Buddhism in Plain Terms

Buddhism in Plain Terms | The Six Paramitas | Perfections of Meditative Concentration & Wisdom | 12 Sep 2020

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

Time : Saturday 2pm-4.15pm
Platform : ZOOM Cloud Meeting
Topic of Discussion : The Six Paramitas (Part 4) | Perfections of Meditative Concentration & Wisdom


On 12 September 2020, Guan Yin Citta, Singapore held yet another online Buddhism in Plain Terms (BIPT) Group Study (in English) that focused on the Perfections of Meditative Concentration, and Wisdom, which neatly rounds up our study of the Six Paramitas.

As elucidated during the session, both Perfections are closely linked, and come in handy when considering the daily distractions that challenge one’s ability to remain calm as they can equip one with the wisdom to resolve day-to-day problems. Thus, this discussion depicted just how grounded Buddhism theories can be to real life.

Unknown to many, Meditative Concentration – commonly known as ZEN – is about simplicity. When one’s mind is uncomplicated and behaviour unassuming, one will possess great power of concentration. As Master Lu once said, it is in quietude that wisdom is nourished. Hence, the wisdom-mind of Buddhist friends were nurtured from the serenity of group study.

The facilitator then highlighted that wisdom will naturally arise when one has developed the Power of Concentration; both of which are in proportion to one’s strictness towards discipline.

Master Lu once revealed, ‘In The Three Studies of Buddhism, Precepts, Concentration and Wisdom, all are absolutely necessary’. Participants learnt more about the four types of Wisdom – the Wisdom of Perfect Conduct, the Wisdom of Profound Insight, the Wisdom of Universal Equality, and the Perfect Mirror-Like Wisdom

The session concluded with an enriching exercise where participants re-ran through the keypoints acquired over past three sessions, where the other four Perfections were presented. There was vibrant involvement from the floor, and many Buddhist friends were gratified by the multitude of ‘aha’ moments of the series.


Let us now look at some comments from participants:

“This series sent a very good reminder to me that by practicing Six Paramitas, we are able to transcend beyond the six realms of rebirth. I will persistently cultivate myself and improve my spiritual cultivation. I deeply feel that is not done solely through performing recitation, but we also need to join the right group of people as well as read Buddhism In Plain Terms to improve our knowledge of Buddhism.”

Understanding the Six Paramitas exposes many of my flaws and weaknesses in terms of my current state of spiritual cultivation. It made me realise that in order to achieve real progress and to attain spiritual growth, I must genuinely embrace the precepts as my foundation in my Buddhist practice.


? Join us in our next session 
Please contact Loh SX (96978356) / Woan Yi SX (82182248) for more information


 ⏰ Date and time:
Saturday 19 Sep 2020 (2.oopm – 4.00pm)


Please click here to download the Summary Slides shared during the Group Study:

BHFF_Summary_Six Paramita_Part4_120920


< The Perfection of Meditative Concentration >

Common Terminologies used: 禅定

  • Meditative Concentration
  • Power of Concentration
  • Meditation
  • Concentration
  • Focused Mind
  • Calmness
  • Zen


Master Jun Hong Lu’s related discourses (cross references):


< Meaning of Meditative Concentration >
Buddhism in Plain Terms Episode 100 – An Excerpt


Only in calmness you realize the movement of your mind and what is in your thoughts.Sometimes when you managed to calm down,you will wonder, “Why did I think this way? Why do I have such ridiculous thoughts? How can I think so badly of him?” And you will feel so ashamed of yourself. That’s because you have gained wisdom.

Hence, the validation of the Dharma requires the quietness and the stillness of your heart; only when a person is in quietude, he can feel the presence of theBuddha in his heart and the wisdom of his inherent nature.



< Meaning of Meditative Concentration (i): The Word “ZEN” >
Master Jun Hong Lu’s Public Talk (Q&A Session), Paris, France – 6 Sep2019

Meditative Concentration is about being simple. The simpler you are, the better your power of concentration will be. The Chinese word “Zen” has the character of a “person” standing;  with the character “simple” next to it – which means “The Power of Concentration is achieved when a person focuses on keeping things simple”in life.



< Meaning of the Word “Meditative” and “Concentration” (ii) >
Master Jun Hong Lu’s Public Talk Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia – 24 December 2016

Some people are very calm by nature. They are very peaceful and prudent in their speech and behavior. If you ask such a person: “Is that right?” He will say, “Amitofo” and that’s it. Just like when you ask a monk, “Master, is this right?” , and he will answer “Amitofo.”

At home if your husband says, “Let’s see, who is right and who is wrong on this.” If you don’t wish to offer your view, just say, “Amitofo”. 

People like this are very stable and even-tempered. And, that’s because they have practised meditation in their previous life.

The word “Meditative” (禅) refers to Wisdom, whereas the word “Concentration” (定) refers to the body, together it means to apply wisdom to allow the body to reach a meditative state.

It is different from someone who tries to restrain himself, “I must not be angry. I must calm down… I must calm down..”. This is because there is no wisdom in the latter.


< What does Meditative Concentration mean? (iii): The Nourishment for Wisdom >
Master Jun Hong Lu’s Public Talk Brisbane, Australia 8 June 2019

Buddhism requires us to keep our minds calm and peaceful (安静和平静) as it is inquietude that the mind and wisdom are nourished(静能养心、静能养慧). A quiet person is a wise person.

Take a look at those leaders and managers, they are all silent people. Hence, they possess wisdom.

You can see in the store, only the employees would quarrel with the customers whereas the manager will immediately say: “I’m sorry… Please calm down… No problem, we will help you settle it.” This is how calm they are.

Therefore, Zen (禅) is when one is detached from all external appearances, while Meditative Concentration (禅定) is when one is able to be calm and settled.


< What does Meditative Concentration mean? (iv): Zen is Easy, really? >
Master Jun Hong Lu’s Public Talk Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia – 28 August 2017

People who practise Meditative Concentration (禅定), though they eat and sleep the same way as the non-practitioners, they are different from them. Once a laity asked a Zen master:

Laity, “Master, do you practise meditation?”

Zen Master, “Yes, I do.”

Laity, “What method do you use?”

Zen Master, “Eat when you are hungry, and sleep when you are sleepy.” 

Laity, “Everybody does the same. Does that mean that they are the same as you??”

Zen Master, “No.” 

Laity, “Why?”

Zen Master, “Because when they eat, they are not really eating. Instead they are thinking about various problems and they are troubled and disturbed. When they sleep, they are not really sleeping. Instead, they are dreaming and brooding over things. Hence, they are different from us who practise meditative concentration.”

Buddhist practitioners should focus their thoughts (念归一处).

When you eat, eat well. You can do the thinking after the meal. When you sleep, sleep well. Don’t think too much. Otherwise, you won’t sleep well. Some people when they eat, they think of chanting; when they chant, they think of sleeping; when they sleep, they have loads of distracting thoughts.

They fail in cultivating their minds, their mind is in such a mess that they can’t even have a good night’s sleep.

When the mind is scattered, the soul is incomplete;

When the mind is focused, Wisdom is complete.


< What does Meditative Concentration mean? (v): The Basis for Firm Willpower >
Wenda20180722A 00:53 (Master Jun Hong Lu’s call-in radio program)

Do you know how mighty the Power of Concentration (定力) is?

A person with such power can even move mountains! In fact, the basis for one’s firm willpower (意志), steady line of thoughts (思维), resolute ideals (理想) and firm beliefs (信心) is their Power of Concentration.

will power


< What does Meditative Concentration mean? (vi): A Big Heart >
Master Jun Hong Lu’s Public Talk (Q & A Session), Paris, France – 6 September 2019

Question: Is there any relationship between having a big heart(心量大) and one’s power of concentration (禅定)? Is it true that it is easier for a  person with a big heart to settle down when they chant as they have less distracting thoughts (杂念)?

Answer: This is 70% accurate. A person with a big heart is able to let go. Take a look at those around you – those who are big-hearted even live longer lives!

Unfortunately, many people just don’t understand – they just can’t get over all the unpleasant things that happened in the past, how others had upset them, all the unhappy memories and how they used to be in the past. Do you think such a person is able to achieve a state of meditative concentration?


< What does Meditative Concentration mean? (vii): “One Mind Undisturbed” >
Master Jun Hong Lu’s Public Talk (Q & A Session), Paris, France – 6 September 2019

Meditation is a practice method that can easily go wrong if it is performed without skills. Master do not recommend you to practise meditation, but you need to understand how it works.

The highest state of meditation is to reach a state of “One Mind Undisturbed”. (一心不乱)

Many people sit in meditation, but their minds are more disoriented (心乱) than when they are not sitting.

People who often sleep and are drowsy are not good spiritual practitioners. A true spiritual practitioner should not have more than eight hours of sleep. The monks in the temple basically do not sleep for more than 6 hours. This is because one’s wisdom gradually wears down during sleep. Hence, people who often sleep do not have wisdom; just like how overweight people are relatively unwise.



< The Perfection Of Wisdom 般若波罗蜜 >

Common Terminologies used: 般若

  • Prajna Wisdom
  • Wisdom


Master Jun Hong Lu’s related discourses (cross references):


< How to Gain Wisdom (i): Observe Moral Discipline (a) >
Wenda20160327B 24:04 (Master Jun Hong Lu’s call-in radio program)

Whenyouadheretotheprecepts, your mind will become more easily controlled, enabling you to develop the Power of Concentration (心定得下来). With the development of concentration, wisdom will arise.

When you perform recitation, you are relying on the Bodhisattva to bless you with wisdom.  Though so, if you do not observe the precepts and abstain from committing unwholesome acts(戒不掉), the Bodhisattva will not be able to grant you the wisdom you need. 

Reciting scriptures may not be able to help you directly to think something through immediately (不是直接能够让你马上想通).

Instead, it works by channelling us to some other means (通过一个关系) to solve our issues.

Just like Guan Yin Bodhisattva will help us find a good doctor to treat us when we are ill.



< How to Gain Wisdom (i): Observe Moral Discipline (a) >
Wenda20160327B 24:04 (Master Jun Hong Lu’s call-in radio program)

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

Answer: 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.


< How to Gain Wisdom (ii): Through Sincere Cultivation >
Buddhism in Plain Terms Volume 11 Chapter 29

Many people say, “I don’t have any karmic obstacles.” That is impossible, as karmic obstacles follow and never leave us. For those who do not practise Buddhism, karmic obstacles will only build up day after day. This explains why some people suffer from deteriorating health. 

We should repent of our karmic obstacles. Recitation of Buddhist scriptures can help to eliminate a lot of karmic obstacles provided that no new ones are committed, only then one is able to experience an increase in wisdom and blessings. That said, a person with hefty karmic obstacles will generally diminish in wisdom and tends not to be able to think clearly. This is an important point to note.

So, how can we reduce our karmic obstacles? 

The best method is to guard our actions, speech and thoughts and avoid accumulating new negative karma.

We should not allow our karmic obstacles to continue growing or to grow too speedily because if they do, we will be unable to receive the blessings from Bodhisattva and Dharma Protectors. This is because hefty karmic obstacles will hinder one’s wisdom life (障碍了你的慧命). Hence, they are something that should be kept under control.


< How to Gain Wisdom (iii): Through Eliminating Bad Habits >
Buddhism in Plain Terms Volume 1 Chapter 1 (An Excerpt)
Learning the all-embracing wisdom of Buddhism

Firstly, I would like to relate that the objective of learning Buddhism is to restore our inborn wisdom and moral capabilities. (恢复我们本有的智慧德能)

We need to understand that cultivating oneself is not an easy task as it requires both the sincerity of one’s heart as well as concrete actions.

This involves:

  • learning how to eliminate bad habits that stem from our ignorance (无明习气), thereby disallowing the retention of such negative habits in us and in the world that we live in.
  • We must learn to battle against selfishness, eradicate such impulses and get rid of unruly thoughts.
  • We must also change our incorrect perceptions of the universe and life — our explanation of life, how we view life (修正自己对宇宙人生错误的想法) and how we act upon it.
  • Spiritual cultivation requires the cultivation of a heart purified from defiling illusions (修清净心). This serenity and purity supersedes all other requirements as achieving this state would represent the elimination of all delusions (妄念), attachments (执著), as well as improper thoughts (邪知) and views (邪念).

Hence, it is only possible for wisdom to arise with a serene and purified mind. Once the mind is at peace, the body will also be peaceful. When both the body and mind are peaceful and purified, one’s state of mind will also be rendered the same.



< The Four Types of Wisdom >
Buddhism in Plain Terms (Master Jun Hong Lu’s radio program) – 23 Nov 2017

For many of us, we made impressions based on the characteristics of phenomena (Dharma-character) (法相). We form unique insight (独特的见解) in our consciousness about another person based on what we see from their superficial appearances and inner characteristics that were made obvious. So how can we transform such knowledge into wisdom?

There are actually eight kinds of consciousness (八种识). The eyes, ears, nose, tongue, body, and consciousness which is known as the six consciousnesses (第六识 – 潜意识), the Manas consciousness (末那识), and then the eighth consciousness (八意识) which is the Alaya consciousness (阿赖耶识).


To “Transform Knowledge into Wisdom (转识成智) actually means  to transform these eight kinds of consciousness into Four Kinds of Wisdom. These four kinds of wisdom are:

“The Wisdom of Perfect Conduct” (成所作智)

“The Wisdom of Profound Insight” (妙观察智)

“The Wisdom of Universal Equality” (平等性智)

“The Perfect Mirror-Like Wisdom” (大圆镜智)


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) then you will 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 examined and realized that all phenomena go through the four states that is, formation, existence, destruction, and emptiness (成住坏空) you have “The Wisdom of Perfect Conduct”.

It is through these 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 mentioned earlier, when you examine and realized that all phenomena go through the four states that is, 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, analyze and compare the phenomena in this world and the concepts you formed are not imaginary, illusory nor build 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 pride (骄傲) or inferiority complex (自卑心). At other times, you may desire to gain control, “save-face” (要面子), motivated by vanity (要虚荣), etc.

It is not possible to transform these falsehoods into wisdom; it is through eliminating these absurd grasping (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 began to go into a state of meditative concentration. (禅定)

The first few wisdom mentioned earlier are exceptional as it encompasses 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” isTo do away with the attachment to one’s view (破除我见), purify the mind that does not dwell in the worldly appearances, sound, smell, taste, touch, and dharma (all phenomena) (色声香味触法). 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 worldly 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)


the four types of wisdom



< Characteristics of a Person with Wisdom (i): He works around his problem >
Master Jun Hong Lu’s Public Talk Melbourne, Australia – 6 December 2019

Moral of the Story:

A wise person will always work around the obstacles in life, while an unwise one will take the obstacles head-on, inviting a lot of troubles into their life as a result. Bumps and muds are inevitable. We need to see clearly the path under our feet and tread carefully.

Focus on cultivating your mind and morality instead of focusing on the obstacle; Focus on your capabilities and not what is holding you back. Only then can you smooth the bumps in your road where you will be free from the worries and be able to walk the path of life safely into the future. 


< Characteristics of a Person with Wisdom (ii): He is Compassionate>
Buddhism in Plain Terms – 24 March 2018 (An Excerpt)

True Awakening is to realise the truth of “Great Compassion towards all beings (同体大悲)”. It is a realisation that all sentient beings are one with us and compassion becomes our natural instinct.

Wisdom is manifested whenever we take pity on others; to be compassionate towards others is an indication that we are leading a life of ease and freedom (解脱自在生命). It is through this that our own inner Pure Land is built. (内心的净土)


< Characteristics of a Person with Wisdom (iii): He accords with Condition >
Wenda20190407 52:03  (Master Jun Hong Lu’s call-in radio program)

Caller: When handling matters, should we strive to use our acquired wisdom to make choices and face the issues or should we strive to accord with conditions? Alternatively, can we say that as long as we apply wisdom in handling of issues, we will have the capability to accord with conditions?

Master Jun Hong Lu: We should always strive to apply wisdom in everything we do as the ability to accord with conditions will come naturally with it. It is a quality that does not come merely through paying lip service.


< Buddhism in Plain Terms < 白话佛法共修分享