Sunday, October 5, 2008


Originally posted on Peter's blog, The Stupid Way.
Prajna and precepts seem to be two different types of tools. Prajna only has relevance in an immediate, real, situation. Put simplistically, should I do A or B or something else *now*, given this real thing currently in front of my nose? And even that fails to describe it, I think. There is no choosing. Prajna presents the answer immediately, without question, when the "problem" arises.

The precepts play a different role. The precepts are generalisms. With out consideration to an specific real issue in front of you, they guide how you should head. They are (sorry, gotta try being absolute here just to see if it feels right) never ever appropriate for figuring out your path through an immediate real thing in front of your nose. In that case stop, meditate (even for a second), and see what the real right answer is that maybe prajna will reveal. (well, maybe that is too absolute, but still has the right flavor, I think).

I don't think I could trust a teacher who never got angry, who did not curse, or was never petty, or sad, or such at some point, in some way....or even if they really 'had it together', if they say people that exhibit such 'real' behavior, are not on the right path or such, I could not trust them.

Buddhism has no rank. These titles of Master, roshi, whatever, are social terms, not real terms. That is to say, a cat is a cat, a dog is a dog, and a person is a person. That's it. To say, "he should not be listened to because of x,y,z" .....

Damn, that ain't quite it...

There is no final. right stage in buddhism, I believe as far as relativistic, observed behavior goes. I'm guessing the final stage of buddhism is to act always out of prajna rather than checking a list of rules before each action you take. A person acting out of prajna, or striving to, may seem, at times, angry, or cussing, or rude, or extremely nice. One could say "what is he, he is angry, anger is bad, he is bad" or one could strive to see if the anger, or cussing or rudeness, bore (to borrow a Christian metaphor) good fruit.

As a new father I find that a "rule" I give my daughter one day for one situation may be entirely appropriate, but she can turn it into a justification for something really inappropriate the next day. Though this does mean I need better skills at rule making, it also has taught me that I must teach my daughter to make relative (prajna-esque) type decisions, not to operate from absolute rules.

Dogs howl to warn of danger. That is buddha-nature. If people 'howl' to warn of danger, that could be buddha-nature, or it could be rudeness and anger. Only our own prajna can guide us.

If I personally judge based only on precepts I believe I am headed down the wrong path.


1 comment:

Peter said...


Nice to see your blogging again.