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Thread: Early Buddhism and The Heart Sutra

  1. #1

    Early Buddhism and The Heart Sutra

    I hadn't read this extremely interesting short article for about 3 years - and I was looking at it again, after remembering it earlier today. I thought I'd post it here and see if anyone wanted to comment about it.

    Its by Santikaro, who was the late Buddhadasa Bhikkhu's translator.

    In the article, he quotes from suttas in the Pali Canon which have similarites to parts of the later Mahayana Heart Sutra. (which he also quotes alongside the suttas).

    "Early Buddhism and the Heart Sutra":

    http://www.liberationpark.org/study/..._early_bsm.pdf


    Any comments?


  2. #2
    I've moved this thread from last year to our newer Early Buddhism forum because I think its probably a better place for it.


  3. #3
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    Thanks for bringing this up, it is fascinating, but not entirely a surprise, Buddhism points to reality, as Yogi Bruce says " when you argue with reality you loose"

    So the content that points toward reality will remain no matter who says it.

    I particularly like the end of the article:


    " Finally, let’s drop the Mahāyāna and Theravāda polemics, as well as Vajrayāna, Zen, Lotus Sutra, and other prideful or narrow biases. Such arrogance, defensiveness, and delusion does not serve Dhamma and the way of liberation. In fact, such attitudes tarnish the path for us all. Let us join each other in Buddhayāna.

    We aspire to the way of Buddhayāna, originally taught by the Buddha, admirably preserved in Pali suttas, and echoed in the riches of Mahāyāna. Not limitable by any particular formulation, we dedicate ourselves to the harmonization of the noble eightfold and bodhisatta paths."


  4. #4
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    I agree with the emphasis that McKmike has made, in quoting the end of Santikaro's writing.

    It's sad to see how we humans divide ourselves into sectarian groupings, so easily.

    And it's particularly so when this happens over the teachings of the Buddha, which is all about learning to overcome the influence of mind on behaviour.

  5. #5
    When one actually looks at some of the teachings and beliefs of the various "Buddhisms", I don't really think its just a matter of sectarianism, I think there's a possibility that it could become harder to discern what is actually Buddhayana as the years go by, with so many re-interpretations and add on's to the Buddha's words, as well as gurus and "deities" who are considered more important.

    Just a personal opinion, of course.


  6. #6
    I'm also reminded of Ani Sutta SN 20.7:


    Staying at Savatthi. "Monks, there once was a time when the Dasarahas had a large drum called 'Summoner.' Whenever Summoner was split, the Dasarahas inserted another peg in it, until the time came when Summoner's original wooden body had disappeared and only a conglomeration of pegs remained.

    "In the same way, in the course of the future there will be monks who won't listen when discourses that are words of the Tathagata — deep, deep in their meaning, transcendent, connected with emptiness — are being recited. They won't lend ear, won't set their hearts on knowing them, won't regard these teachings as worth grasping or mastering. But they will listen when discourses that are literary works — the works of poets, elegant in sound, elegant in rhetoric, the work of outsiders, words of disciples — are recited. They will lend ear and set their hearts on knowing them. They will regard these teachings as worth grasping & mastering.

    "In this way the disappearance of the discourses that are words of the Tathagata — deep, deep in their meaning, transcendent, connected with emptiness — will come about.

    "Thus you should train yourselves: 'We will listen when discourses that are words of the Tathagata — deep, deep in their meaning, transcendent, connected with emptiness — are being recited. We will lend ear, will set our hearts on knowing them, will regard these teachings as worth grasping & mastering.' That's how you should train yourselves."

    http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipit....007.than.html


  7. #7
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    When someone warns me of getting stuck with "views" I try to accept it, as I know that dwelling on things and making judgements about some experience is never fruitful. It just results in stale old thoughts that usually turn sour.--------- And when someone conversely argues that "Right View" is a view that we should maintain, I don't disagree with that either.

    As I see it, it is necessary to get real tough on what one means by a "view". It is also necessary to consider what the teacher is warning me against. If the teacher is primarily concerned about the conventional way that we ordinary people are constantly falling back into idle reflections, then the term "views" might just be a way of dealing with that. -------- My feeling at this time is that there are no easy ways to throw out one-liners and solve the riddle of life.

    I choose to take the teacher's warnings about views very seriously, but I still hold on to the idea that compassion is always good, regardless of whether or not it is a "view". More precisely it seems to me the way I nurture compassion is most important. Do I use compassion as a redundant old fallback, or is it part of my forward advance? Do I constantly carry around biases and prejudices in my supposed compassionate thinking, or do I really step up to the meditation cushion with an open mind?

    .

  8. #8
    What is your opinion of Santikaro's article in the opening post #1, Jasweet?



  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Aloka View Post
    Any comments?
    I am always reminded of this passage from the Phena Sutta, which IMO sounds very similar to the first section of the Heart Sutra:

    "Form is like a glob of foam;
    feeling, a bubble;
    perception, a mirage;
    fabrications, a banana tree;
    consciousness, a magic trick —
    this has been taught
    by the Kinsman of the Sun.
    However you observe them,
    appropriately examine them,
    they're empty, void
    to whoever sees them
    appropriately."

    https://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipi....095.than.html
    Last edited by Whippet; 15 Feb 19 at 09:33.

  10. #10
    Forums Member manoPG's Avatar
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    The early stock phrases on suññata clearly form the basis for all prajnaparamita literature.

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