II. Prajna Stage (shamatha & vipashyana): mind in clarity, realizing Buddha nature, untainted wisdom
a) Prajna Practice
The Buddha first introduced Dharma teachings that were appropriate for students with the capacity of the Two Vehicles (Shravakas and Pratyekabuddha). Followed by expounding the sutras from the Prajna Section, the Buddha helped to relinquish their individual attachments. As all phenomena are empty of intrinsic nature, Middle Way, the Reality was presented.
In 1983, Master Hsin Tao began a two-year fasting retreat in solitude. Seeing oneself with contemplative analysis of Chan, he recalled, “In the pitch dark cave, the only luminosity was seeing my nature.” Through the fierce exertion of Chan practice, one can realize the luminosity of mind and achieve the aversion of inner and outer obstacles.
b) Prajna Stage Description
Prajna, the wisdom of emptiness elucidated by the Buddha revealed the truth of impermanence and the false conception of this world. Only by realizing “emptiness” can one be apart from worldly confinements, as well as to experience the transcendental wisdom of “ultimate emptiness” in Buddhadharma. Observe emptiness with “mind returning to emptiness, non-arising of thoughts”. With Chan, one can realize the unimpeded prajna wisdom.
Chan is the essence and spirit of Ling Jiou Mountain. By entering Chan through the study of prajna wisdom, Prajna Stage is the training of the union of shamatha and vipashyana. The thorough experience and realization of emptiness help to cultivate prajna wisdom. Such is also the fulfillment of “living Chan”. Chan threads through prajna of languages, prajna of contemplative illumination, then enter the emptiness and clarity of prajna of the characteristics. By applying prajna in daily life, conflicts and tensions can be resolved – a path is cleared for harmony. Dependent arising and emptiness are the two crucial determinants in entering the path of Bodhisattva, Mahayana.
Developing the prajna wisdom of emptiness.
Carrying out Chan practice.
Practicing concentration and contemplative analysis in everyday activities.