The Essential Scripture...


The Essential Scriptures of the Buddha and Patriarchs

Secrets on Cultivating the Mind

Section 29

But hindrances are formidable and habits are deeply ingrained; contemplation is weak and the mind drifts. The power of ignorance is great, but the power of prajñā is small. When he comes in contact with wholesome and unwholesome sense-objects, he still cannot avoid alternately being either affected by them or remaining at rest; and since the mind is neither tranquil nor content, he cannot but work both at forgetting all conditioning and at effacement. As it is said, “When the six sense-bases are absorbed in the object [of meditation] and the mind no longer responds to the conditioning—we call this samādhi. When the mind and the sense-spheres are both void and [the mirror of the mind] shines without obscuration—we call this prajñā.” Even though this is the [relative] approach to samādhi and prajñā that adapts to signs as practiced by those of inferior capacities in the gradual school, it should not be neglected as a counteractive technique. If restlessness and agitation are intense, then first, through the approach of samādhi, use the principle to absorb the distraction; for when the mind does not respond to the environment/conditioning, it will be in conformity with original calmness. If dullness and torpor are especially heavy, then next use the approach of prajñā to investigate dharmas critically and contemplate their voidness; for when [the mirror of the mind] shines without obscuration, it will be in conformity with the original awareness. Control distracting thoughts with samādhi. Control blankness with prajñā. When activity and stillness both disappear, the act of counteraction will be finished. Then, even while one is in contact with sense-objects, thought after thought returns to the source; even while one is in contact with conditions, every mental state is in conformity with the path. Naturally in all situations, [samādhi and prajñā] are concurrently cultivated until finally one becomes a person without any concerns. When this is so, this then truly can be called maintaining samādhi and prajñā equally and one will have clearly seen the buddha-nature.