The Essential Scripture...


The Essential Scriptures of the Buddha and Patriarchs

Secrets on Cultivating the Mind

Section 30

Question: According to your assessment, during the cultivation that follows awakening, there are two types of samādhi and prajñā that are to be maintained equally: first, the [absolute] samādhi and prajñā of the self-nature; second, the [relative] samādhi and prajñā that adapts to signs. The self-nature approach was said to mean, “Naturally in all situations he will be calm and aware. . . . He is inherently spontaneous. . . . There are no sense-objects with which to come in contact. Why would he need to bother with efforts at effacement? He has not a single thought that creates passion, so he need not make a pretense of forgetting all conditioning.” Your assessment was that this was the sudden school adept’s equal maintenance of samādhi and prajñā that never leaves the self-nature. The [relative] approach that adapts signs was said to mean, “Stay in accord with principle to absorb distraction . . . [and] investigate dharmas critically and contemplate their voidness. . . . [One] subdues both dullness and agitation and one thereby will access the unconditioned.” But your assessment was that this was the practice for those of inferior faculties in the gradual school. We are not yet free of doubts about these two approaches to samādhi and prajñā.