When the compassionate bodhicitta radiates beyond conceptions and conceptual states, it is known as prajnaparamita, the practice of transcendental knowledge. Good concentration in itself will not break through our attachment to samsara. We have to go deeper, in order to realize everything as a transparent display of the primordial truth.

Transcendental wisdom, the prajnaparamita, realizes all conditions as a display of the primordial nature, and it takes us beyond acceptance and rejection, hope and fear, dualistic thoughts, and ego-clinging. Transcendental knowledge breaks through every one of those notions and reveals the vastness of great equanimity. The nature of this paramita is to understand phenomena clearly, seeing all beings as they are without distortion. To have a perfect insight into the relative, absolute, and unified levels of truth is the basic understanding of the prajnaparamita.

If you cling to the disciplines of generosity, morality, or patience, you are merely going from one extreme of samsara to the other. You simply create a new form of bondage. In order to free ourselves from this trap, we have to release all our ego-clinging and break through the net of dualistic conceptions. The teachings of the prajnaparamita help bring this about. Rather than holding on to a narrow and limited understanding about one aspect of the practice, we are availed of a vast, panoramic view. Remember, paramita means going beyond, or transcending, the dualistic application of these practices. This sixth paramita transforms the other five into their transcendental state. Only the light of transcendental knowledge makes this possible.

All the Buddha's teachings contain prajnaparamita wisdom, from the doctrine of the Theravada school all the way to Dzogchen, the ultimate form of transcendental wisdom practiced in the Vajrayana. This supreme, nondual cognition is the only way to bring about total enlightenment or buddhahood.

Guru Padmasambhava taught that the mind of love, compassion, and wisdom is identical with the enlightened mind of the Buddha. When the bodhicitta radiates as prajnaparamita, it appears as knowledge of the relative truth, knowledge of the absolute truth and knowledge of their union


excerpted from Door to Inconceivable Wisdom and Compassion, Sky Dancer Press, 1996
photograph courtesy of Kirby Shelstad