The Essential Scriptures of the Buddha and Patriarchs
Secrets on Cultivating the Mind
Question: In the approach of subsequent cultivation, we really do not yet understand the meaning of maintaining samādhi (concentration) and prajñā (wisdom) equally. Would you please expound further on this point in detail, so that we may free ourselves of our delusion and be guided to the gates to liberation?
Chinul: If we were to consider these [two] dharmas and their attributes, of the thousands of approaches for accessing the principle, there are none that do not involve samādhi and prajñā. Taking into account only their essentials, from the standpoint of the self-nature, they then are characterized as the two aspects of essence and function―this is what I have previously called the void and calm, numinous awareness. Samādhi is the essence; prajñā is the function. Because [prajñā] is the functioning of the essence, prajñā is not separate from samādhi. Because [samādhi] is the essence of the function, samādhi is not separate from prajñā. Because where there is samādhi there is prajñā, [samādhi] is calm yet constantly aware. Because where there is prajñā there is samādhi, [prajñā] is aware yet constantly calm. As Caoqi [the Sixth Patriarch Huineng] said, “The mind-ground that is free from disturbance is the samādhi of the self-nature. The mind-ground that is free from delusion is the prajñā of the self-nature.” If you understand in this wise, naturally in all situations you will be calm and aware. When restraining and reflecting [viz., the respective characteristics of samādhi and prajñā] are nondual, this is then the sudden school adept’s joint cultivation of samādhi and prajñā.