A Western Buddhist's Travels

Sightseeing & detours on the path of enlightenment

Archive for the tag “Nirvana”

Heart Sutra a deeper look (Part 4)

Having given the basics, lets prepare to look at the Heart Sutra line by line. Today I will provide a copy of the translation I will be using for this discussion. I will also provide links to the definitions of key terms, using Wikipedia. Their explanations are clear, and written in such a way as for most to understand. Also please remember I am not a monk or Buddhist scholar, rather a layperson who is following this path. I provide this to help provide knowledge, and if you are interested please seek out a Buddhist temple for further knowledge.


When Avalokiteshvara Bodhisattva was practicing the profound prajna paramita, he illuminated the five skandhas and saw that they are all empty, and he crossed  beyond all suffering and difficulty.

Shariputra, form does not differ from emptiness;  emptiness does not differ from form. Form itself is emptiness; emptiness itself is form. So, too, are feeling, cognition, formation, and consciousness.

Shariputra, all dharmas are empty of characteristics.  They are not produced. Not destroyed, not defiled, not  pure, and they neither increase nor diminish. Therefore, in emptiness there is no form, feeling, cognition,  formation, or consciousness; no eyes, ears, nose, tongue,  body, or mind; no sights, sounds, smells, tastes, objects of  touch, or dharmas; no field of the eyes, up to and  including no field of mind-consciousness; and no  ignorance or ending of ignorance, up to and including no  old age and death or ending of old age and death. There is no suffering, no accumulating, no extinction, no way, and  no understanding and no attaining.

Because nothing is attained, the Bodhisattva, through  reliance on prajna paramita, is unimpeded in his mind.  Because there is no impediment, he is not afraid, and he leaves distorted dream-thinking far behind. Ultimately Nirvana!

All Buddhas of the three periods of time attain  Anuttarasamyaksambodhi through reliance on prajna  paramita. Therefore, know that prajna paramita is a  great spiritual mantra, a great bright mantra, a supreme  mantra, an unequalled mantra. It can remove all  suffering; it is genuine and not false. That is why the  mantra of prajna paramita was spoken. Recite it like this:

Gate gate paragate parasamgate bodhi svaha!

translation source: http://www.cttbusa.org/heartsutra/heartsutra.htm


Avalokiteshvara:  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Avalokite%C5%9Bvara

Bodhisattva:  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bodhisattva

Skandha: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Skandhas

Shariputra: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shariputra

Anuttarasamyaksambodhi: The perfect and universal enlightenment obtained by a Buddha. Also referred to as the supreme enlightenment of Buddhas, Arahats, and Bodhisattvas.

As some of you will have some reading, I will stop for today, and let you become more familiar with the Sutra and terms. Tomorrow we will start examining the Sutra line by line.

Previous postings in this series:




with metta


Tea with the Buddha

One of the rituals of friendship for me is to sit and have a coffee or tea with friends every so often. Talking over a coffee last night, with a friend, we got onto the topic of historical or fictional characters that we would like to have coffee with. I mentioned the Buddha as one of my choices. We didn’t go into depth of what we would discuss, with each of these people, rather just who we would like to sit and chat with.

So I decided that a tea with the Buddha would be a good way to get to know him. Imagine sitting in a Tea house in Sarnath, India about almost 2600 years ago. The tea house is across the road, from the soon to be famous Deer Park.  Siddhartha Gautama arrived in Sarnath, about 7 weeks after achieving enlightenment. As the tea house is crowded, you offer a place beside yourself, and you both introduce yourself. Upon hearing that Siddhartha had achieved enlightenment, I imagine my first question would be how he came to this discovery. The Buddha would have explained the middle path, neither living for the pleasures of the world, no living as an ascetic, denying oneself of even the necessities of life. Rather it is about having enough to be comfortable, healthy and be able to help those around us, that is the balance we should strive for.  For advice he would tell us to be mindful of our thoughts, speech and actions. As to possessions, he would tell us that they were not really ours, nor did our possessions define who we are. The advice might follow:

Practice loving kindness to get rid of hatred.

Practice compassion to remove cruelty.

Practice sympathy to dispel apathy.

Practice equanimity to end jealousy or envy.

Contemplate the impurity of the body, to overcome lust.

Contemplate impermanence to overcome ego.

Practice mediation as this will teach you control, so you may gain great wisdom.

Never pass judgement on others, least you be judged in return.

All conditioned things are subject to decay, be diligent in acquiring enlightenment.

Do not follow any teacher with out first examining the teachings, and if beneficial to you, without harming other beings adopt them.

The Dharma is only a raft to get you to Nirvana, then it too must be left behind.

I might ask what is the main point of his teachings?

Life is suffering, but there is a way to end suffering, might be his answer.

To learn more about his teachings, requires effort, an investment of time, contemplation of what has been taught, and adopting the teachings as guidelines to live your life by. So to learn more we must follow the middle path, and learn from our teachers, who have learned from their teachers, until we arrive back to the original teachings of The Buddha. I hope you have enjoyed your tea break.

Correction of one’s view

The tenth way of earning merit, is the application of all the other methods of earning merit, in order to correct any fallacies or misconceptions we have about Dhamma. It is only when the meritorious action is taken with right view, right intent and with right action that we gain the most benefit. In the Suttas we find only three ways of acquiring merit mentioned by the Buddha: giving, moral conduct and meditation. The others are derived from verses within the Suttas, and are listed here as separate methods for clarification purposes. It allows me to focus my thoughts on one method per day, I hope that you find this beneficial as well.

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