Buddhism in Plain Terms

How To Realise Your Innate Primordial Wisdom?

< Buddhism in Plain Terms < 白话佛法共修分享    

🌟 Wisdom is not intellect or knowledge; 

🌟 Wisdom is our inherent nature; 

🌟 Wisdom is the key to liberation from suffering.

🌟 Wisdom is also a scarce resource in this day and age. As a result, it has become a norm for people and nations to mire in strife, at the slightest provocation. 

🌱 Do you know that when you’re caught up in the usual ego games and struggles, when you’re absorbed in your self-interests and agendas, it feeds and perpetuates ego-fixation and you will lose wisdom. But, when that same energy is less tethered to ego and without personal agendas, that is WISDOM!

 🌱 Master Lu said, “When a person can attain a state that resembles that of Manjusri Bodhisattva, where wisdom abounds, all worldly things will become trivial to him”

Manjusri Bodhisattva, who is widely known for His great wisdom, is one of the Four Great Bodhisattvas along with Guan Yin Bodhisattva, Samantabhadra Bodhisattva and Ksitigarbha Bodhisattva.

As we commemorate the Birthday Day of Manjusri Bodhisattva on 11 May, let us immerse ourselves in more insights shared by our revered Master Lu as to where and how wisdom can be found.



Master Jun Hong Lu: The validation of the Dharma requires the quietness and the stillness of your heart; only when a person is in quietude, can he feel the presence of the Buddha in his heart and the wisdom of his inherent nature.

Source: Master Jun Hong Lu’s Buddhism In Plain Terms, Episode 100,  4 July 2020



Question: What should we do to achieve a more profound, higher and stricter level of discipline? How can a state of absolute discipline be attained?

Answer: To gain wisdom and the power of concentration, one must observe the precepts.The level of wisdom that one gains is in proportion to their strictness on discipline. Lacking discipline makes the attainment of wisdom and concentration impossible.

On the same note, only through observing the discipline of Bodhisattva can one gain the wisdom of a Bodhisattva. To reiterate, the level of wisdom and concentration one gains is directly proportional to the amount of effort one puts into disciplining oneself.

Hence, in The Three Studies (三学) of Buddhism:

Precepts, Concentration and Wisdom (戒定慧); all three studies are absolutely necessary.

Source: Wenda20160327B 24:04, Master Jun Hong Lu’s call-in radio program



Caller: Master, you often advise that to increase our wisdom (增长智慧), we need to perform recitation. However, wisdom is such a broad concept. When people of different levels of cultivation hear you say, “You need to recite the Buddhist scriptures to increase your wisdom”, they may grasp the meaning of wisdom differently. Please enlighten us on the different levels of wisdom and is it true that the elevation of one’s wisdom is an incremental progress (一个一个台阶地走)?

Master Jun Hong Lu: As a matter of fact, there are worldly wisdom (人间智慧), Buddha’s wisdom (佛的智慧) and the wisdom of Bodhisattvas (菩萨的智慧). Conceptually, wisdom can be roughly summed up as an attribute that exceeds one’s normal ability to cope with society. Doing what it takes to survive in society is not wisdom.

Let me give you an example. What do you think are the fundamental dispositions and characteristics of humans (人的粗略概念)? When we are hungry, we eat, right? But we need to see what we feed ourselves on. Do we go for nutritious or junk food? If, for instance, I say that you are a person with wisdom, the question is, which level of wisdom are you in? A student level of wisdom merely means you are good at your studies. But what about us? The kind of wisdom that can help us break free from the six realms of rebirth is completely different.

The Chinese character (“智”) (zhi) means to ‘progress forward’ while the character (“慧”) (hui) is ‘to understand when to retreat and to guard oneself’.  Therefore, a person with wisdom, is someone who is competent in advancing and retreating; one who is able to hold his ground as well as charge forward (一进一退) – a person whose heart is in perfect harmony (心中圆融).

A person who achieves a perfect harmony of the heart has the capability to move forward as well as retreat. For a family to sustain itself, when the husband loses his temper, the wife must be patient. Similarly, when the wife is angry, the husband must be tolerant. One is humble and the other modest (一谦一让). Sometimes, they remind one another, at other times, they take on a different role. All these call forth wisdom.

This type of wisdom relies on your ability to continuously improve upon your initial views (不断地提升自己的原有看法). For example, your initial opinion has caused you to fail in a certain task. When you upgrade your thoughts and you go, “I should not do this next time”, in this instance, wisdom is gained. Unfortunately, many people stubbornly insist on their ways, as characterised by the Chinese proverb, ‘A pig that charges towards the south wall with no turning back (猪撞南墙不回头)’. 

They go, “I suffered but I am still going to do the same”; “I can never control my bad temper, so I will look for a woman who will submit to me”, so on and so forth. In the end not a single woman can stay in a relationship with him for a prolonged period. Only by transforming yourself can you gain wisdom, do you understand? 

Caller: I understand. Thank you, Master.

Source: Shuohua20161028 13:54, Master Jun Hong Lu’s call-in radio program




Master Jun Hong Lu:

Whether you are a Buddhist practitioner who wishes to be free from all the life shackles or to become a Buddha, you need to have an experiential understanding of Prajna Wisdom (都必须要证悟般若智慧). Prajna Wisdom is both noble and supreme (高尚、无上的智慧). It is the wisdom of the Bodhisattva. If you wish to be awakened today, you need to have wisdom. If you wish to become a Buddha, you need wisdom too. What’s more, you need to own it.

All of you are sitting here today, if you do not have wisdom, you will not do well in your spiritual cultivation. What is wisdom? Cleverness is not wisdom. Cleverness is the ability to take advantage of others or to think of a solution to a problem. Wisdom, on the other hand, is able to resolve problems; it is accommodating (圆融) and all-embracing (包容). 

To have an experiential understanding of Prajna Wisdom, it must be combined with a heart of renunciation (结合出离心), as only then can you taste the fruit of liberation (得到解脱之果).

What is a heart of renunciation (出离心)? This is when you know:  “I have come to this world and I know the day will come when I will have to depart. I know very well that nothing in this world truly belongs to me and I am fine with that. The fame I am enjoying now is not mine, neither is the fortune. There is simply nothing that I truly own. There will come a day when I leave this world, though the day has not arrived and I am still physically here, but my heart has left. Hence, I will not be vexed by anything”. This is what it means by a heart of renunciation.

Source: Master Jun Hong Lu’s Buddhism In Plain Terms, Volume 8 Chapter 37




Master Jun Hong Lu: We must ‘renounce evil and turn to virtue’ (弃恶从善) by discarding all things that are evil, while keeping all the wholesome things in our hearts. On top of this, we should also be unceasing in performing all things that are virtuous. 

If you wish to perform a kind deed today, you must be relentless in your quest so that you can transcend from an ordinary being to a sage (转凡成圣). By performing wholesome deeds, you are essentially renouncing all forms of evil and this is when you are transforming the mortal heart of yours into one that is sagely. With this, you will be liberated from mental afflictions (解脱烦恼). 

If all of us are working towards freeing ourselves from our worries, transcending ourselves from an ordinary being to a sage and, renouncing evil and turning to virtue, the Saha World (娑婆世界) will transition from darkness to brightness. It will be untainted and pure. 

With only one person performing a little kind deed in this world, the impact on this world can barely be felt. Conversely, if everyone comes together to perform kind deeds, we will create a wonderful world through this collective effort.

Source: Master Jun Hong Lu’s Buddhism In Plain Terms, Volume 8 Chapter 3





Master Jun Hong Lu: To seek wisdom, one must do so from a state of selflessness and altruism (要从无我无私当中去求智慧). If you pray to Bodhisattva without any notion of self, self-interests or any distracting thoughts, you will gain wisdom. Think about it, those who always think about the well being of others, will have wisdom. Conversely, those who only have self-interests at heart will lose wisdom.  

One’s  greater self (大“我”) is lost when one is dominated by a lesser self (小“我”). This is because when you have a lesser self in mind, there will be no room for the greater self. Similarly, when you love others selflessly, you are awakened to your  greater self and hence, your lesser self is eradicated. 

A good doctor is one who only thinks about the well-being of sentient beings. On the flip side, a person who only thinks about saving himself, how is it possible for him to be able to help others?  

Source: Master Jun Hong Lu’s Buddhism In Plain Terms, Volume 8 Chapter 11



Master Jun Hong Lu: Always think and give rise to perfect wisdom in your heart. Ask yourself, “Why is it that others are capable of doing so and not me? Why is it that others are able to achieve perfection in the things they do and not me? You should think, “As a Buddhist practitioner, in all my endeavours I am willing to bring them to a perfect outcome (变成圆满的) ”. If you constantly think like this, a type of perfect wisdom will arise in your heart. 

This can be likened to a child who strongly believes that he can complete his assignment, regardless of how difficult it is. Conversely, if a student is already anxious before he even starts doing it, and he keeps thinking, “Would I be able to manage today’s assignment? What if it turns out to be  something that I don’t understand?” By now, when the teacher hands out the assignment, somehow he will not be able to do it. It may even be a topic that he has learnt before, but he would have problems doing it because he lacks self-confidence. The loss of  self-confidence will result in the loss of one’s original nature. Where there is no original nature, how can you find self-confidence?

This highlights the importance of being awakened to the truth of emptiness. It is when you tell yourself, “I can confirm the truth and I am fully aware that our mind and natures are inherently empty, that is, they are non-existent. So, what is the specific manifestation of emptiness? It is compassion. A compassionate person spares no thought for himself as his sense of self is void. He is a gentle person who is ready to make peace with others. Such a person  will not harbour any selfishness at heart.    

A person of humility has no ego. As he respects everyone without any notion of self, he is a happy person; it is when he forgets about himself, he gets a taste of  happiness. Instead, if you are so filled with selfishness and you are full of selfish thoughts such as, 

“How am I doing today?”

“How will I be doing tomorrow?”,

“What have I gained from this thing that I did today? I am not happy at all because I gain nothing out of it!”,

“I have been kind to others today and yet my kindness is not reciprocated.”

And you are saddened again. With this mentality, there is no way that you would be happy. This is because selfishness is the thief of joy. 

Source: Master Jun Hong Lu’s Buddhism In Plain Terms, Volume 8 Chapter 11



Master Jun Hong Lu: You need to view the liberation of all sentient beings as that of your own. In other words, your effort to help others is in itself self-help and self-liberation.

Many mothers tell their children, “Be careful of what you eat. You must remember not to jaywalk”. After saying this, and when these mothers themselves are about to jaywalk, they will immediately think, “No. I can’t do this. I have just told my kids not to do so, right?” Don’t you think you have set yourself free from all these bad habits? Furthermore, when you are always helping others, you are in reality motivating yourself. This is a thought that bounces back to you when you help others which, in a way, you are also helping yourself. Do you understand?      

For example, to explain this principle to you, I must first understand it myself, only then can I share it with you. Assuming today, I explain the intricacies of Little House to you, how would I be able to do so if I am completely clueless about what Little House is all about? Do you even think that it is possible for me to help others? Conversely, if you are able to explain to others about the recitation of Little House, don’t you think you will also stand to gain a better knowledge about Little House

Source: Master Jun Hong Lu’s Buddhism In Plain Terms, Volume 8 Chapter 11



1. The Wisdom of Perfect Conduct (成所作智)

Your eyes see this world of forms, ears hear sounds, nose smells the fragrance, the tongue tastes and there’s sensation in the body when it is being touched. When these senses coincide with ignorance, (与无明相应) you will then act according to what your affinities dictate (依照缘分).

In cultivating ‘The Wisdom of Perfect Conduct’ (成所作智), it doesn’t mean that you turn a blind eye or to deliberately ignore the world around you. Instead, in dealing with whatever you encounter, you think and act based on your wisdom (智慧的思维、行为).

Note: When you examine and realise that all phenomena go through the four states of formation, existence, destruction and emptiness (成住坏空) you have ‘The Wisdom of Perfect Conduct’.

It is through this wisdom that Bodhisattva wishes to enlighten us about the reality that all things are equal in this world (一切都是平等).


2. The Wisdom of Profound Insight (妙观察智)

The Wisdom of Profound Insight is the wisdom you apply before your line of thought is formed.

With your skillful wisdom, you observe and see right through the root of all matters and the advancing of affinities in this world.

Like what I have mentioned earlier, when you examine and realise that all phenomena go through the four states of formation, existence, destruction and emptiness (成住坏空) you have ‘The Wisdom of Perfect Conduct’. ‘The Wisdom of Profound Insight’, on the other hand, is when you observe, analyse and compare the phenomena in this world and the concepts you form are not imaginary, illusory nor built on assumptions. 


3. The Wisdom of Universal Equality (平等性智)

Due to our attachment to our notion of self (我执), we are not able to appreciate others. With this ego, we develop either a kind of arrogance (骄傲) or inferiority complex (自卑心). At other times, you may desire to gain control, ‘save-face’ (要面子) or take great pride in yourself (要虚荣), etc.

It is not possible to transform these falsehoods into wisdom; it is through eliminating these absurd graspings (妄执) that one gains ‘The Wisdom of Universal Equality’.


4. The Perfect Mirror-Like Wisdom (大圆镜智)

‘The Perfect Mirror-Like Wisdom’ is attained when the earlier seven consciousness are purified and the eighth consciousness begins to go into a state of meditative concentration (禅定).

The first few types of wisdom mentioned earlier are exceptional as they encompass generosity (布施), morality (持戒), patient endurance (安忍), diligence (精进), meditative concentration (禅定), skillfulness (方便善巧) which constantly purify the seeds in the seventh and eighth consciousness.

The wisdom in the eighth consciousness (‘The Perfect Mirror-Like Wisdom’) has unlimited potential that is able to eliminate those unwholesome thoughts accordingly, and bring forth the magnificent, infinite wisdom that can be put to skilful use (庄严、无量妙用的智慧).

The first step towards attaining ‘The Perfect Mirror-Like Wisdom’ is: To do away with the attachment to one’s view (破除我见), purify the mind that does not dwell on the worldly appearances, sound, smell, taste, touch, and phenomena (色声香味触法). This is when your sense of discrimination is purified.

Gradually, you will gain ‘The Wisdom of Universal Equality’ (平等性智), ‘The Wisdom of Profound Insight’ (妙观察智), ‘The Wisdom of Perfect Conduct’ (成所作智), you are able to guide your own behaviour and transform those human emotions (人间的情感) through the application of wisdom.

In fact, these four kinds of wisdom taught by the Bodhisattva are inherent in us. Unfortunately, we do not put them to good use or practice. Hence, as they gradually dissipate, we fall into a state of confusion (迷惑).

_Source: Master Jun Hong Lu’s Buddhism In Plain Terms (Radio Program), 23 November 2017



< Buddhism in Plain Terms < 白话佛法共修分享