. If a bodhisattva wishes to reach Buddha-enlightenment, free from differentiated dharmas, practice the perfection of wisdom—joined together with skill in means. For, without wisdom there is no attainment.

102. A bird was to grow to body-size of one hundred and fifty miles large would still fall from the sky to its death, if its wings were still weak, having not grown proportionally with it. If one were grow in the five perfections for many thousands of years, spending all their time tending to the needs of the world with an over abundance of vows; but if without skill in means, lacking wisdom, will fall from their discipleship.

The Desirable Attitude to Other Beings

103. To go forth with a Buddha-like process of thought, one would need an equal and even mind towards the world and all beings; one would need to exert themselves towards thoughts of benevolence, and a friendly mind; willing to submit to others, and soft in their speech.

Chapter 17

The Theme

104. Subhuti the Elder asks the Buddha, “Teach me the characteristics of those who have become the irreversible, of how they became of such might. Please give me a brief outline of their qualities!” So the Buddha replied:

105. “They are free from the perception of dualities; they speak suitably; they do not take refuge in teachings or practices outside of the Way. The wise have avoided the three places of woe, and are well practiced in the ten wholesome paths of action. Free from self-interest they instruct the world in Dharma. They delight in the Dharma. They always speak gently. Standing, walking, lying down or sitting, they remain in their awareness.

106. They keep themselves clean and untouched; pure from the threefold detachment (body, speech and mind). Great people who want no personal gain, wanting only the Dharma; they have passed beyond the reach of Mara’s temptations, and others cannot lead them astray. They meditate in the four trances (the Four Jhanas), but no longer in seeking a favorable rebirth. They seek no fame, and their hearts are never overcome by anger. If a householder, they remain constantly unattached to their entire property. If working, they do not make their livelihood in the wrong way, by bewitching, seduction, misleading or telling plausible lies to men or women.

107. Well-practiced in the detachment that comes through wisdom, the best of perfections, free from quarrels and disputes, thoughts firmly set on friendliness, they only want to one day see the Buddha, so they never let their thoughts wander from anything that would take away from that. They avoid those people who would drag them down, they are free from doubts about themselves or what stage their practice is at. For the sake of Dharma they renounce their very life, caring about nothing but the practice. These should be known as the characteristics of the irreversible.”

Chapter 18

Deep Stations

108. Deep reaches our form, feeling and will, consciousness and perception. Like one who tries to reach the bottom of the ocean with a stick, so, when the skandhas have been revealed through wisdom, one does not attempt to reach the bottom of them. When the bodhisattva realizes that these dharmas in the ultimate vehicle become effortless, stainless; there being no skandha, no sense, no elements to strive against, how can there be a sense of them attaining anything by their own merit anymore?

The Simile of the Woman

109. A man, full of lust and longing, having made a date with a beautiful woman, would spend the day, having not met up with her yet, indulging in many thoughts; as many thoughts that would cross his mind during that day, so that many centuries does a bodhisattva strive to reach their goal.

Considerations of Merit

110. If a bodhisattva would for countless centuries give spotless gifts, and pay equal attention to guarding their morality; and, if another were to in one lifetime preach the perfection of wisdom–the merit gained by giving and morality would be infinitesimal by comparison.

111. When a bodhisattva, having meditated on the foremost wisdom, emerges preaching the stainless Dharma, and turns over their merit into enlightenment for the weal of the world; there is nothing that can be found in this entire world that is of more beauty than them. Knowing merit to be worthless, empty, insignificant, void and without substance; they walk in the path of wisdom–walking in this course, one gains immeasurable merit.

No Growth or Diminishing

112. As mere words the bodhisattva recognizes all these dharmas which the Buddha has revealed to us all; as do the five perfections of the Jinas. The bodhisattva who turns these over, without putting their mind to it, does not fail; but will experience the supreme Buddha-enlightenment.

Chapter 19

Conditioned Coproduction and the Simile of the Lamp

113. A flame burning the wick of an oil lamp has many instances and the destruction (end of) the wick does not come by the first instance (lighting) of the flame. It happened in many parts. Likewise, by the first thought of enlightenment ones does not experience enlightenment; however, without the first thought, or any instance, one is unable to experience it; nor can the last thought arrive at Nirvana.

The Simile of the Seed and the Fruit

114. From a seed trees, fruits, and flowers come; when it is obstructed, or absent, then no tree can come from it. Just so, the first thought is the foundation of enlightenment; but when it is obstructed or absent, then no enlightenment can come from it. From a seed grows barley, rice, fruits and vegetables, yet none of these things are inside the seed. As so, the enlightenment of the Jinas comes forth from its seed, which in its own-being is without existence.

The Simile of the Water Drops

115. Water drops fill a jar drop by drop, gradually, from the first instance to the last. Just so, the first thought is the initial cause of the supreme enlightenment; gradually are the qualities of a Buddha fulfilled.

The Meaning of Emptiness

116. They walk the path of the dharmas as empty, signless and wishless; but do not experience the Blessed Rest, as a skillful ferryman goes from shore to shore, but does not stand on either of them, nor do they stand in the great waters. They do not think, “I am predestined by the Buddhas, to achieve my enlightenment!” Nor do they tremble after seeing that enlightenment is not anything. This is the path of one who courses in the perfect wisdom.

The Attitude to Places Which Might Inspire Fear

117. When they see the world as it is, a wilderness, full of famine and disease, they have no fear, and go on putting on the armor. For the wise’s limit is always a bit further on, and fatigue does not produce in their minds.

Chapter 20

The Three Doors to Deliverance, and the Buddha-dharmas

118. Furthermore, the bodhisattva who makes the perfection of wisdom their course sees these skandhas as unproduced, empty from the very beginning. Even during a time where one lapses in their concentration, if one still manages to view the world of beings with compassion; one will not lose the Bodhi-dharmas that they have attained.

The Simile of the Hero

119. A skillful person, endowed with all good qualities, powerful, undoubting, well-qualified, instructed in many arts, perfect in archery, devoted to many crafts, knowing all kinds of magical illusions, keen on the welfare of the world; takes their mother and father, sons and daughters, and enters a wilderness full of hostile forces; can conjure up many warriors and champions, get away safely, and back to their home.

120. Just so, at the time when a wise bodhisattva extends compassion to all in the world of beings, having passed beyond the four Maras, and the two levels, then permanently abides in the best of concentrations, but does not experience enlightenment.

The Simile of the Cosmos

121. Air is supported by space, as well as the masses of water; by space again is this great earth and the entire living world supported. However, if everything finds itself supported by space, then how can one possibly outside of space to behold the object of space?

122. Just so, the bodhisattva, who is established in emptiness, manifests a manifold of various works to beings in the world, and their vows and realizations become a force which sustains beings. But such a one does not experience the Blessed Rest, for emptiness is not a place to stand on.

The Simile of the Flying Bird

123. A flying bird has no footing in the air. It does not stand on it, nor does it fall to the ground. Just so, the bodhisattva who courses in the doors to freedom does not experience the Blessed Rest, nor do they fall from the course.

The Simile of the Archer

124. A trained archer knows how to shoot an arrow upwards, then again and again, in succession, before giving the first one a chance to even hit the ground—not until it has happened as they planned. Just so, someone who walks the path of wisdom, who is accomplished in it, in skill in means—can choose when to obtain the most excellent emptiness.

The Simile of the Twin Miracle

125. A monk endowed with the great power to perform the Twin Miracle could stand in the sky endlessly, performing the miracle without ever feeling exhausted, no matter how long they may be doing it. Just so, the wise bodhisattva standing in emptiness, perfect in their understanding, wandering without a home, manifesting an endless variety of works unto the world and cannot become worn down or exhausted, not even from countless centuries.

The Simile of Parachutes

126. If a person were standing upon the highest of cliffs, overlooking a bottomless pit, was to jump with parachute in hand; their body would float down endlessly into the nothingness; experiencing the fall but never reaching the bottom. Just so, the wise bodhisattva, having stood on compassion, having taken hold of the parachutes of skill in means and wisdom, considers dharmas as empty, signless and wishless, though never seeing the bottom (Blessed Rest), experiences all the dharmas.

The Simile of the Merchant and the Jewel Island

127. A good person, searching for jewels for their family, having traveled to an island of treasure, and having obtained the jewels, would then return home to them. Although now they could live quite at ease alone, they still keep in mind the suffering of their families. Just so, the bodhisattva who has traveled to the treasure of Emptiness, and has obtained all the benefits thereof, although they could experience the Blessed Rest, would keep in mind the suffering of others.

The Simile of the Merchant and His Journey

128. A wise merchant, growing their business, travels into many cities, market towns and villages, which cross their path, so as to get acquainted with them but still does not abide in them, always keeping in mind the path which leads to home. Just so, the wise bodhisattva who becomes skilful in their understanding of the Teachings does not abide in this Buddha-cognition. Wise as to the path becomes the one who knows the method.

The Bodhisattva Undefinable

129. At the time when the bodhisattva has communed with all the world in friendliness, and makes their path in the concentration of emptiness, the signless and the wishless; it is impossible that such a one would have even the slightest inclination to enter the Blessed Rest, or that they could be defined by the conditioned.

130. As a magically created being, or one who has made their body  invisible, cannot be defined by words; just so, the bodhisattva who courses in the doors to freedom can also not be defined by words.

The Doors to Deliverance and the Irreversible Stage

131. If on being questioned about the practice and the faculties a bodhisattva is not able to show a true revelation of the deep dharmas, if one fails to show the dharmas which should be evident at the irreversible stage, they should not be considered as one destined for Buddhahood.

Tokens of Irreversibility

132. Not the level of an Arhat or the Pratyekabuddha, or what belongs to this triple world do they long for in their dreams; but seeing the Buddhas, and oneself as one who preaches Dharma to the world, predicted and irreversible should they then be known.

132. Having seen in their dreams all the beings who are living in the three places of woe, being moved, they instantly make the vow, “May I abolish these places of woe!” Predicted and irreversible should they then be known.

133. Those possessed by ghosts, with various diseases, in the world of mortals, through the power of this declaration of the Truth appeases them, being benevolent and compassionate. Never arising in them any self-consciousness of pride in doing so, predicted and irreversible should they then be known.

Chapter 21

Pride and Other Deeds of Mara

133. But when conceit rises up in them, thinking, “I have been predestined. I have made the declaration of Truth. I have made a vow to get things accomplished.” When a bodhisattva sets themselves above others as one who has been predestined, one should know that they are in conceit, and of little intelligence, lacking in wisdom.

134. Mara will say to them, “This is your proud family heritage.” Then, the lineage of your father and mother for seven generations back Mara will run through; “You will become a Buddha, this is your heritage, your birthright!”

135. Or, Mara will tell another who may be into more ascetic practices, the devout, “Formerly, in your past lives, you have attained already these very same qualities. You are a reincarnated bodhisattva.” The bodhisattva upon hearing this becomes conceited; one should know this one to be possessed by pride, and of little intelligence, lacking in wisdom.

Faults in Connection with Detachment

136. Even though one may practice quite detached from villages, cities or in a mountain cave, in a remote forest, or isolated in the woods, the bodhisattva who exalts themselves, and depreciates others, must be recognized as one possessed by Mara, of little intelligence, lacking in wisdom.

137. Although they may live constantly in a village, city or a market town; if even being there they do not generate longing for the vehicle of the Arhats and Pratyekabuddhas, but are devoted to enlightenment for the sake of others, they are truly the detached, the children of the Buddha.

138. Though one may live in mountain caves, crawling with wild beasts, for many years, that bodhisattva does not know this true detachment if they live contaminated by their conceit. When one feels superior to those who practice for the weal of the world, whose concentration, gifts and abilities are dedicated to benefit others, such a one is truly founded in the world of Mara.

139. Whether one in a village, or a remote forest, if they be free from the thought of the twofold vehicle and fixed on the supreme enlightenment, then this is the detachment of those who have set out for the weal of the world. As one whose self is extinct should that bodhisattva be considered.

Chapter 22

The Good Friends and the Perfections

140. The now learned who has destroyed their pride, resolved to take on the weight that comes with seeking the best enlightenment, should, as one earnestly seeks a doctor to be cured of their ailments, seek the good friends, earnestly.

141. The Buddhas, the bodhisattvas who have gone before you, those who have these perfections are your “good friends.” It is they who need to instruct those in these advanced stages, and who will help those realize their Buddha-enlightenment doubly quick.

142. The past, present, and future Buddhas, anyone reaching the best enlightenment, they all share this perfection as their path, and not other. As a brilliant light, a torch, a Teacher, have these perfections been shown to those who seek the best enlightenment—to show the way as a guide.

143. As one realizes the perfection of wisdom by the guide of emptiness, so by the same guide (literally: “mark”, an object or point that serves as a guide) one realizes all dharmas; when wisely knowing all dharmas as empty, on this path one walks in the wisdom of the Buddhas.

Defilement and Purification

144. In want of luxuries, indulging in their imaginations, beings always wander about in birth-and-death (Samsara), since their minds are attached. Both “I” and “Mine” as dharmas are unreal and empty. It is by one’s own foolish self that one becomes and stays entangled in this unreal and empty space.

145. As someone who thinks they have drank poison may very well fall down, grasp their throat or stomach, say they don’t feel well, and even act sick, although there is no poison in them; just so, a foolish person who has let into themselves the notions of “I” and “Mine” is forced by this unreal thought to act upon it—seeing death-and-rebirth again and again.

146. So it has been revealed, when one differentiates, there becomes defilement; the non-differentiation of “I” and “Mine” is the purification. But there is no one in this world who is defiled and no one who is cleansed. Knowing this, then the bodhisattva has understood the perfection of wisdom.

The Supreme Merit of Perfect Wisdom

147. If all the people of the world, across all seven continents, got together to seek enlightenment, not only for themselves, but the well-being of others, much merit would be made; but the amount of merit would still be infinitesimal compared to the one who understands and applies this perfection of wisdom, even if just for one single day.

Compassion and Perfect Wisdom

148. When a monk, dedicated to meditation (Yogin) walks in wisdom, the greatest of perfections, they embody compassion, and yet, with no notion of a being to be compassionate to. It is then that this wise one becomes worthy of what this world has to offer, never fruitlessly consuming the gifts given to them in this world. The Bodhisattva who wishes to set free the beings in the three places of woe, and to make clear to them the broad path that leads to the other shore, should be devoted to the perfection of wisdom day and night.

The Simile of the Pearl of Great Price

149. A person who having found a very fine jewel, which they have never had before, would become very content and happy. If, after just finding this jewel, they were to lose it by their carelessness, they would instantly feel loss, regret and sorrow, and a constant longing for the lost jewel would come upon them.

150. Just so, the meditative monk who has set out to find the best enlightenment should be careful to not let themselves ever be parted from the perfection of wisdom, which is their jewel, seizing the jewel which they have gained, ever harder, moving forward towards the state of Bliss.

The Superior Position of Bodhisattvas

151. When the sun rises, freed from the clouds that were binding it, dispelling all of the confusion of darkness with its rays ablaze, it outshines all other heavenly bodies, stars and the luster of the moon. Just so, the wise Bodhisattva, who walks in wisdom, the foremost perfection, having risen out of the jungle of views that were binding them, by setting their path on emptiness and the signless, outshines the luster of the whole world, including the Arhats and Pratyekabuddhas.

The Simile of the King and the Crown Prince

152. If there were a prince, in whom, with little authority and resources given him by his father the king, were generous, a giver of wealth, desiring the welfare of others, how much more so will he be established as a kind ruler when he has been given the crown? Just so, the wise Bodhisattva, who walks in wisdom, already now is concerned with the happiness of many others, how much more so will they be when established as a king of the Dharma!

Chapter 24

How Mara is Discomforted and Defeated

153. But Mara at that time will become like a person with a thorn stuck in their flesh, afflicted, miserable, displeased and feeling weak. Mara will make an illusion of an uncontrollable consuming fire, a hurling meteor, in order to confuse with fear. “How can this bodhisattva’s contemplative mind be broken?” Mara will say.

154. When the wise become unmovable in their intent, beholding the meaning of wisdom day and night, the foremost perfection; their bodies, thoughts and speech become free like a bird in the sky. How can Mara gain any entrance to them?

What Makes Mara Happy

155. When a bodhisattva gets involved in quarrels and disputes, and especially when two bodhisattvas become conflicted and angry with each other, then Mara becomes happy, and overjoyed thinking, “Both of these people are still very far away from realizing their Buddha-enlightenment. Ha! They are more like fighting animals, or demons than true bodhisattvas. I bet it will not be too much longer before they start to stray from their vows and pledges. Those who are full of hate, lacking in their practice, how can they attain enlightenment?” Now Mara is happy, as well as his helpers.

The Bodhisattva’s Price and Repentance

156. If a bodhisattva who is not yet predicted (on a last life) should have angry thoughts and bring about a dispute with another; for as many seconds as they persist in holding onto these negative thoughts, for that many thousands of years must they return as a bodhisattva (put on the armor of a bodhisattva).

157. Then, having properly establishes their mindfulness; one thinks to themselves, “These are not good thoughts. It is only by the perfection of patience that the Buddha’s ever experience enlightenment.” Such a person confesses their faults and restrains themselves. Or, better yet, they learn to give up on angry thoughts altogether, by training themselves in this Bodhi-dharma.

Chapter 25

How a Bodhisattva Is Trained

158. When training oneself, one never arrives at the training, one never arrives at a Teacher, and one never arrives at the dharmas which make up the training. Who trains themselves, without discriminating between “training” and “not training”, trains in this Bodhi-dharma.

159. This understanding, if true, should never result in the bodhisattva’s training becoming lax, lazy, or in a lack of morality. For the bodhisattva finds all pleasures in the dharma and in this training. They train themselves, skillfully, but without grasping. When they train this wisdom, the wise shedder of light, not even a single unwholesome thought arises; like the sun shedding its light into the sky: all darkness is dispelled, no darkness can stand up to its magnificent rays.

Perfect Wisdom Comprehends All the Perfections

160. To those who have made their training that of the perfection of wisdom, all other trainings (perfections) become perfectly comprehended and realized. Just as in one false view always lies all of the sixty-two false views, so in this one perfection lies all of the perfections. Just as when life has been stopped, all the other faculties associated with life are stopped; just so, when the best of the wise walk in this wisdom, all these perfections become fully comprehended.

Bodhisattvas and Disciples

161. In the qualities of the Disciples and the Pratyekabuddhas, the wise bodhisattvas have been trained, but they do not stand in them, nor do they long for them. “It is in this way that I need to be trained,” they think, and it is in this sense that they train themselves properly.

Chapter 26

Rejoicing and Perfect Wisdom

162. If someone rejoices in a bodhisattva who has set out for the best enlightenment and is irreversible; one may consider the sum size of an infinite number of galaxies as no greater than the tip of a piece of straw, as compared to the merit gained by their rejoicing.

163. For they are rejoicing in the combined heap of merit made from all beings who ever existed, who desire what is good, and who desire to see the emancipation from suffering. When, for the weal of others, they have reached the perfect enlightenment, they will give the Dharma to the world for the total extinction of suffering.

164. The bodhisattva who, not discriminating, sees all dharmas as empty, without any dualism seeks in wisdom for enlightenment. Devoted to the foremost perfection of wisdom is that Yogin (monk dedicated to meditation).

The Simile of Space and the Sky

165. A blocking, obstruction, or barrier between space and sky cannot be found anywhere by anyone. Just so, the wise bodhisattva, walking in wisdom, is in the open space, coursing calmly and quietly.

The Simile of the People Created by Magic

166. If an illusionary man were to be conjured up by a magician, having no real body, thought, or name, would not think to himself, “I will do something to please these people,” but still, nevertheless, can perform the various tasks assigned to him. Just so, it never occurs to the one coursing in wisdom, “Being enlightened now I will set the world free!” Even being associated with a manifold of works, considering them like magical illusions, one does not take on false discriminations.

The Simile of the Buddha’s Magical Creations

167. As a Buddha’s magical creation performs the Buddha’s work, but when doing so, no thought of self or conceit arises within it; just so, the wise bodhisattva, who walks in wisdom, manifests all works of the Buddha, but considers themselves a fictitious illusion.

The Simile of the Machine

168. An expert inventor has created a machine, able to perform any of the works that a man or woman could do. Just so, the wise bodhisattva, walking in wisdom, performs their works like the machine, without any sense of discrimination.

Chapter 27

The Bodhisattva Worthy of Homage

169. To the wise, who has made their course in this wisdom, even the great multitude of the gods will pay homage to. The Buddhas as well, as many as there have been realized through the ages, will also proclaim their praises of the wise ones qualities.

Mara Is Powerless Against Certain Bodhisattvas

170. If every person in the world, as countless as the number of sands by the river Ganges, were all to become Maras, and if every single hair on their bodies were to each become a snare; even they all combined could not snare the wise. For four reasons is the wise bodhisattva unshakable: becoming one who dwells in the empty, yet one who doesn’t abandon beings, acting as they speak, being sustained by the Buddhas.

The True Attitude to Suchness

171. The bodhisattva who believes with all their heart when this perfection of wisdom is being taught to them, and practices this path with the same attitude, such a one should be known as being close to the all-knowledge. But they do not come to a foot hold in Suchness to stand upon, instead they become like a cloud which stands in the sky with nothing to stand on. Or a sorcerer, who, like a bird, can fly on the wind with nothing to support them; or as one, who, by the power of their spells, can miraculously produce on a tree its flowers and fruits out of season.

The Bodhisattva Dwells Supreme

172. The wise and learned bodhisattva, who walks in this manner, does not arrive to the Buddhas, or the Buddha-dharmas, for this is the dwelling place of those who desire the calm of the release. As many as these dwellings are, they are all surpassed by this higher dwelling, the foremost and the unsurpassed.

How and Why One Should Dwell in Emptiness

173. A bird dwells in the air, but does not fall down. A fish dwells in the water, but does not suffocate. Just so, the bodhisattva who has gone beyond, dwells in the empty, but does not reach the Blessed Rest. One who wants to reach the peak of the summit of qualities of all beings, to experience the best, the exceedingly wonderful, Buddha-cognition, to give the best gift of the highest and supreme Dharma, should live in this, the best dwelling, which brings the most benefit.

Chapter 28

Whoever Trains in Perfect Wisdom Trains in Buddhahood

174. Of all the trainings which have been revealed to us by the Buddha, this teaching remains the best and unsurpassed. One, who, wise in the trainings, wishes to go to the Beyond, should train in this perfection of wisdom; it is the Buddhahood-training.

Inexhaustibility of Perfect Wisdom

175. This is the best container, a storehouse of the supreme Dharma, a treasury of happiness and ease of those belonging to the clan of the Buddhas. The past, present, and future world saviors (Buddhas), they have all come forth from this, and yet the Dharma-element of it never gets depleted or exhausted.

176. As many different kinds of shrubs, trees, fruits, and flowers there are, they have all come out of the earth and have all originated from it. And yet the earth does not get exhausted, it does not get tired, does not dwindle away, nor does it increase itself, making no discrimination. The Buddha’s offspring, and the dharmas—as many as there are, they have all been issued from wisdom, the foremost perfection, and yet wisdom does not ever get exhausted, nor does it increase.

177. As many beings as there are in the low, middle and high realms of the world, we know, from the Buddha, that all of them have been brought about by ignorance. This machine-like process of birth-and-death, is kept going continuously by ignorance, and yet the ignorance never gets depleted, nor does it grow. As many roots of skillful devices there are, of doors, paths and methods to proper understanding, they all have been issued from wisdom, the foremost perfection. This machine of cognition is kept going by the fuel of wisdom, which does not increase or become diminished.

Conditioned Coproduction

178. But the bodhisattva who understands conditioned coproduction as non-production and this wisdom as non-extinction; as the sun freed from the covering of the clouds, so has this bodhisattva dispelled the covering of ignorance, and become one Self-Extinct.

Chapter 29

The Perfection of Concentration

179. To those of great might who dwell in the four Trances (the Four Jhanas), do not settle there; do not make them your home. Instead, use these four Trances as a support, and they will become the basis for the attainment of the supreme and unsurpassed enlightenment.

180. One who is established in the Trances becomes one who obtains the foremost wisdom; also, when one experiences the four most excellent Formless Trances, they make these trances subservient to the best and foremost enlightenment. But it is not for extinction that the bodhisattva trains.

181. Wonderful and astonishing is this accumulation of precious qualities. When they have truly dwelled in the highest trance of concentrations, then there is no longer any mark (point of reference to guide). When the personality of those who have stood in the unsurpassed breaks apart, they are reborn again in the world of sense-desire, as they have intended.

182. Having dwelt in Trance and Concentration, being Yogins who have exerted themselves, they become yet again established in this sense-world, unstained; as a lotus in water, independent of the dharmas (laws, order) of the fools. Except in cases where working to mature other beings, these Great-souled ones no longer need to strive after rebirth, less there be a loss of the perfections and of the qualities of enlightenment they possess.

183. It is as if someone, searching for the greatest jewel, upon finding it, would no longer feel the need to covet for it. Fulfilled, and knowing that they cannot take this great jewel back home with them, they leave for home, and covet no more. Just so, the wise bodhisattva who has gained the calm concentration of the four Trances, which gives joy and ease, lets go of the joy and ease, so that they may again enter into the sensuous world, compassionate for all that lives.

184. When a bodhisattva dwells concentrated in the Trances, they no longer generate in their minds any longing for Arhatship or becoming a Pratyekabuddha; for if that were to happen, they would become unconcentrated, distracted in their thoughts and puffed-up, having lost the qualities of a Buddha, like a  sailor who suffers a shipwreck.

185. Although still connecting (choosing to apply them for a practical purpose) themselves to the five sense-qualities; to form and sound, smell, taste and touch; when free from the vehicle of the Arhats and Pratyekabuddhas, the joyous bodhisattva should, a hero, be wisely known as being constantly concentrated.

The Perfection of Vigor

186. The practice of the excellence of Vigor results in a pure and courageous mind that is linked to all other beings and persons. As a servant is submissive to their master who is not subject to anyone else, so do the firmly wise submit to subjection by all beings. The servant does not question their master, even when abused, struck or beaten. Trembling in mind, overcome by fear, they think, “If I talk back, surely I will be killed for that!”

187. Just so, the bodhisattva, who has set out for the foremost enlightenment, should behave towards the entire world as a true servant. In this they obtain enlightenment, and the fulfillment of the qualities takes place. Having renounced a happy destiny for oneself, practicing ones duty towards other beings, day and night, free from any hesitation in their thoughts of doing so, like a mother, taking care of her only child, the bodhisattva abides in their resolute intention unexhausted.

Chapter 30

The Perfection of Vigor (Continued)

188. The bodhisattva who intends to wander about in birth-death for a long time, a Yogin, dedicated to the purification of other beings, and who does not produce the least bit of weary in doing so, is endowed with the perfection of vigor.

189. The unwise bodhisattva counts their numbers of birth-and-deaths, and soon has the notion that it is too long until the full attainment of enlightenment—such a person is bound to suffer, moving slowly towards the Dharma, due to their laziness.

190. Beginning with the production of the first thought of the foremost enlightenment, until the unsurpassed Bliss, if night and day one would persevere single-mindedly, the wise and learned should be known as one who has shown vigor.

191. If someone would say, “On the condition that you shatter Mount Sumeru you will attain the foremost enlightenment,” the bodhisattva who would feel weary and discouraged of their limitations of their efforts, is affected by their laziness.

192. But if upon hearing that, there rises up in them the thought, “That is nothing difficult. In a mere moment I will break that mountain into dust,” then this is the bodhisattva who shows vigor.

193. If one were to exert themselves in body, thought and speech, thinking, “Having now reached full maturity, I will work for the weal of the world,” then, having established a notion of self, will be affected by laziness (disinclined to exert oneself).

194. When one has no notion of body, thought or a being, ridding themselves of all perception, coursing in the non-dualism Dharma—that has been called by Him who bestows the perfection of vigor of those who desire the blissful, imperishable, foremost enlightenment.

The Perfection of Patience

195. When the wise bodhisattva hears someone else speaking to them harshly and offensively, they think, “Who speaks? Who hears?” The discerning is then devoted to the foremost perfection of patience.

196. If a bodhisattva, devoted to the Dharma, remains patient, and if someone else were to give an infinite, uncountable amount of precious gifts to the Buddhas—infinitesimal by comparison would be the merit from that heap of gifts.

197. The personality of one who is established in patience is completely purified, exalted by the thirty-to marks, it becomes boundless. Preaching the best empty Dharma to all beings, dear to the entire world do the patient and discerning become.

198. If someone were to take a basket full of the best fragrances, and, with the utmost affection and reverence, lovingly pour it over the bodhisattva, and if a second one were to throw firey coals upon them instead—the bodhisattva should be of equal (the same) mind (attitude) towards the both of them.

199. Being patient with such a person, the wise and learned bodhisattva dedicates that production of thought to the foremost enlightenment. The hero, who remains patient in all circumstances, surpasses the Arhats and the Pratyekabuddhas.

200. One who is patient should produce this thought, “In hell, in the world of animals, and in the world of ghosts, there are many suffering. With the five skandhas being the true cause, these beings experience so much pain and suffering. It is better, for the sake of enlightenment, to be patient today! Hurt me as they will, with blows, whips, imprisonment, torture, or even murder—as many evil things exist that they could do, I will endure them all.” Thinking thus, this bodhisattva stands in the perfection of patience.

Chapter 31

The Perfection of Morality

201. By morality those who long for calm are lifted up, established in the realm of the Buddhas, unbroken in their morality. However many actions of restraint they submit themselves to, they dedicate them to enlightenment for the benefit of all beings.

202. When one generates a longing for the enlightenment of Arhats or Pratekabuddhas, one becomes immoral, unwise, and will be likewise faulty in their course. But when one turns over their merit into the utmost Bliss of enlightenment, then one is established in the perfection of morality, although still being joined to the world of the senses.

203. The Dharma from which comes the qualities of the enlightenment of the Gentle , that is the object of the morality of those who are endowed with the qualities of the Dharma. The Dharma which involves the loss of the qualities of the enlightenment of those who act for the weal of the world, as immorality has that been proclaimed by the Buddha.

204. When a bodhisattva tastes the five sense-qualities, but has gone to the refuge of the Buddha, the Dharma, and the Sangha, and has turned their attention towards all-knowledge, thinking, “I will become a Buddha,” as established in the perfection of morality should that discerning one be known.

205. If, when coursing for aeons in the ten paths of wholesome actions, one gains a longing for Arhatship of Pratyekabuddhahood, then they become one whose morality is broken, and is faulty in their morality. The production of such a thought carries more weight to it than an offense that would carry with it the punishment of expulsion from the practice.

206. When one guards their morality, they turn the resulting merit over to the foremost enlightenment, but does not feel conceited about this, nor does one feel the need to be exalted (or exalt themselves). When one has gotten rid of the notion of “I” and the notion of other beings, established in the perfection of morality is that bodhisattva called.

207. If a bodhisattva, walking in the path of the Buddhas, makes a difference between beings practicing good morality and beings who are practicing immorality, now intent on the perception of dualisms the bodhisattva has become perfectly immoral.

208. One, who has no notion of “I” and no notion of a being, has performed the perfect withdrawal of perception, and has no more need for restraint. They will be proclaimed by the Buddha as restrained by morality.

The Perfection of Giving

209. But one, who endowed with morality, a pure being, becomes unconcerned about anything that one could consider to hold dear or undear; if, when renouncing their own very life (head, hands and feet), their thoughts remaining calm and unworried (undejected), they become one who has given up all that they have, never able to be intimidated or imprisioned again (uncowed).

210. And having known the essential original nature of dharmas as void and without self, would renounce their own flesh, unworried in thought, to say nothing of their renouncing property and gold. It is impossible that one should ever act out of greediness.

211. Through the notion of “I” comes about a sense of ownership, as well as greed. How then can the deluded have the resolve to renounce this? The greedy are reborn in the realm of the hungry ghosts, or at best, they come back human, but as the very poor.

212. Then, the bodhisattva, having understood why certain beings are stricken with poverty, becomes resolved to giving, always the generous giver. When they have given away the world, as if it were nothing but spit, they become elated, for they have not kept the world for themselves.

213. Having given gifts, the wise and learned bodhisattva, having brought to mind all the beings of this triple world, becomes to each of them their benefactor, and turns over that gift into the most excellent enlightenment, for the weal of the world. When having given a gift, they do not expect anything in return. Having so renounced, they become a renouncer of all. The little they have renounced becomes much and immeasurable.

214. If all the beings of the world, were to give gifts for all eternity, to the Buddhas, Knowers of the world, to Arhats and Pratyekabuddhas, but would wish for the virtues of the Disciples in return; and if a bodhisattva were to simply rejoice at their merit, and would for the weal of the world, turn it over into the best and most excellent enlightenment, by having turned it over they surpass the merit of the entire world.

215. If there were a large pile of beautiful glass (fake) jewels, one single real gem (semi-precious) would surpass them all in worth and value. Just so, the bodhisattva, who rejoices, surpasses the merit from the vast pile of gifts of the entire world.

216. If the bodhisattva, when giving gifts to the world remains unaffected by a sense of ownership or by affection for their belongings, from that wholesome root grows something of great might; as the moon, in the absence of clouds, is a circle of radiant light in the bright half of the lunar month.

Chapter 32

Rewards of the Six Perfections

217. Through Giving a bodhisattva escapes a rebirth as a hungry ghost. They also escape poverty, and all the defilements. When coursing in it (giving) one gains infinite and abundant wealth. Through their giving they help mature beings who are in trouble.

218. Through Morality they avoid rebirth as an animal, constantly gaining rebirth as a human at the proper moment. Through Patience they gain a perfect and exalted body, with good skin, dear for the world to look at.

219. Through Vigor they do not suffer the loss of the bright qualities; gaining the storehouse of the infinite wisdom of the Buddhas. Through Trance they cast off the sense-qualities in disgust, acquiring the legendary superknowledges and concentrations.

220. Having, through Wisdom, comprehended the essential original nature of dharmas, they completely transcend the triple world and the states of woe. Having turned the precious wheel of the Buddha, they demonstrate Dharma to the world for the complete extinction of suffering.

221. When the bodhisattva has fulfilled these dharmas, they still receive the purity of the field and the purity of the beings cultivated in it. They also receive the lineage of the Buddha, the lineage of the Dharma, and the lineage of the Sangha. They receive all dharmas.


222. The supreme physician who gives treatment to the sickness of the world, has taught this discourse on wisdom which is the path to enlightenment. It is called “The Path to enlightenment which is the Accumulation of Precious Qualities,” and it has been taught so that all beings may one day reach that Path.


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cheetos babyI have been hearing the word “compassion” being kicked-around a lot these days, but what exactly does compassion mean to you? The first thing that comes to my mind is that charity group, Compassion Intl, which says that you can feed a starving child in Africa for pennies a day. The second mental image that comes to mind is a really fat baby eating Cheetos®.

So, I have a friend who invited me over a few months ago to some family dinner, which was nice of her since I have no family in town. I met her mom, younger brother, younger sister, and her older brother and his wife; who, in turn, showed me their baby boy—it was one of the fattest kids that I have ever seen. Look, when I say that it was a fat baby, I mean that it was a really, really, FAT baby. Not in that “cute”, “all kids are kind of chubby” kind-of way, but in that “Oh, my God! Who rolled out the Michelin Man?” kind-of way.

The kid was sitting there with its fingers, now permanently stained a bright orange color, deep into a bad of Cheetos®–lips smeared with its cheesy goodness like the Joker’s red lipstick in Batman. Soon, the baby mammoth began to quiver and cry; the cries turned into screams as he tossed the bad to the floor. Baby needs more junk food. It cried and cried, until a frantic mother ran and grabbed another bag of junk food to hand to the child. Once given its new treat, the baby smiled… and ate.

When I asked why they didn’t just let the thing scream, give it carrots, or put it on a diet the parents told me that it was out of their love, compassion, and care for the child. They wanted to give it what it wanted, to end its crying, and see it happy.

When I was about 20 years old, I had moved across the country and squandered my savings on drugs, stupid purchases, and partying. Eventually I was destitute, and I was facing becoming homeless. I called my mom and dad, asking them to send me some money to bail me out of the mess I made for myself. They told me “no.” They told me to get my act together, deal with the mess I made, and not to ask them for anything again for at least one year. If I came back in a year with my nose clean and head straight, then they would talk to me again. Until then, I was cut off from the family.

I pissed. I moaned. I yelled. I said all kinds of things. I’m a fat baby and you had better give me my Cheetos®! But nothing worked.

Eventually I was homeless, living on the streets and sometimes bad “hotels when I was lucky—I mean the kinds that normally had “hourly rates”, smells like piss, and yellow walls that I had a sneaking suspicion where actually white…. Thus, explaining the before-mentioned smell. Within a year though I was sober, working, happy but struggling, and had managed to move into a slightly better apartment. My parents contacted me and I wanted nothing to do with them. I was mad as hell. How dare they not help me, show me no compassion, refuse to bail me out, and now… now that I’m doing OK, now they want to talk to me again?

My dad said that he would still not give me any money or anything, but that if I wanted to go back to school in San Francisco he would pay my tuition. I said no; that I did not want anything from him, but later I reconsidered. Not that I was not mad anymore, but because I was tired of being poor, and I figured a degree would help me make something of myself.

Fast-forward about 10 years, and we come to this last summer—I was over in the East Coast visiting my mom and dad for the summer. While visiting the story came up about my time as a kid in San Francisco, and before I was able to say anything about it, I watched as my mom and dad’s eyes welled up with tears, and voices cracked, as they said how hard it was for them to cut me off like that. How they would get into fights over it, would miss me and want to call, how they would feel so tempted to mail me a check, or fly down there and get me. But that they couldn’t. It killed them, but they knew that they could not do it. They knew that in order to be good parents to me, to really help me, really show me compassion—that they would have to show me some tough love.

I never knew it was that hard on them to do that to me back then. I never understood why they did it until that day, and my anger over that situation dissolved away instantly. They are good parents.

com·pas·sion (km-pshn)

Deep awareness of the suffering of another coupled with the wish to relieve it.

Remember, compassion isn’t always giving someone what they want, it is giving them what they need. In closing, I am going to borrow something from the wisdom of the Bible: For those who know the Way, correct with harsh words. For those new to they way, correct with soft words. For those who do not know the Way, show nothing but grace.


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A friend of mine took some time to remind me of how there really is a place for all kinds of Buddhist teachings, styles, and philosophies; that, even though I may like the more rigid or traditional, there really is a place for it all. I do understand that what really maters is if the person is getting something out of it, and that the vehicle is leading them further along the way than they were before. I get that. I really do.

I was then posed the question, “Why do you find self-help Buddhism so annoying? Why such a strong reaction to it?” To this, I could not answer right away. Instead I promised to take some time to think about it.

After thinking about it I did come to the conclusion that I was being a bit too hard on these people, and that there are places for everything. I DO, however, still think that the psychology found in these self-help books is not actually “Buddhism” per-say, but that it is the same techniques I find in any other book. And yes, I do study psychology in college. Whether the book be Christian, New Age, Jewish, Athiest or Buddhist, they all follow the same format and then just throw in little stories of quotes from their particular model (Jesus, Buddha, and I have even seen them using Star Wars or Winnie the Pooh) to make it fit their target audience.

So I do feel this way, but I am glad that these people are getting some help. If it gets them past where they are and deeper into the practice, then I am glad for it. I guess my problem is when people simply get to this point and “park there”; thinking that this is the end-all. Some even think that anything beyond this initail point is silly, religious, old-school, and pointless.

The other day I was reading a Buddhist magazine and it had a fun little story about a bunch of Buddhist monks who went to an amusement park to have fun and ride on the roller-coasters. They too, felt as though this fun and roller-coaster riding also has “a place in the practice”, and they are right. It does.

However, you can’t take this thing that has a place in the practice and make it your practice. You cannot build an entire new sect of the practice around riding roller-coasters. Now maybe that would RULE! I mean… roller-coaster meditation!? How awesome is that? But seriously, it would not last. It would be lacking something, it could only grow you so far, and sooner or later you will not be able to go on the rides anymore? What happens when they break down? What about when the park is closed? What happens when the ride gets boring and no longer gives you that thrill? Do you have to keep on moving on to park after park, looking for a more exciting ride?

The same thing can also be said about people who make their practice ABOUT THEIR PAIN. And that is what I think alot of these insight groups are doing these days. The practice centers around hurt and pain. How to confront it, deal with it, end it, find it, talk about it, think through it, etc. Now, what happens when the pain stops? The practice stops. So what do the do? Well, they stop or they go back to the pain, or they go and find some new pain to practice around. It can only get you so far, and since the entire practice feeds off these negative energies it really has no ability to truly release you from them. There is a time when you are going to have to just let it all go. There is a point where instead of getting away from the monster, you are actually feeding it.

One book about dealing with your anger/depression? Fine. A seminar to help you think some things out? Great. But making it your entire life and your entire practice? 10 books, 20? The subject of your every talk and the point of every retreat you go to? That I disagree with. That is feeding the thing; even your attempts to fight the issue can give it more strength than it ever deserved if not done skillfully.

Anyway, anyone know where I can get involved with Theme Park Roller-Coaster Zen?


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