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The Holy and Blessed
Perfection of Wisdom
in 50 lines

trans: Conze

Thus have I heard at one time.   The Lord dwelt at Rakagrha pm the Vulture Peak, together with a large gathering of monks, and with Sajra, Brahma, and the World Guardians, with gods, nagas, yakshas, gandharvas, asuras, garudas, kinnaras, and mahoragas, and with monks, nuns, laymen and laywomen.

Thereupon, the Lord said to the Venerable Subhuti: "If someone wants to train in Discipleship or Pratyekabuddhahood, they should hear this Perfection of Wisdom, should take it up, bear it in mind, recite and master it.  For from the Budhisattva who is skilled in means have all the dharmas of the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas been brought about.  One should make endeavours in this Perfection of Wisdom.  And why?  The Bodhisattva, the great being, should train and make endeavours therein because all the dharmas of the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas are expounded in detail in this Perfection of wisdom.

"Also, one who wants to train for full enlightenment should hear this perfection of wisdom, should take it up, bear it in mind, recite and master it.  Because from the Bodhisattva who is skilled in means have all the dharmas of the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas been brought about.  One should make endeavours in this perfect wisdom.  Subhuti, whatever wholesome dharmas there are, or dharmas leading to enlightenment, be they Disciple-dharmas, or Pratyekabuddha dharmas, or Bodhisattva dharmas, or Buddha-dharmas, since they are all included in the perfection of wisdom, contained and embodied in it, one should apply oneself diligently to it."

Subhuti Said: "One should. O Lord, train in the perfection of wisdom and make endeavours about it, if one wants to train in Discipleship or Pratyekabuddhahood.  This perfection of wisdom, and all the Buddha-dharmas and Bodhisattva-dharmas should be heard, should be taken up, borne in mind, recited and mastered.  Which then are those wholesome dharmas, or dharmas leading to enlightenment, be they Disciple-dharmas, or Pratyekabuddha-dharmas, or Buddha-dharmas, which are included in the perfection of wisdom, contained and embodied in it, and to which one should diligently apply oneself?"

[perfection of wisdom in a nutshell]

The Lord said: "Subhuti, they are the perfection of giving, the perfection of morality, the perfection of patience, the perfection of vigour, the perfection of meditation, the perfection of wisdom.  Emptiness of the subject, emptiness of the object, the emptiness of emptiness, the great emptiness, the ultimate emptiness, conditioned emptiness, unconditioned emptiness, infinite emptiness, emptiness without beginning or end, the emptiness of non-repudiation, the emptiness of essential original nature, the emptiness of all dharma, the empitness of own-marks, the empitness of non-apprehension, the emptiness of non-existence, the empitness of own-being, the emptiness of the non-existence of own-being, the four applications of mindfulness, the four right efforts, the four bases of psychic power, the five faculties, the five powers, the seven limbs of enlightenment, the Holy eight-fold path, the four Holy truths, the four trances (rupa jhanas?), the four boundless states (arupa jhanas?), the four formless attainments (maggas?), the eight emancipations, the nine successive stations, the doors of emancipation, i.e. emptiness, the signless, the wishless, the superknowleges, the concentrations, all dharani-doors, the ten powers of a Tathagata, the four grounds of self-confidence, the four analytical knowleges, the great friendliness, the great compassion, the eighteen special Buddha-Dharmas, the fruit of a streamwinner, the fruit of a once-returner, the fruit of a never-returner, Arhatship, Pratyekabuddhahood, all-knowlege, the knowlege of the modes of the path, the knowlege of all modes.  Subhuti, these are the wholesome dharmas, or dharmas leading to enlightenment, be they Disciple-Dharmas, or Pratyekabuddha-dharmas, or Bodhisattva Dharmas, which are included in the perfection of wisdom, contained and embodied in it, and to which one should diligently apply oneself. "

Subhuti said: "If, O Lord, these are the wholesome dharmas, the dharmas leading to enlightenment, the Disciple-Dharmas, or Pratyekabuddha-dharmas, or Bodhisattva Dharmas, which are included in the perfection of wisdom, contained and embodied in it, and to which one should apply oneself diligently, then O Lord, aye, alas, it is difficult to get to the bottom of this perfection of wisdom."

The lord said: "Because, Subhuti, the prefection of wisdom is absolutely isolated."

Subhuti said: "Aye, alas!  O Lord, this perfection of wisdom is hard to fathom."

The Lord said: "Because, Subhuti, the perfection of wisdom is absolutely pure."

Subhuti said: "Aye! alas, O Lord, is not the perfection of wisdom like unto space?"

The Lord said: "Because Subhuti, the perfection of wisdom is absolutely clear.  In consequence the perfection of wisdom is like unto space."

Subhuti said: " Alas, alas, O Lord, is not the perfection of wisdom difficult to understand for someone who does not practice?"

The Lord said: "So it is, Subhuti, so it is as you say.  It is not difficult for one to gain confidence in this perfection of wisdom, if he has only limited wholesome roots, is of little mental power, aimless, has learned little, has little wisdom, relies on bad spiritual teachers, has intercourse with bad spiritual teachers, is taken in hand by bad spiritual teachers, is endowed with little faith, a mere beginner, one unworthy, who is not inclined to ask questions, is stupid, lazy, of little vigour, with little power of compassion, of inferior resolve, and unpracticed in the wholesome dharmas.  That is why it is difficult to gain confidence in this perfection of wisdom.  Subhuti, any son or daughter of good family who has heard this deep perfection of wisdom, taken it up, borne it in mind, recited and mastered it, and who explains it in full detail to others, he will obtain the enlightenment of the past, future and present Buddhas and Lords.  Therefore, then, Subhuti, the son or daughter of good family, who is full of resolute intention, who wants to quickly fully know the utmost, right and perfect enlightenment, should constantly hear this perfection of wisdom, take it up, bear it in mind, recite and master it.  Thereby they will fully know the utmost, right, and perfect enlightenment."

Thus spoke the Lord.  Enraptured, the Venerable Subhuti, and those monks and Bodhisattvas, and the whole world with its gods, men, asuras, and gandharvas rejoiced at the Lord's teaching.

 

(Conze, The short Perfection of Wisdom Texts.  Pg 154-6.)
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