The following was written after a conversation Albert and I had one evening.
He was impressing on me the need to ask the question “What was my face before my parents were born?”, And then he said, you don’t have to try to find an answer, just pursue the question; the answer has already been given to you in the Prajna Paramita. This last sentence was said quite casually, no extra emphasis or fan fair. But suddenly the whole world broke into laughter and I could not stop laughing. He did not recite all the Prajna Paramita of course, just “no eye, ear, nose….” I write it all out as a hymn of joy for that moment.
No eye, ear, nose,
Tongue, body, mind;
No colour, sound, smell,
Taste, touch or what the mind
Takes hold of.
Nor even act of sensing.
No ignorance or end of it,
Nor all that comes of ignorance:
No withering, no death,
No end of them.
Nor is there pain, or cause of pain,
Or cease in pain, or noble path
To lead from pain,
Not even wisdom to attain,
Attainment too is emptiness.
“What is my face before my parents were born?”
Go beyond words, go beyond thoughts,
Go right beyond.
Albert was very disappointed at not being able to get out a blog for you, and so I though I would post this – it is after all what he wants to say to all of us. He is now in hospital again, having fallen and hit his head badly. – Jean Low
Ask yourself this question: “What was my face before my parents were born?”
It is the same question as “What is your true nature?” or “Who am I?” but it is put in a different format; a format that will take you right beyond if your pursue it diligently. It will cut through all the anchor points that hold firmly in place your sense of self, the feeling of who you are. Like Gulliver in the children’s story, tied down by all the tiny strings, unable to move. This question will cut through these strings and set you free.
But you have to really ask it, not just say the words. It doesn’t matter how much force and effort you put into saying the words, that is not enough. You have to follow it through. You do not have to try to find an answer, the answer has already been given to you in the Prajna Paramita; but you cannot hear this answer unless you can really ask the question.