Chapter 9: Gone, Gone, Gone Beyond!
Therefore one should know the prajnaparamita
as the great spell, the spell of great knowledge,
the utmost spell, the unequalled spell,
allayer of all suffering, in truth -
for what could go wrong?
By the prajnaparamita
has this spell been delivered.
It runs like this:
Gone, gone, gone beyond, gone altogether beyond,
O what an awakening, all-hail!
This completes the heart of perfect wisdom.
Teilhard de Chardin divides human evolution into four stages. The first he calls geosphere, the second, biosphere, the third, noosphere, and the fourth, Christosphere. These four stages are immensely significant. They have to be understood. Understanding them will help you to understand the climax of the Heart Sutra.
The geosphere. It is the state of consciousness which is absolutely asleep, the state of matter. Matter is consciousness asleep. Matter is not against consciousness, matter is a state of consciousness asleep, not yet awakened. A rock is a sleeping buddha; one day or other the rock is going to become a buddha. It may take millions of years - that doesn’t matter. The difference will be only of time, and time does not matter much in this eternity. That’s why in the East we have been making statues out of stone - that’s very symbolic: the rock and the buddha are bridged through a stone statue. The rock is the lowest and buddha is the highest. The stone statue says that even in stone is hidden a buddha. The stone statue says that buddha is nothing but the rock come to manifestation; the rock has expressed its whole potential.
This is the first stage: geosphere. It is matter, it is unconsciousness, it is sleep, it is pre-life. In this state there is no freedom, because freedom enters through consciousness. In this state there is only cause-and-effect. Law is absolute. Not even an accident is possible. Freedom is not known. Freedom enters only as a shadow of consciousness; the more conscious you become, the more free. Hence Buddha is called a mukta - utterly free. The rock is utterly in bondage, fettered from everywhere, from all sides, in all dimensions. The rock is soul in imprisonment, Buddha is the soul on wings. There are no longer any chains, any bondages, any imprisonments; no walls surround Buddha. He has no borders to his being. His being is as vast as existence itself. He is one with the whole.
But in the world of the geosphere, cause-and-effect is the only dhamma, the only law, the only Tao. Science is still confined to the geosphere, because it still goes on thinking in terms of cause-and-effect. Modern science is a very rudimentary science, very primitive, because it cannot conceive of anything more than matter. Its conception is very limited, and hence it is creating more misery than it solves. Its vision is so finite, its vision is so tiny, small, that it cannot reconcile itself with the totality of existence. It is looking from a tiny hole and thinks that’s all. Science is still confined to the geosphere. Science is still in bondage, it has not yet got wings. It will get wings only when it starts moving beyond cause-and-effect.