The Ten Advantages of the Perfection of Prajna:
If you cultivate Prajna, you will obtain these ten advantages. If you don't cultivate it, you won't obtain them. Prajna is basically non-attachment. Non-attachment is wisdom. As long as you are attached to things, you have no wisdom. If you are unattached, the light of wisdom is ever present.
1. One will not grasp at the mark of giving. If you grasp at the mark of giving, you are attached. If you don't grasp, then you are not attached. One should give in such a manner that the "three aspects are empty." By this we mean the giver, the receiver, and the gift. If you are caught up in your ability to give, in the gift, or in the person you are giving to, then you are attached. One should give in such a way that there is no attachment to the mark of the giver, the gift, or the receiver. If you give, thinking, "I gave several million. How much merit do you think I have?" then you are like the Emperor Wu of Liang who asked Patriarch Bodhidharma, "I have built so many temples and bridges, and allowed so many people to leave home. How much merit do I have?"
If Patriarch Bodhidharma had said, "A lot," he would have just been following worldly thinking. Instead, the Patriarch spoke the genuine Buddhadharma, which doesn't just go along with worldly sentiments. He said, "No merit!" This is just "not grasping at the mark of giving." Without the mark of giving, there are no attachments. Without attachments, one's merit is like empty space. Empty space is entirely filled with merit. But you must not be attached.
2. One will not become dependent upon the precepts. This doesn't mean that one won't receive and keep the precepts. It means that one won't be attached; one won't grasp at the precepts. One won't think, "I keep precepts and know how to cultivate. I understand the Buddhadharma!" That's just attachment. One should keep the precepts and not hold on to them. Keep them as if not keeping them. One shouldn't think of oneself as a "keeper of the precepts." Even if one keeps them very well, one shouldn't get arrogant about it and think, "I am a Vinaya Master!" That's just another attachment to the mark of self. The precepts are for the purpose of getting rid of the "self." One must not get conceited and full of the mark of self, thinking, "I cultivate according to the rules." If one gets rid of the mark of self, then there isn't any "I." If there isn't any self, how can there be a precept holder?
"If there isn't any me, then I can go out and kill, steal, and rob and it won't count, right? That's being pretty unattached, isn't it?" someone may wonder.
One form of "nonattachment" reaps offenses, while the other creates merit! There is a difference! Don't misinterpret the Buddhadharma and try to twist it into this and that. You can't use it as a rationalization for nihilism.
Not being dependent on the precepts means that one keeps them without an attachment to keeping them. One keeps the precepts, but not in an obvious way. That is true holding of the precepts.
To be continue