Week 10

Towards Deepest Meaning in the Dharma: The Heart Sutra

The Mahayana Sutras and Spiritual Receptivity

  • Let us take a walk out of space and time and into the unknown….
    • Our mind reaches out beyond perception of things and chains of thought about the material world and goes beyond, where?… into the land of meaning to look for the inner meaning, the bigger picture in the Dharma.
    • There are three levels, maybe more, of interest for the human mind – the knowable, the imaginable and the Unimaginable.
    • The heart-mind and the thinking mind see two different worlds – the heart-mind feels directly inner meaning and significance has a more direct and the cognising thinking mind sees using concepts and language and can be limited by the rational process of thinking.
    • It is like, the world of electronic components of a TV and the meaning communicated in the TV programmes, … two worlds.
  • Wisdom and true inner meaning are beyond Words – is in the realm of the heart-mind
    • Nirmanakaya – existence and knowledge in the realm of thought and comprehension – the dharma as taught by Siddhārtha Gautama Buddha
    • Sambodhakaya -existence and knowledge in the realm of the imagination: stories and ritual, poetry, the arts, the world of meaning. This inner meaning, radiance, represented by the archetypal Buddha Vairochana.
      • Text Box: VajrasattvaThe name Vairochana means “He Who Is Like the Sun” or “the Radiating One. His wisdom is the Wisdom of the Dharmadhatu. The Dharmadhatu is the Realm of Truth, in which all things exist as they really are  – rather than limited to what is presumed in the human mind.
    • Dharmakaya – Knowledge (wisdom) manifesting from the  far reaches , edge of the imagination. The deepest meaning is represented by Vajrasattva
      • Perhaps, what defines Vajrasattva is the result. Contemplation on Vajrasattva has for many centuries been the “go-to” practice for Buddhists for purification. Since most of our progress in Buddhism relies on purification, it would be fair to say that in Vajrayana Buddhism, Vajrasattva practice is of pre-eminent
  • Mahayana Sutras

Let’s have a first look at Mahayana Sutras.

The Heart Sutra –  This is a short Mahayana Sutra expounding on the nature of existence by the Bodhisattva of compassion Avalokateshvara . The Heart sutra is given below, and we will recite it and consider it in the class.

The Pure Land Sutras . In the pure land sutras, there is a recognition of a need for help from beyond for us to develop.

In this tradition the Buddhas of the Pure Lands do this. Actually, if one contemplates a Buddha, it can feel like they help directly.  The main pureland Buddha is Amitabha.

Text Box: AmitabhaThe buddha Amitabha has a realm Sukavati. The Sutras, short and long, come from the 1st – 2nd Century CE  :Pakistan. These are Mahayana sutras possibly composed by a sangha. In the Pure Land Golden Birds, rivers and music singing the Dharma and one has to just listen.

How to get reborn in the Pureland. Through Heartfelt desire, because then you will be in the company of all the bodhisattvas.  All the Buddhas named individually. Bringing our mind into some resonance. A personal invitation. Embraced by a buddhas. Irreversible.

Discuss: Have we a Film, Play or music that has really shifted our minds, so we feel we are in a different realm?

 

Meditation: Metta Bhavana and recitation of the heart sutra

Next week:  Sangha. Helping each other to develop

The Heart Sutra