There Is No Suffering 95

With the line “There is no wisdom and no attainment,” the Heart Sutra goes one step further and removes attachment to wisdom itself. If you think that generating genuine wisdom eliminates suffering, then you are still attached to the idea of wisdom. The Heart Sutra’s intent is to remove all attachments from your mind, step by step. Most people cannot let go of one thing unless they have already grasped something else. The Heart Sutra speaks to this habit, and systematically removes all sources of attachment, until there is nothing left to attach to.

To understand this statement, we must first explain what wisdom and attainment are. According to the agamas, that which removes or dispels basic ignorance is wisdom. That which knows of and removes afflictions is wisdom. In conventional Buddhadharma, there is an idea of attaining the wisdom-eye, or perfecting the purity of the Dharma-eye.34 It is the level where you deeply understand Buddhadharma. You have developed absolute faith in the nature of causes and coditions, and in the twelve links of conditioned arising. You understand that the five skandhas are inseparable from samsara and emptiness. Faith derives from personal experience; it is not an intellectual understanding that comes from books. Developing the purity of the Dharma-eye means turning vexation into wisdom—realizing non-duality between conventions of the world and their true nature. Again, we must differentiate between wisdom with outflows and that without outflows. Thinking that you have attained wisdom is wisdom with outflows, because it still involves a sense of self. When you have truly perceived that there is nothing to attain, which is another way of saying you have attained wisdom without outflows, there is no more sense of self.