Heart Sutra

The Great Perfection of Wisdom Heart Sutra

The Bodhisattva Avalokitesvara observed that once we are deep in the practice of mediation, that all the aspects of human perception are purely mental constructs that have no independent existence of their own. Our understanding of physical forms, feelings, perceptions, concepts and even ego consciousness (self) are simply constructs of the mind. Once we realize this we are able go beyond our suffering and distress because we recognize even suffering and distress are constructs of the mind and are equally as empty.

As explained to the Venerable Sariputra: When people practice meditation earnestly they will discover that there are no forms or conditions having independent or separate existence and that existence and non-existence are actually a single evolving continuum. Form does not differ from emptiness, emptiness does not differ from form. The same is true of our feelings, perceptions, impulses and consciousness. Since everything is mutually arising and inter-dependent, nothing can truly be separated or divided into subject and object. Therefore the perception of separateness created by our senses should be understood as illusionary and any independent understandings that we feel we have based on our dualistic interpretations are likewise empty.

Since all our perceptions are useless in attempting to understand our existence, only the perfected practice of wisdom mediation can dispel these mental illusions. Thus, all Awakened beings of past, present and future, who have achieved supreme perfected enlightenment, depend on the proven practice of deep meditation to relieve their suffering. Without the hindrance of the dualistic mind, no fears exist and once parted from dualistic thinking, one dwells in complete accord with reality. So the mantra of perfected wisdom is: Gone, gone, all dualism is gone, Hail to the perfected wisdom of emptiness. I have awakened!

The Heart Sutra (full version) is the shortest and the most popular sutra in Buddhism, it is regarded as the most concise summation of Buddhist teaching. The Heart Sutra expresses perfectly the insight attained by non-attachment, the doctrine of emptiness. Many Buddhist sects recite a shortened chant version of the Heart Sutra regularly.