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What is Prajña?

June 18, 2012

Book coverPrajña does not refer to passive knowledge, such as knowing facts from the Guiness Book of Records or knowing how to get from Seattle to New York. Rather, prajña is the active inquisitiveness of mind, its basic curiosity of wanting to know and wanting to find out how things really are. If we look at the Buddha’s own career, this is exactly how he started. He did not start with the answers or by following some religion, tradition, or code of behavior. He started with questions.

This is the hallmark of the Buddhist path—trying to find out what is really going on in every moment, what is going on in our mind, what is going on in our environment, and what is going on with other people. In this way, prajña entails basic intelligence, intelligence in its original meaning, which is deep insight and the ability to finely discriminate and distinguish things.

The Heart Attack Sutra: A New Commentary on the Heart Sutra by Karl Brunnhölzl, pages 23-24.

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