PRAJNA: The sixth of the Six Paramitas (perfections) in the Buddhist concept of the Bodhisattva path. It is referred to as wisdom or understanding that is capable of extinguishing afflictions and bringing about Enlightenment. Simply stated, it is the field of pure consciousness beyond concepts, beliefs and imaginations.
In Mahayana and Vajrayana traditions, Prajna means the realization of the emptiness of all phenomenal existence. At this stage (Bodhisattva path), the individual would have reached the stage of sainthood and could have entered Nirvana if he so wished. However, out of compassion, this entry is prolonged and deferred to a time when all suffering beings have already been led towards enlightenment. Prajna is therefore balanced by Karuna (compassion) which is the part and parcel of the conception of wisdom. This motivates the perfection of wisdom which is the conceptualization of the first five qualities of the Six Paramitas (giving, morality, patience, vigor, meditation).(see)
The Prajna-paramita Sutras of the Mahayanas, such as the Heart Sutra and the Diamond Sutra, describes it as supreme, highest, incomparable, unequalled, and unsurpassed essence. Both traditions focuses a lot on "emptiness" while meditating.
For the Theravada Buddhists, Prajna means to gain an intuitive understanding of the Four Noble Truths, Dependent Origination and the Law of Karma. Insight or Vipassana Meditation, like the other traditions, is the means to attain such wisdom. Through diligent practice, the meditation reveals the inherent suffering, impermanence and absence of self in all phenomena thus leading one to see reality.
THE THREE STAGES OF PRAJNA
The Mahayanas are believed to be the first to effectively conceptualize the Prajna. There are three levels of Prajnas related to the practice of the Four Foundations of Mindfulness [i.e., 1.) the body, 2.) feelings, 3.) minds, and 4.) mental objects]. This Prajna of mindfulness is a three-stage process of development in the path of Buddhism the Prajna of listening; the Prajna of contemplating; and the Prajna of meditation.
- Prajna of Listening
The first stage, the Prajna of listening or studying the Dharma is totally dependent on conceptual mind, on communication, language and form. In this stage of hearing, listening, or studying, one is believed to develop the Prajna of understanding.
- Prajna of Contemplating
The second stage, the Prajna of contemplating, is what a person goes through the process of internalizing that received knowledge and understanding. In this stage, one is believed to have completely absorbed and understood the Buddha's teachings that one becomes a living reference to the teachings.
- Prajna of Meditation
The third stage, the Prajna of meditation is marked by the development of realization. Also known as the stage of "resting meditation", one is believed go beyond conceptual meditation and rest in the actual state of non-dual experience. This is considered as the realization of the genuine Prajna of realization which helps in the development of Mindfulness, and thus finally the development of the stage of awareness.
These according to the Sutta-Satipatthana are the Buddha's teachings on the Four Foundations of Mindfulness, for attaining purity, overcoming suffering, and the realization of Nirvana.
AND NOW THIS:
"Buddhism teaches that after a practitioner achieves a certain degree of realization, spiritual power develops. A person at the level of an Arhat is said to possess six supernatural powers. Furthermore, it is acknowledged as well that supernatural powers are not attainable exclusively JUST by Buddhists and Buddhists only. It is possible for anyone who has deep religious and spiritual cultivation to develop some kind of 'super-normal powers.'"
NAGARJUNA: The Treatise on the Great Perfection of Wisdom (Dharmamitra Translation)
Anyone who finds themselves pursuing a casual to serious interest in Buddhism and Zen, especially so those seeking insights into spiritual Enlightenment a la Buddha and any relationship that exists thereof, it isn't long before they come face-to-face with some of the more esoteric aspects found in both religions, such as, for example, the super-normal perceptual states known as Siddhis, the mysterious hermitage said to exist somewhere beyond time in a remote area of the Himalayas known under a variety of names such as Gyanganj, Shambhala or Shangri-La, or the ability to fly.
Even though Buddhism and Zen are found to be deeply seeped in all three concepts, those who encounter one or the other individually or all, especially seekers on the path with a strong western background, although they may like the idea, they are usually uncomfortable with a formal acceptance of any possibility of reality for any or all, and quickly relegate or disregard such ideas into areas of forced silence.
The revered Indian spiritual teacher Sri H. W. L. Poonja (1910-1997), also known as Poonjaji or Papaji, a master in his own right, is considered in religious circles as the foremost disciple, devotee, follower or advocate of the Bhagavan Sri Ramana Maharshi.
Anybody who holds themselves up to be anybody in the present day Advaita Vedanta come Enlightenment movement a la Ramana, but too young or not born in time to have studied under Ramana, had to have at one time bellied up to Poonja in some fashion or the other in order to flaunt their credibility. Regardless of his latter day followers and any credibility they may or may not radiate, Poonja himself was the real thing. The quote below is from his biography. He was not some ancient saint who somebody said somebody said they saw something, but a modern day personage that reported the following:
"In the last forty years or so I have met thousands of sadhus, swamis, gurus, etc. I have been to Kumbha Melas which millions of pilgrims attended; I have been to many of the big ashrams in India; I have toured the Himalayas, meeting many reclusive hermits there; I have met yogis with great siddhis, men who could actually fly."
The Buddha is quite clear on the level of Attainment and criteria that MUST be met in order successfully set into motion such actions. A person cannot simply sit down meditating for a few minutes and then find themselves with the ability to fly off, for example, to someplace like the mysterious hermitage said to exist somewhere beyond time in a remote area of the Himalayas known under a variety of names such as Gyanganj, Shambhala or Shangri-La, re the following:
"The Buddha said 'If a monk should frame a wish as follows: 'Let me travel through the air like a winged bird,' then must he be perfect in the precepts (Sila), bring his thoughts to a state of quiescence (Samadhi), practice diligently the trances (Jhana), attain to insight (Prajna) and be frequenter to lonely places.'"
SIDDHIS: Supernormal Perceptual States
Simply put, for the practitioner to have the ability to fly he must be perfect in the precepts of Sila, Samadhi, Jhana, and Prajna. If the practitioner is not perfect in any one or all, no flying.
This page is on Prajna. When you are perfect in it's precepts move on to:
The past several years has seen a proliferation of smartphone meditation apps come on the market, all designed in such a way to ease, assist, familiarize, and put into use meditation techniques for almost anybody interested in learning and implementing the various ins-and-outs of meditation, at least as the manufacturers of the apps view meditation.
Beyond the manufacturers advertisement and promotions, for every page that shows up on the internet or elsewhere in support of using the apps, there is an equal number of pages knocking their use. What the knocking their use people are selling varies, but the in support folk seem to be in line with the app builders and promoters because if nothing else, the apps sell --- and sell big time, especially so the two top brands, Headspace and Calm.
People use all kinds of things to enhance or increase their ability to accomplish things. They wear glasses to improve the clarity of their physical vision. Some use dental implants and dentures to chew, eat, or look better. The same for the use of prosthetics, crutches, canes, or wheelchairs. They help people get things done and walk or move about who otherwise might not be able to. But, if glasses to read or see aren't needed, or implants or dentures, or canes, crutches, or wheelchairs, why use them? Initially, with meditation, other than a coming to know what meditation is and what it can do if you do it, nothing much than the desire to do so and then doing it is required Painting legs on a snake doesn't make it walk any better. Electronically painting photon-pushing meditation legs to swath your synapses with trompe l'oeil may be for some, better than nothing. However, and this is one of the biggest however's ever, it is that better than nothing that makes it not, not nothing, the goal of meditation.
THE SUTRA OF THE 6th PATRIARCH, HUI NENG: Chapter II, On Prajna
FALSE GURU TEST
As to the subject of donations, for those of you who may be interested in doing so as it applies to the gratefulness of my works, I invariably suggest any funds be directed toward THE WOUNDED WARRIOR PROJECT and/or THE AMERICAN RED CROSS.
(source) BUDDHISM CONCEPTS (July 28, 2007)