The Heart of Prajna Paramita Sutra

Emptying the Four Truths

The Eightfold Upright Path consists of the following:

1) Upright views. “Views” refers to your opinions. They have not yet become external; upright views are held in the mind. The meaning is that you should have a proper viewpoint. If your views are not upright, then it is easy to take a deviant road. If they are upright, then you take the right road. Which views are upright and which are deviant? An upright view would be: “I should study the Buddhadharma, because the Buddhadharma is upright.” What is a deviant view? For instance, you gamble or do whatever is enjoyable and leisurely, you are lazy or you harm people – these are all activities born of your deviant views. Therefore, upright views are very important.

2) Upright consideration. No sooner do your proper opinions come into being then you think, “Is it right or wrong?” An upright consideration would be: “I think that studying the Buddhadharma is the most genuine business of humanity, and there is nothing wrong with it.”

Perhaps you have deviant considerations: “I am afraid that this business of studying the Buddhadharma isn’t of any use. Now it is the scientific age. The Buddhadharma talks this way and that about teaching people to do good deeds and to be good people. Nowadays, who is a good person? There aren’t any. What everybody does is evil. I see that people commit all sorts of evil deeds, but at the same time these people have money to spend and liquor to drink.” Since they have everything, they think that studying the Buddhadharma is not that good, so they run off down a deviant road. If your consideration is upright, you won’t.

3) Upright speech. If you have upright thought, you are capable of upright speech. What you say doesn’t induce people to take deviant paths; it isn’t drunken or mad, but always very precise and correct. You make everybody listen and like to listen and like acting in accordance with what you say.

4) Upright occupation. Upright speech leads you to an upright occupation, which is to say, one which most people think is wholesome and not one which is against the law.

5) Upright living. If your occupation is upright, then your lifestyle will be upright also.

6) Upright vigor. You should be vigorous in doing what is upright, not in doing what is improper.

7) Upright mindfulness.

8) Upright samadhi.

The Four Bases of Psychic Power are:

1) The desire-basis. This desire is wholesome, a hoping for good things.
2) The vigor-basis.
3) The mind-basis.
4) The volitional basis.

The Four Dwellings in Mindfulness concern body, feeling, mind, and dharmas:

1) Contemplate the body as impure.
2) Contemplate feeling as suffering.
3) Contemplate the mind as impermanent.
4) Contemplate dharmas as having no self.

The Four Types of Upright Diligence are:

1) Good roots which have not yet been grown are caused to grow.
2) Good roots already growing are caused to grow further.
3) Evil which has not yet been done is kept from being done.
4) Evil thoughts which have already been generated are cut off.

The Five Faculties are:

1) The faculty of faith.
2) The faculty of vigor.
3) The faculty of mindfulness.
4) The faculty of samadhi.
5) The faculty of wisdom.

The Five Powers are:

1) Faith has the power of faith.
2) Vigor has the power of vigor.
3) Mindfulness has the power of mindfulness.
4) Samadhi has the power of samadhi.
5) Wisdom has the power of wisdom.

Together the five faculties, the five powers, the four types of upright diligence, the four dwellings in mindfulness, the four bases of psychic power, the seven shares in enlightenment, and the eightfold upright paths make the thirty-seven categories of the Way.

One day connect right through and ripen the fruit of sagehood. If you cultivate the thirty-seven categories of the Way, then one day you will “suddenly connect right through” and be certified as having attained the fruition of sagehood.

Partial truth with residue is just a conjured city. You shouldn’t dwell in the kind of nirvana which is a one-sided truth and has residue. That nirvana is a city which has been conjured up; it is not a genuine city. When your attainment of that kind of non-ultimate nirvana has been certified, you must still go forward and cultivate.

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