Peace (from HSW03 01:14:36.00 - 01:32:13.05)
Therefore, Shariputra, because, for bodhisattvas, there is no attainment, they rest, trusting the perfection of wisdom. With nothing clouding their minds, they have no fear. They leave delusion behind and come to the end of nirvana. [An Arrow to the Heart, p. 3]
This is the last step. And its very interesting, in tradition after tradition of Buddhism you find these same four steps are repeated in different ways. In the mahamudra tradition you have experience is empty, no, experience is mind, mind is empty, emptiness is freedom, freedom is natural presence. That's the basic paradigm of the Kagyu tradition of mahamudra.
In the teachings of Maitreya you have the wise come to know that there is nothing other than mind. And then they come to know that mind itself is not a thing, letting go of even these two knowings. And then they come to know that these two knowings are not things, and letting go of even of this knowing they rest in totality. So another four steps. You find the same thing in dzogchen tradition, over and over again you find this.
Here in the Heart Sutra: Because there is no attainment, they rest trusting the perfection of wisdom. You have to read the Heart Sutra or any of these texts very carefully.
Therefore Shariputra, because for bodhisattvas there is no attainment, they rest, trusting in the perfection of wisdom.
This is one of the meditations we did this morning. When you rest that way, bit by bit your mind becomes clear. With nothing clouding their minds. You leave delusion behind, you even leave the idea of nirvana behind. What is the point of practicing Buddhism? Buddha was asked this during his life. He always replied, "I teach two things. Suffering and the end of suffering." This practice despite some of the vocabulary, is not about truth. We use terms like awakening, freedom but those obscure what it's really about. It's about peace. The end of suffering is peace.
People think and many people practice because they think they're going to get something. I can assure you if you practice properly you're going to get nothing what so ever. But you may conceivably find some peace. Thich Nhat Hahn says this quite well, "If you want to be peaceful, you have to enjoy peace."
There are many parts to this that don't enjoy peace. These are the night visitors, the monsters under the bed, the creatures in the basement. You can't kill them, you can't make them go away, you can't transform them. If you could do any of that stuff you would have taken care if it already. But you can learn how to be with them. In a way that you are at peace. There are very significant things that flow from this. In the words of the Heart Sutra:
All the buddhas of the three times, by trusting this perfection of wisdom, fully awaken in unsurpassable, true, complete awakening.[An Arrow to the Heart, p. 3]
The young boy looked at the emperorAnd cried out, "Is he insane?"
It's one thing to see things as they are
It's another to start a campaign.
[An Arrow to the Heart, p. 104]
With all these fancy, high-sounding words you'd think something special had happened. Or is this a case of my buddhahood is better than your buddhahood?
Does awakening stop you from dying? You can still be shot, poisoned, and if not, you then have to face the inevitable outcome of old age. Does it make you more intelligent? You don't suddenly understand molecular biology, micro-economics, or systems theory. Does it stop you from being harmed? You aren't immune to cancer, strokes, or flu bugs. Does it help you save the world? Good question. The world may pay attention to you or what you have to say- or not. It's unsurpassable because there is nowhere to go. It's true because there is nowhere to hide mistake or error. It's complete because it includes everything you experience. So this complete awakening is simply a way of being fully and completely in our experience. In order to do that, we have to be completely at rest. Which is why you rest trusting the perfection of wisdom. There is only one way to be completely at rest and that is to trust nothing whatsoever. You just rest. And if you rest this deeply, you will perhaps find a way to know peace.