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Teachings on emptyness

Teachings on emptyness

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Published by: xsrumination on Apr 10, 2011
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01/14/2013

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“Therefore, the mantra of the perfection of wisdom is a mantra of great
knowledge; it is an unsurpassable mantra; it is a mantra that is compar-
able to the incomparable; it is a mantra that totally pacifies all suffering.
It will not deceive you, therefore know it to be true!”

In both sutra and tantra, the word mantra has the same connota-
tion—protecting the mind. Practitioners who practice mantra are
protecting their minds from fears and danger. The perfection of wis-
dom fulfills the same purpose. It is called a mantra here because when
we cultivate the wisdom gone beyond, this practice also works to pro-
tect us from fear and danger.
The perfection of wisdom is “a mantra of great knowledge” in the
sense that of all the various kinds of wisdom, it is the greatest—the real
antidote to ignorance. The mode of apprehension of ignorance is
incompatible with the mode of apprehension of the wisdom of empti-
ness, which directly contradicts the grasping at self. It is “unsurpass-
able” inasmuch as we cannot find any other wisdom that has such
power to free us from both suffering and its causes. The perfection of

THE MEANING OF THE TEXT

125

wisdom leads us to the non-abiding state of enlightenment, and
because of this it “is comparable to the incomparable.”
Another interpretation of this passage can be related to the five
paths. “Therefore the mantra of the perfection of wisdom” relates
to the path of accumulation; “Is a mantra of great knowledge”
relates to the path of preparation; “It is an unsurpassable mantra”
relates to the path of seeing; “It is a mantra that is comparable to the
incomparable” relates to the path of meditation; and “It is a mantra
that totally pacifies all suffering” relates to the path of no more learn-
ing, or enlightenment. The five paths of the Greater Vehicle are dif-
ferentiated from one another from the point of view of wisdom, or
insight, not from the point of view of method, or skillful means. The
way in which everything actually exists—the ultimate nature of phe-
nomena—is the way that it is perceived by the perfection of wisdom.
It is this perception that can take us to the state of enlightenment.
As we train our minds in the perfection of wisdom, we should do
so together with the practices of the other five perfections, or the
skillful means of method. We should not isolate wisdom from
method or method from wisdom. If we do not practice the two
together, we will never achieve enlightenment. The integration of
method and wisdom is essential.
The importance of this was expressed well by the first Dalai Lama
in his praise to Lama Tsong Khapa when he said, “Integrating
method and wisdom together, you have actualized the three enlight-
ened bodies. Most glorious spiritual master, please bless me.” By prac-
ticing method and wisdom on the five paths, we can abandon all
obstacles and finally reach the state of non-abiding enlightenment.

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