A Western Buddhist's Travels

Sightseeing & detours on the path of enlightenment

Heart Sutra a deeper look (Part 3)

As it is traditional to chant the Heart Sutra or listen to it chanted, before studying it, I will offer you a link to a Sanskrit version with English subtitles.


Here is another version:


In the first two parts I have explained what the Heart Sutra is and what it is not. Today a short look at why the Heart Sutra is important to all of us. In Buddhism we wish to learn about the reality we live in, to find our true selves. In this pursuit of one’s trueself, we are following the Heart Sutra. Te Heart Sutra is about finding our original nature, or Buddha nature within ourselves. This knowledge is called Prajna or sometimes Prajna wisdom.

Prajna is one of the two natures or accumulations we need to cultivate in order to achieve Buddhahood, the other being merit. The beginning stage is to learn the precepts, for these teach us the moral code we need to follow. For those following the Buddhist path, the minimum is the five prcepts, for Christians or those following the Jewish path, the ten commandments are the basis of morailty. After learning these, we require concentration, or mindfullness to ensure all of our actions are in accordance with our moral code. This is where the meditation techniques taught by the Buddha, help us to train our mind to concentrate on the here and now. These techniques can be used by anyone without restriction. Many Priest, Rabbis and other religious leaders from many faiths have learned and practiced them. As we apply these precepts or commandments to our lives, we develop our wisdom, so that it becomes easier to think, say and do the right thing at anypoint in our lives.

We also gain prajna through reading, listening to our teachers, and the contemplation of  reality. Through reading/listening and contemplation we develop the prajna or wisdom of the ultimate reality. Shakyamuni Buddha said that there is nothing that surpasses prajna. The dharma of prajna is the highest Buddha-dharma. It allows us to comprehend the original nature of all beings, and the nature of Tathagata. Tathagata,  has two meanings; tatha-gata (one who has thus gone) and tatha-agata(one who has thus come). As these two combine to mean one who is beyond coming and going, or beyond transitory phenomena, it would mean one who has discovered ultimate truth, or a Buddha or Arahant. You might say this describes one who sees reality as it is, or truth of the universe. Having obtained prajna, you understand that the nature of all things is empty, all compounded things are impermanent, or illusory phenomena, like dreams, visions, or illusions. Prajna is understanding the emptiness of everyting, or true nature of reality. “Your original nature is the pure dharma body of all sentient beings within the three spheres of existence (triloka).  It is united with the universe. It has no form or shape, no physical body or
appearance. All living beings possess this original nature equally. It is the same as the dharma body of the Tathagata or dharmakaya.  It does not come and does not go” http://www.zhaxizhuoma.net/SEVEN_JEWELS/WISDOM/OriginalNature.html

with metta,

Previous postings in this series:



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7 thoughts on “Heart Sutra a deeper look (Part 3)

  1. Thanks for the link – I’m on my way back to the other two parts of this now!

    • Your welcome, it may take a month before I finish this small Sutra, as I come across terms most may not know, I detour to explain them.

      • What’s great in your writing, that you explain things so clearly and illustrate what you mean – so even though I do know a lot of there terms you make it more meaningful.

  2. Pingback: Heart Sutra a deeper look (Part 4) « Keith the Green's Blog

  3. Pingback: Heart Sutra a deeper look (Part 5) « Keith the Green's Blog

  4. Pingback: Heart Sutra a deeper look (Part 6) « Keith the Green's Blog

  5. Pingback: Heart Sutra a deeper look (Part 8) « Keith the Green's Blog

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