Prajna Wisdom

Prajna - transcendental Knowledge, Super Knowledge, Supreme Wisdom

Prajna: Transcendental Wisdom, or a mind that realizes emptiness. Prajna Wisdom is non-dual, non-discriminative naked knowing which is directly in touch with the true nature of reality.






People the world over are always seeking secret or mystical spiritual techniques, hoping they will provide a short cut to enlightenment. There are no special techniques other than the basic principles revealed here. If you turn to the Chrisitian contemplation practices espoused by St Augustine you'll find cessation and contemplation. If you turn to the Jewish Kabbalah, or the self-remembering techniques of Gurdjeff, or even the practices for moral self-improvement advocated by Benjamin Franklin, you'll find cessation / contemplation practices once again. Most of the spiritual practices are based on the principles of stopping (samadhi) and observation (prajna), so if you really wish to master the road of spiritual cultivation, there's no way you can accomplish this feat without understanding the priciples of cessation and contemplation, and applying these in your spiritual sadhana (practice).

p17 - Twenty Five Doors to Meditation, A Handbook for Entering Samadhi, William Bodri & Lee Shu-Mei

The samadhi of mental quiet marks just the very beginning stages of spiritual cultivation, for the ultimate attainment of self-realization requires that we develop transcendental wisdom as well. Transcendental wisdom, or prajna, is that discriminative but completely nonintellectual awareness that empowers us to perceive the true nature of mind.....But ultimately, prajna-transcendental wisdom is the factor we must rely upon for identuifying and learning the enlightenment way. Without prajna-wisdom, you cannot awaken to enlightenment. Prajna Wisdom enables you to recognize the true mind.

pp xiii

Prajna is sanskrit, means literally 'superknowledge'. Here (as listed in 'Five Capacities necessary for the practice of Zogqen) the sense of it is that one must have sufficient capacity of intelligence to understand what one is taught, and sufficient intuitive capacity to see, and enter into, that which is pointed beyond the words of the teachings. This is to enter into wisdom itself.

This prajna is not of course just an intellectual knowledge. As I have often repeated, my master Jyanqub Dorje, for example, never received an intellectual education; yet his wisdom and the qualities that arose from it were nevertheless quite remarkable. He would sit every day in the enclosed courtyard in front of his house to receive those who came to see him for spiritual or medical advice. He had never actually studied medicine, but his medical knowledge had manifested spontaneously from the great clarity that had arisen from his state of contemplation, and such was his skill as a healer that people came from far and wide to be treated by him. I learned about this clarity at first hand through participating in a process that was another extraordinary manifestation of it.

Source: The Crystal and the Way of Light -Sutra, Tantra and Dzogchen, The Teachings of Namkhai Norbu


In order to integrate the bliss realisation into everyday life you need to become an inner scientist - observing without judgement how your mind works in day to day situations. You will soon see the nature of things when you see how your mind blocks and filters reality!

Hence the phrase you see what you want to see, you hear what you want to hear & 'let those who have ears listen'

Know the things that are worthwhile - eternal. Know the right place, purpose and timing of things.

Know the things that you can change. Accept the things you can't.

Become a conscious breather. The more mindful we are in our waking hours the more mindful we will be in our dreams. Experienced Yogi's and spiritual practioners are awake even in their dreams.


Prajna is not merely intellectual intuition or a non-dual wisdom but freedom as well.

Progressive Stages of Meditation on Emptiness by Venerable Tsultrim Gyamsto Rimpoche, Translated & Arranged By Shenpen Hookham


So what is the non-conceptual Wisdom Mind? It is something that one realizes through means other than the conceptual process. One experiences it directly just as it is and any conceptual fabrication obscures it. All the teachings of Mahamudra abd Maha Ati and the whole of the Tantras are about this non-conceptual Wisdom mind and the means of realizing it. For this realization a Guru is absolutely necessary. His realization and the disciples devotion and openess of mind have to meet in such a way that the disciple can experience that non-conceptuakl Wisdom Mind directly. From then on he uses that experience as the basis of his practice, nurturing and fostering it until it becomes clear and stable. Only then can the final, full and perfect realizations occur.

...From the Shentong point of View, the luminopus self-aware non-conceptual mind that is experienced in meditation, when the mind is completely free from concepts, is Absolute Reality, and not a vijnana; vijnana is always samvriti from the SHentong point of view and is not what is found by the supreme Wisdom (prajna) that sees Absolute Reality. When the luminous self-aware, non-conceptual mind that is the Wisdom Mind (Jnana) is realized by the supreme wisdom (prajna) there is no seeing and seen aspect, no realizing and realized aspect to the realization. This is called the Transcendence of Supreme Wisdom (prajnaparamita). It is none other than the non-conceptual Wisdom Mind itself. It is also called the non-dual Wisdom Mind and Dhatu (spacious expanse or element). Elsewhere it is called Dhatu and awareness inseperable, clarity and emptiness inseparable, bliss and emptiness inseparable. It is also called the Dharmara and the Tathagatagarbha.


Non -Conceptual Jnana

As has been mentioned already above, Shentong does not accept that the Wisdom Mind knows in a dualistic way. It does not divide into a knowing and a known aspect, so there is no subtle object of the Wisdom Mind. It is not a stream of moments of awareness. It is completely unbounded and free from all concepts including time and space. Therefore it is primordially existent like its qualities.

Excerpt from Section 'Three Modes of Existence' Shentong

The perfectly existent nature is absolute absence of essence in the sense that it is the absence of essence which is in Absolute; in other words its essence is non-conceptual. The essence of the non-conceptual Wisdom Mind cannot be grasped by the conceptual mind and so, from the point of view of the conceptual mind, it is without essence; from its own point of view it is Absolute Reality.

Thus according to the Shentong interpretation, the Ratnagotravibhaga, Mahayanasutralamkara and Madhyantavibhaga all teach in different terms that the mind's true nature is the non-conceptual Wisdom Mind and that this is the ultimate Absolute Reality.

As long as this is not realized the Clear Light Nature acts as the basis for the impure, mistaken, illusory appearances to manifest. In other words it is the basis for the manifestation of samsara. Once it is realized, it is the basis for pure manifestations, in other words the Buddha Kayas and Buddha Realms, the Mandalas of Tantric Deities and so on.

The Wisdom Mind is both emptiness and luminosity at the same time. The emptiness expresses its non-conceptual nature and the luminosity expresses its power to manifest the impure and pure appearances.

This is the view that links the sutras and the tantras. It is taught in the sutras of the third Wheel of Doctrine and is the basis for all the tantric practices. The latter should be seen as special means for speeding up the realization process. In terms of the view, it is the same as found in the sutras.

Jnani - [one who has realised the self]

Jnana - Knowledge of the Self


Q. How then does the aham-vritti ['I' thought, the sense of individuality] function in the jnani?

A. It does not function in him at all. The jnani's real nature is the Heart itself, because he is one and identical with the undifferentiated, pure consciousness referred to by the Upanishads as the prajnana [full consciousness]. Prajnana is truly Brahman, the absolute, and there is no Brahman other than prajnana.


Q. I see you doing things. How can you say that you never perform actions.

A. A radio sings and speaks, but if you open it you will find no one inside. Similarly, my existence is like the space; though this body speaks like the radio, there is no one inside as a doer.

Q. So it amounts to this. To see a jnani is not to understand him. If you see the jnani's body and not his jnana. One must therefore be a jnani to know a jnani?

A. A jnani sees no one as an ajnani. All are only jnanis in his sight. In the ignorant state one superimposes one's ignorance on a jnani and mistakes him for a doer. In the state of jnana, the jnani sees nothing separate from Self. The Self is all shining and only pure jnana. So there is no ajnana in his sight. There is an illustration for this kind of illusion or superimposition.

Two friends went to sleep side by side. One of them dreamt that both of them had gone on a long journey and that they had had strange experiences. On waking up he recapitulated them and asked his friend if it was not so. The other one simply ridiculed him sayiong that it was only his dream and could not affect the other.

So it is with the ajnani who superimposes his illusory ideas on others.

Q. You have said that the jnani can be and is active, and deals with men and things. I have no doubt about it now. But you say at the same time that he sees no differences; to him all is one, he is always in the consciousness. If so, how does he deal with differences, with men, with things which are surely different?

A. he sees these differences as but appearances, he sees them as not separate from the true, the real, with which he is one.

Q. The jnani seems to be more accurate in his expressions, he appreciates the differences better than the ordinary man.If sugar is sweet and wormwood is bitter to me, he too seems to realise it so. In fact, all forms, all sounds, all tastes, etc., are the same to him as they are to others. If so, how can it be said that these are mere appearances? Do they not form part of his life-experience?

A. I have said that equality is the true sign of jnana. The very term equality implies the existence of differences. It is a unity that the jnani perceives in all differences, which I call equality. Equality does not mean ignorance of distinctions.WHen you have the realisation you can see that these differences are very superficial, that they are not at all substantial and permanent, and what is essential in all these appearances is the one truthm the real. That I call unity. You referred to sound, taste, form, smell, etc. True the jnani appreciates the distinctions, but he always perceives and experiences the one reality in all of them. Whether he moves about, or talks, or acts, it is all the one reality in which he acts or moves or talks. He has nothing apart from the one supreme truth.

Q. They say that the jnani conducts himself with absolute equlity towards all?

A. Yes

Friendship, kindness, happiness, and such other bhavas [attitudes] become natural to them. Affection towards the good, kindness towards the helpless, happiness in doing good deeds, forgiveness towards the wicked, all such things are natural characteristics of the jnani (Patanjali, Yoga Sutras, 1:37)

"Concentrate on intuition and know all things"

Intuition is the process of perceiving directly with the mind. It is backed up by the reasoning faculties.

In order to build intuition, the ability to see cause must be highly developed. Therefore to see the cause of situations and circumstances in your life, begin to examine your thoughts over the past six months. Observe your thoughts as they occur on a daily basis. You will begin to be aware of the trends your thoughts take. The subjects your thoughts tend to dwell upon will reveal themselves to you. You will perceive how your negative and unproductive thoughts create unpleasant occurences in your life and the productive thoughts create pleasant occurences in your life.

Dreams of the Soul, The Yogi Sutras of Patanjali, Daniel R. Condron



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