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Thread: Discussions around the Heart Sutra

  1. #21
    Global Moderator KathyLauren's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by philg View Post
    Nor is there pain, or cause of pain,
    Or cease in pain, or noble path
    To lead from pain;
    What is significant about this verse is that it is ostensibly negating the very foundation of Buddhism. These are the Four Noble Truths that are negated!

    What does that mean, for a major religion to apparently negate its own tenets? I think understanding this verse is the key to understanding the manner in which the Sutra is asking us to change our viewpoint. It isn't saying that the 4NT are wrong. It isn't saying that they were never declared, nor that they are not Truths. That would be absurd, especially since they are the basic teachings from which all else in Buddhism flows.

    It is saying that the manner of all the various negations in the list is not mere nihilism. It is not saying that all that stuff, all those categories, don't exist. It is saying that we need to change the way we think of their existence. Like all those categories, they are not solid objects to which we could cling. They are creations of the mind, referring to the shared illusion we call objectivity. Like all those other categories, they have their uses when dealing with so-called objective reality, but ultimately, they are only expedients.

    When they have served their purpose, we can let them go. If we can do that with the Four Noble Truths themselves, then we can do the same with all other categories.

    Om mani padme hum
    Kathy

  2. #22
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    So for the New Year here's the next verse which explains everything so far:

    So know that the Bodhisattva
    Holding to nothing whatever,
    But dwelling in Prajna wisdom,
    Is freed of delusive hindrance,
    Rid of the fear bred by it,
    And reaches clearest Nirvana.

    But didn't it say there was no wisdom to attain? Yes, which is why it says 'dwelling' in Pranja wisdom, not attaining it. Personally I think that it's a bit of a clunky way of saying you have to be there at the point where you have let go of everything you could possibly hold on to, even nothing. Get beyond all that and there you are, being in the place which is there waiting for you. It doesn't last long, but it doesn't need to. You have now seen for yourself what lies beyond the stuff holding you back and it changes you forever. There's no unseeing it. How can you have the suffering which came from your previous way of seeing the world if you no longer see it in the same way? You are now free to live the rest of your life having experienced dwelling in Pranja wisdom. The rest of the sutra builds on this.

  3. #23
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    The rest is more or less saying that the sutra shows how to attain enlightenment:

    All Buddhas of past and present,
    Buddhas of future time,
    Using this Prajna wisdom,
    Come to full and perfect vision.

    Hear then the great dharani,
    The radiant peerless mantra,
    The Prajnaparamita
    Whose words allay all pain;
    Hear and believe its truth!

    Gate Gate Paragate Parasamgate Bodhi Svaha
    Gate Gate Paragate Parasamgate Bodhi Svaha
    Gate Gate Paragate Parasamgate Bodhi Svaha

    This part would be a bit of a filler without the last bit. It is a mantra which sums it all up, and the translation I like is, "Go beyond, go further beyond, go furthest possible beyond. Wow!"

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