Essence of the Heart Sutra

I haven’t really been motivated to venture outside the Kopan grounds, although I did wander down to the Nunnery yesterday – that was a tiresome & hot trip. Instead, I’ve buried myself in meditation & reading Dharma books. So mostly my days so far (last 4) have consisted of sleeping (sometimes 10-12 hours a day), eating, reading, meditation & a little social discourse.

One of the Buddhist concepts I’m struggling with is the concept of emptiness. So, I grabbed the ‘Essence of the Heart Sutra’ book by HH Dalai Lama seeking a simpler explanation. Well, he did do a great job in outlining the concept, but my head’s still spinning. I mean, how do you get your mind around this:

“Form is emptiness, emptiness is form; emptiness is not other than form, form too is not other than emptiness. Likewise, feelings, perceptions, mental formations, & consciousness are all empty…all phenomena are emptiness; they are without defining characteristics; they are not born, they do not cease; they are not defiled, they are not undefiled; they are not deficient, & they are not complete…”

If sometime can explain this to me, I would be most grateful. I picked up another book from the library, also by HH Dalai Lama, called ‘The Universe in a Single Atom’. Fascinated by quantum physics, I can more clearly see a link between emptiness & the interconnectivity & interdependence of all things, as espoused by this scientifc theory. So, I’m starting to get it, very slowly – more contemplation required.


4 responses to “Essence of the Heart Sutra

  1. Wow my head is spinning from trying to understand you dillema. Would you like me to send sheldon from the big bang theory to help you figure out form or emptiness .. heheh.
    On a serious note, sounds like you have found a new self in your holidays.

  2. If you substitute “emptiness” with one of these, it might help, but may not be the answer.

    “Does not exist from it’s own side” (requires something else that it is dependent on to exist)

    “Empty of inherent existence” (the object in question, lets say the eyeball, does not exist without all of the components of an eyeball)

    “All is empty, all is dependent” There are different schools of thought on this. One says that the subtle consciousness is not dependent. Negating the notion that all is dependent.

    Of course all of these are labels and depending on the label “everything, existence, dependent, etc.” they can be interpreted in different ways. “Depends” on the meaning of the label.

    Buddhism debates all of this, as we all should. And comes to a common answer until it is disproved and debated again.

    • Thanks Jim! I continue to read several books on the concept of emptiness. These, with your comments, are making it all a bit more understandable.


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