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Dharma Talk > The Annotated Heart Sutra

Preface

1991-11-09 Seattle
The Annotated Heart Sutra
Written by: Living Buddha Lian-sheng, Sheng-yen Lu
Translated by: Daniel Tjiang
Edited by: Dance Smith
Proofread by: Invincible East


Preface: Expounding the Prajna Heart Sutra

Every Saturday evening at 8pm, at the end of the cultivation session in the Redmond Ling Shen Ching Tze Temple, I would deliver a sermon on the Prajna Heart Sutra. I feel that the Prajna Heart Sutra contains true wisdom.

Some people say that the Diamond Sutra is a shorter version of the Maha Heart Sutra, and the Diamond Sutra is a longer version of the Heart Sutra. This theory is indeed well founded. The Heart Sutra is so short that it has only 260 words [in the Chinese version]. Yet, it encompasses two main Buddhism systemic teachings, existence and emptiness. It also sums up the essence of realization.

Despite being short, the 260 words of the Heart Sutra are profound in meaning. The Heart Sutra can be described as `the most profound among the profound, the finest among the finest, the most enlightened among the enlightened`. Most people have heard of this sutra, but find it difficult to understand. Even if they are able to understand the profound meaning behind it (doctrinal realization), they find it very difficult to practice what is in the sutra (actual realization has not yet been achieved).

The Heart Sutra is the ultimate truth, even to the extent of surpassing everything that exists. It is the original consciousness of the universe of the ten directions. All phenomena are the manifestation of the Heart Sutra. All phenomena are attributed to emptiness and all phenomena are the manifestation of emptiness. Thus, there is no difference between phenomenon (form) and emptiness. They are not two, but one.

If there is anyone who likes to seek the truth, you are welcome to come to Ling Shen Ching Tze Temple in Seattle, U.S.A, to listen to my sermons. You will be able to find the true wisdom and the real meaning in life, and not waste your precious life.

Note from publisher: This book is a collection of sermons delivered by Grand Master after each Saturday evening practice session between November 9, 1991 and March, 1993 in Ling Shen Ching Tze Temple in Seattle, U.S.

The Heart Sutra

The Bodhisattva Avalokitesvara, while moving in the deep course of Prajnaparamita, shed light on the five skandhas and found them equally empty. After this penetration, he overcame all pain. `Listen, Shariputra, form is emptiness, emptiness is form; form does not differ from emptiness, emptiness does not differ from form. The same is true with feeling, perception, intention and consciousness. `Hear, Shariputra, all dharmas are marked with emptiness; they are neither produced nor destroyed, neither defiled nor immaculate, neither increasing nor decreasing. Therefore, in emptiness there is no form, feeling, intention, or consciousness; no eyes, ears, nose, tongue, body, or mind; no forms, sounds, smell, tastes, touches, or mental objects; nor is there the realm of the eyes, up to and including the realm of mind consciousness. There is no ignorance or ending of ignorance, up to and including no decay and death or ending of decay and death. There are no suffering, no origination of suffering, no extinction of suffering, and no path, no knowledge, and also no attainment.

`Because there is no attainment, the bodhisattvas, supported by the Prajnaparamita, find no obstacles for their minds. Having no obstacles, they overcome fear, liberate themselves forever from illusion, and realize perfect Nirvana. All Buddhas in the past, present, and future, through reliance upon Prajnaparamita, arrive at full, right, and universal Enlightenment. .`Therefore, one should know that Prajnaparamita is a great spiritual mantra, a great wisdom mantra, a supreme mantra, an unequalled mantra. It destroys all suffering because it is the incorruptible truth. A mantra of Prajnaparamita should therefore be proclaimed. This is the mantra:

`GATE GATE PARAGATE PARASAMGATE BODHISVAHA.`


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