Prajna is Sanskrit for wisdom. There are three aspects of wisdom for a Buddhist point of view…
The first is the wisdom of learning. This is the idea of studying the teachings of the Dharma in book form or in listening to the teachings as propounded by an experienced practitioner - a member of Sangha. At Karuna, we offer this in the form of daily meditation teachings, given in English in an easy-to-understand manner. We also have a Dharma library where you can read more about your meditation practice or about Dharma in general. Additionally, we have a library of MP3 teachings given by teachers in the past.
The second Prajna is the wisdom of contemplation. The Buddha admonished all of his students to not take his word on any matter. Rather, he suggested it is better to treat his advice in a manner similar to a goldsmith who is checking the authenticity of a lump of yellow metal. Cut it, polish it, melt it… whatever it takes to prove that the metal is truly gold.
The Buddha’s idea was that we, as practitioners not merely take the teachings as a form of dogma, a set of religious beliefs that are inscrutable or not subject to inquiry or investigation. Conversely, the teachings should be very practical and easy to understand by any one who earnestly follows the methods of liberation as propounded by the Buddha. This is the idea of contemplation.
A serious practitioner must spend some time analyzing the teachings - breaking them down into their component parts. Looking at the nuts and bolts of what the Buddha taught. Then re-assembling the teaching into a coherent whole and inquiring - “Is this my experience?” and “Does my life experience line up with these ideas?” In short - one must be a ’street smart’ student of Dharma.
You will have ample time, space and tranquility at Karuna to go deeper into the teachings and verify their authenticity - acting in the manner of a goldsmith - and working with the second prajna.
From this point, from this position of contemplation, one can begin the inner journey - the third prajna - that of meditation. People who meditate are known in Tibetan as “nang-was” - translated as “inside people.” Not agoraphobes or hermit-like shut-ins, instead people who find the journey of introspection fascinating and revealing about their position in life and the world - their existence. Those who delight in the introspective life. As Professor Robert Thurman calls them - psychonauts - explorers of the inside space.
At Karuna, you will have ample opportunity to investigate the inner experience. We have multiple meditation sessions scheduled each day and these provide the space and time to look more deeply within. In essence, practicing the third wisdom and harvesting the resultant insight that develops from the total process of wisdom cultivation, invloving all three prajnas.
We welcome you to Karuna and encourage you to discover the path to wisdom and resultant compassion available to us all. Contact us to arrange your meditation retreat.