There Is No Suffering 12

As Chan is pragmatic, I will discuss the Heart Sutra in terms of practice. Buddhist sutras describe a threefold path of practice, which includes precepts (sila), meditation (samadhi), and wisdom (prajna). Hence, to be in accordance with Buddhadharma, the practices must ultimately resonate with wisdom, the special insight into the nature of emptiness.

Meditative cultivation of samadhi without the practice of wisdom is not exclusive to Buddhism. Many other spiritual traditions cultivate in one form or another, levels of meditative absorption, trance, or contemplation. Although such experiences may be beneficial, without prajna, they cannot be considered true Buddhist samadhi. The Platform Sutra says, “genuine samadhi and prajna arise simultaneously...; samadhi is the essence of wisdom, and wisdom is the function of samadhi...”5 Furthermore, the same sutra states that a person with prajna or in such samadhi cannot, and will not , break the precepts.6 In fact, precepts without the guidance of wisdom are no different from the ethics and commandments of other spiritual doctrines. In other words, any practice not guided at its center by the principle of prajna is other than Buddhist.

Shakyamuni Buddha’ s teachings emanated from deep prajna to guide sentient beings so they too could eventually give rise to wisdom. If one practices in accordance with Buddhadharma and gives rise to wisdom, then one attains enlightenment, or liberation.