It has only been one full week of our arrival to Heartwood Refuge. Today we sat in the Vajrayana Hall, all of what is quite different than the Ocean of Peace Meditation hall, without comparison just complete awareness.
This day we studied the Prajna Paramita Sutra
Emptiness of body, feelings, perceptions, mental formations and conscious. We practiced using our sitting meditation, being in the spaciousness and the vastness of everything around, other than and in between our 5 skandhas. For a moment understanding the freedom, the liberation from all things. Free from inter generational trauma, free from identity, free from all worldly things, free From this or that. What an experience to be if even for a moment one with all things and separate from nothing? After this practice the pure emotion filled the room as most were in contemplation how the vibration of our consciousness had just shifted and how each of us were sure we walked away with a better understanding of a most complex sutra. Well, at least for the section that was today’s lesson.
The Heart Sutra is one of the most popular sutras in Mahayana Buddhism.
In Sanskrit, it’s called Prajñāpāramitāhṛdaya, which means, “The Heart of the Perfection of Wisdom.”
It’s a combination of two Sanskrit words – prajñā “wisdom” with pāramitā “perfection.”
In Buddhism, Prajnaparamita means “the perfection of wisdom.” The perfect way to perceive reality.
The Heart Sutra is a written record of a conversation that took place between Avalokiteshvara Bodhisattva, and a disciple of the Buddha, Shariputra.
Avalokiteshvara explains to Shariputra that all things are expressions of emptiness. Everything exists only as a part of everything else.
“Form does not differ from emptiness, emptiness does not differ from form. That which is form is emptiness, that which is emptiness is form.”
“Shariputra, all dharmas are marked with emptiness; they do not appear or disappear, are not tainted or pure, do not increase or decrease.”
“No ignorance and also no extinction of it, and so forth until no old age and death and also no extinction of them. No suffering, no origination, no stopping, no path, no cognition, also no attainment with nothing to attain.”
Emptiness, or in Sanskrit, shunyata, is the concept of perceiving events, objects, and ideas without coloring them with the tint of our perception.
Both emptiness and mindfulness encourage us to separate ourselves from our stories the mind has falsely learned to be reality. The stories that validate and form our identity – ego, the “I”, separating us from the rest of the world.
The Heart Sutra implies that separateness is actually an illusion. And that the individual identities we assign and are assigned are also an illusion. An illusion that is conditioned through all of our senses, by friends, family, society, experiences and yes even our dharma friends.
Well with just one day in a week, it’s fair to say that our new experience has already illumined our appreciation and gratitude for our foundation. May it continue to blossom! In good hands.