Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Practrice and Worship

At the beginning of the Heart Sutra, Avalokiteshwara is practicing Prajnaparamita

"Paramita" is a Sanskrit word, meaning "to the opposite shore."
"Prajna" means 'Wisdom'.
"Maha" means 'great'

"The word 'Mahaprajnaparamita' is Sanskrit, and means 'great wisdom to reach the opposite shore' (of the sea of existence) . What we have to do is to put it into practice with our mind; whether we recite it or not does not matter. Mere reciting it without mental practice may be likened to a phantasm, a magical delusion, a flash of lightning or a dewdrop. On the other hand, if we do both, then our mind will be in accord with what we repeat orally." 

(Quoted from the  6th Patriarch Huineng's Platform Sutra)

What Huineng says here is that unless we also dedicate ourselves to its actual practice, the recitation of the word Prajnaparamita - or Mahaprajna paramita - as a mantra (a sort of magical trance-inducing formula) is useless .

Prajnaparamita  has sometimes be personified as the Goddess of Wisdom. Simply worshiping her does not do any good either. Burning incense in front of a piece of stone is not likely to help anyone get enlightened. So actually it will hurt whoever thinks worshiping a statue  is enough and dispenses him, or her, from actual practice. 

Prajna paramita - and Buddhism in general have to be practiced

That's all.

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