Friday, October 29, 2010

H.E. Garchen Rinpoche's 1st Lecture on the Heart Sutra

This is the 30th entry from my fieldwork diary. The original date is 16.10.2010.


The short version of the Heart Sutra mantra:

"Gone, gone, gone to the other shore;
Gone completely to the other shore (gone fully over).
Awakened, so be it!"


According to Wikipedia:
The Heart Sutra is a well-known Mahayana Buddhist sutra that is very popular among Mahayana Buddhists both for its brevity and depth of meaning. Its Sanskrit name Prajñāpāramitā Hṛdaya literally translates to the "Heart of the Perfection of Transcendent Wisdom."


Here is a nice version of the Heart Sutra mantra that I really enjoy listening to:


"Avalokiteshvara, the Bodhisattva of Compassion, meditating deeply on Perfection of Wisdom, saw clearly that the five aspects of human existence are empty, and so released himself from suffering. Answering the monk Sariputra, he said this: Body is nothing more than emptiness, emptiness is nothing more than body. The body is exactly empty, and emptiness is exactly body. The other four aspects of human existence -- feeling, thought, will, and consciousness -- are likewise nothing more than emptiness, and emptiness nothing more than they. All things are empty: Nothing is born, nothing dies, nothing is pure, nothing is stained, nothing increases and nothing decreases. So, in emptiness, there is no body, no feeling, no thought, no will, no consciousness. There are no eyes, no ears, no nose, no tongue, no body, no mind. There is no seeing, no hearing, no smelling, no tasting, no touching, no imagining. There is nothing seen, nor heard, nor smelled, nor tasted, nor touched, nor imagined. There is no ignorance, and no end to ignorance. There is no old age and death, and no end to old age and death. There is no suffering, no cause of suffering, no end to suffering, no path to follow. There is no attainment of wisdom, and no wisdom to attain. The Bodhisattvas rely on the Perfection of Wisdom, and so with no delusions, they feel no fear, and have Nirvana here and now. All the Buddhas, past, present, and future, rely on the Perfection of Wisdom, and live in full enlightenment. The Perfection of Wisdom is the greatest mantra. It is the clearest mantra, the highest mantra, the mantra that removes all suffering. This is truth that cannot be doubted. Say it so: Gaté, gaté, paragaté, parasamgaté. Bodhi! Svaha!"


Emptiness is the usual translation for the Buddhist term Sunyata (or Shunyata). It refers to the fact that no thing - including human existence - has ultimate substantiality, which in turn means that no thing is permanent and no thing is totally independent of everything else. In other words, everything in this world is interconnected and in constant flux. A deep appreciation of this idea of emptiness thus saves us from the suffering caused by our egos, our attachments, and our resistance to change and loss.


*Although I had written around 33 pages in total by hand (by the end of H.E. Garchen Rinpoche's lectures), there were still a few things that I had missed out on during his speech. Mostly due to the fact that I didn't write quick enough to catch everything that he had said, for which I am sorry.
I should also mention that the English translation of every speech was done by Ari-Ma, H.E. Garchen Rinpoche's American disciple and personal translator.


"The Heart Sutra is exceedingly profound. I will give you an introduction to the views of buddhas and investigate the ultimate meanings of these teachings. The Heart Sutra is otherworldly in nature. The ultimate nature of mind is truly without beginning, like space. The mind should be seen by the mind. Everything is of one and the same essence and it can be perceived by the inward mind. This nature of mind is nearly empty, it is clear awareness. It has no object to grasp. The mind is inconceivable and expressable in nature (if we investigate the mind with the mind). The aim is to see all beings by the perspective of the ultimate view that phenomena is empty.

Through transcendent awareness we destroy our grasping at phenomena as real. The mind is the creator of Samsara and Nirvana. Buddha saw the very nature of mind. All phenomena and appreances come under one's own power through this awareness.

Prajna Paramita - mother of the Buddhas, perfection of transcendent awareness. The natural state of mind is empty, the mind is the source in which Nirvana and Samsara manifest. One should strive to realize the natural state of mind through transcendent awareness.

One gives rise to awareness to this through listening and contemplation. The essence of those teachings arose in the mindstreams of the buddhas, and the people gathered those teachings of the Buddha later in written form. Buddha himself was abiding in the state of samadhi meditation - that's where he received the message of dharma.
Buddha gave rise to the appropriateness of teaching. His experience was the ultimate nature of mind. If one looks outward, it's difficult to realize the nature of phenomena. If one looks inward, it becomes easier. The Buddha recognized the nature of mind and the natural state of Nirvana and Samsara through samadhi meditation. Chenrezig's mind is inseparable from Buddha. Avalokiteshvara contemplated on the meaning of everything. Through meditation we may understand this.
Those who have not realized the natural state of mind give rise to the notion of ignorance and self-grasping.

The body is made of five different elements that are not inherently existent. The individual's body is empty because it turns into dust at the time of death, and we are reborn into the 6 lower realms due to self-grasping. Without any real existence, we let go of self-grasping. If one does not realize the empty essence of the mind one will be suffering. On the basis of our body we give rise to feelings, discrimination etc. It is called grasping to the "I", e.g. "this is water for me to drink", "this is my cup", "this isn't yours, it's mine" and so on. We grasp to every object we regard as "ours", and when it isn't ours then we suffer so much that it is as if they hurt out very body.

There is a union of clarity and emptiness when we recognize the natural state of mind. On the basis of form we give rise to the five senses, we experience delusion and suffering. But the five senses are without any inherent existence.
Consciousness alone is the seed of these senses. This consciousness is transformed into awareness if we recognize the natural state of mind. The empty nature of consciousness is the like the empty nature of phenomena (read the 22nd verse of the 37 Practices of a Bodhisattva). There is no meaning at all to samsaric phenomena. All phenomena are without any inherent existence."


*Important side note 1: These diary entries do not reflect every word the teacher said, and there may be some mistakes or misunderstandings, for which I am sorry and accept responsibility. In a few instances, I have interjected my own interpretation or explanation.

*Important side note 2: I realize that I have not updated in a while and I apologize for that. I'm trying to balance the time between the daily homework that I get from my university and the fieldwork. I may become busy sometimes so please bare with me.
I do try to update whenever I can and I still have a lot of entries in my diary that need to be written in this blog. So keep checking, there will be more to read! The second lecture on the Heart Sutra will be up soon.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...