Heart Sutra Readily Understood
The Heart Sutra is a scripture that originates from the core of the Mahayana tradition as founded by The Buddha in his later teachings. As such it is grounded and places a particular emphasis on the inclusive world of sentient beings. It is thus somewhat different from the approach taken by the Hinayana branch which emphasizes individual attainment in the manner which The Buddha first taught after his own (meditative) realization. However, that said, the procedures suggested for fostering attainment, as a practical matter, are common to both approaches.
The expansion provided in this account is based on the fundamental technical terms associated with attainment that were in current use at the time the "Great Vehicle" was initiated. The Heart Sutra covers the deviation taken by the Buddha as he turns away from individual realization of the basic nature of the profound. In doing so he takes the extra step necessary to obtain the comprehension that transforms individual attainment into a specific as well as a collective responsibility for overall being-in-the-world. In this way the realization of the role played by and through attainment on the part of the individual (as the agent singly responsible for the state of the world) is expanded to include not only all of his own prior representations but expands to encompass all beings still entrapped in Samsara (the seemingly endless cycle of births and deaths). In this realization a deep sense of understanding concerning his own part in the play of the consciousness involved results in a sense of responsibility which immediately flowers into a profound expression of compassion which immediately flows forth directly into the world.
The background provided in the terse language of the Heart Sutra shows the way towards this state of super-consciousness as a counterpoint to ordinary non-duel realization.
- J. Robin E. Harger, September 2011
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