So why do we act as though we are ignorant? Because that inner innate wisdom – called Prajna – is covered up. The vasanas – habit energies – so cover the Prajna that it becomes impossible to shine thru to the conscious mind – but it is there.
All thru religious and spiritual literature we read “Know Thyself,” “The Kingdom of Heaven is within,” “The inner Guru,” etc., but we don’t believe this teaching and look outside ourselves, in the outer world we have created for ourselves to find someone to worship, someone to follow, and so forth. There are many teachers who use this fact to their own benefit, frequently financial in character. This is why Krishnamurti said the Guru system is ‘an exploitation.’
I have frequently told you the story of the Sufi teacher who was approached by a seeker, who said:
“Teach me, Master!”
“Are you ready to learn?” was the reply.
“Teach me how to learn ” earnestly implored the seeker.
“Are you ready to let me teach you how to learn?” was the cold water thrown on the seeker’s aspirations.
When Paul Reps met someone, he said, “Thank you for your Life!” When people asked questions as to proper diet, whether to have sex or not, etc., Paul called these “verbal delusionary.” This has deep meaning, and relates closely to the reply of the Sufi master “Are you ready to learn?” Unless the delusionary way of thinking is changed, no teaching is possible and changing it can be painful. Giving up delusions, often recognized as neuroses, is not as easy as wallowing in them. I have known people who had legs amputated because it was easier than stopping the tobacco habit. With such deep-seated habit energies, where is the possibility of shaking the delusionary way of thinking, the maker of suffering?
Prajna, your great treasure, the innate wisdom that you are never without, is often personalized as Prajna Paramita, the perfection of wisdom, and is thought of as a female. In spiritual experiences I have been told: “She will take you where you are meant to be.” In other words, you are being led.
One time I told a young yogi, who was actively seeking to be free from bondage, “The thing that binds you is the feeling that there is a goal to reach and you have not yet reached it. Actually, you are complete. If you have faith in Prajna, this inner wisdom, you will do and feel the right thing. It will almost do the right thing for you. Every word spoken to you will be a signpost to guide you, if you let it. But, can you have faith in this guidance instead of always trying to manipulate it?”
It means you must “Let go!” Every spiritual path simply asks you to “Let go!” But this means to ignore your habitual thought patterns, your ingrained energy patterns and that is difficult to consciously do. The circulation and balancing of these energy patterns in T’ai Chi Chih practice can do it for you effortlessly.
I remember one teachers’ training course in which a fine young man, who had many terrible habits, made a real breakthrough. At the end of the six day course, he suddenly realized he had not indulged any of these habits during the week. I doubt that he subsequently indulged these habits, though it is not easy to break away from habitual thought patterns.
My advice is to trust your inherent, intuitive wisdom rather than the accumulated knowledge we all pile up. There is no end to adding facts and filling our heads with knowledge, which serves a very real purpose in its place. Whether you call it God, Prajna, your own true nature, or whatever – my advice is to know it and listen to it. This means to come to know “who” and “what” you are.
(Lotus Sutra – ”From state of emptiness”. Key is the “emptiness”, like an empty cup that can hold tea.)
Da Hui is talking about Prajna as opposed to Knowledge when he says: “The great teaching must flow out point by point from within your own breast to cover heaven and earth; only then will it be the action of a man of power.” That which flows out from one’s own breast, as he calls it, is one’s own beginningless present awareness, fundamentally complete of itself. As soon as you arouse a second thought, you fall into comparative awareness. “Comparative awareness” is something gained from external refinements (that is, acquired knowledge). “Present awareness” is something from before your parents were born (now don’t get hung up on “before” – don’t be literal; just sense the meaning. I call this “present awareness”, the real power, Prajna or Prajna Paramita. The names we use are unimportant, yet wars are fought over them (Allah vs. Jehovah, Krishna and Jesus). How infantile!
Da Hui goes on to say: “With strong power one can enter both enlightenment and delusion. If one’s power is weak, he can enter the realm of enlightenment, but not the realm of delusion.” (I call this “merging sense with essence.”)
I say to have faith in this power, this Prajna (which is certainly related to Prana or Chi) and to let it function for you. Don’t let delusionary thinking dull or obliterate it for you. In an interesting book I’ve been reading, “Do You See What I See?”, the author says to have faith in Life and let it function freely. Thus he equates “Life” with “God,” “Truth,” etcetera and rightly points out it is all here now, not to screen it out.
It is easy to tell people that; that this very moment is the transcendental and equal to infinity. Here is Da Hui’s answer to that: “In the conduct of their daily activities, sentient beings have no Illumination (that is, Prajna). If you go along with their ignorance, they’re happy; if you oppose their ignorance, they’re vexed.”
So, I can make you happy by saying what you want to hear. But I’m unwilling to talk down to people. I won’t use cliches like “All is One.” Do you live as though “All is One”, or do you see others, some opposed to you? Do you live in the transcendental or do you have to pay the rent?
Zen Master Danxia said: “In the ‘function which is identical to essence’, holding still and letting go rest completely in one’s self. In the ‘Essence which is identical to Function’, bringing forth and throwing away depend on no one else.”
He is saying that it is all there with you, in your actions and your thoughts. You are complete. T’ai Chi Chih is helping you uncover that completeness. I say “Learn to live with and in that completeness and have absolute faith in it.”
Teacher conference presentation by Justin Stone
September 1992, ©The Vital Force
Reprinted with permission.