The Heart (of Wisdom) Sutra
|Vulture's Peak, Rajgir, India, setting for Heart Sutra (Wonderlane/flickr.com)|
O what an awakening, so it is!
Editors, Wisdom Quarterly
They did not actually happen then get retold by Ananda in the way earlier sutras (found in the Nikayas) did. Although this is the case, these Sanskrit textual works of art powerfully point at truth.
Visionaries that came after the Buddha wanted to condense and epitomize the Dharma, the Buddha's Teaching (mixed with the Sanatan Dharma, the "eternal truth" as promoted by Hinduism). They focused on and expanded on subtle points of ultimate truth. And what is Buddhism's most significant and subtle point is the Doctrine of Not-Self).
Shariputra, whom the Buddha named his chief male disciple "foremost in wisdom" in earlier schools (counterpart of the Buddha's chief female disciple foremost in wisdom, Khema), is here treated as dense and in need of schooling by the compassionate Avalokiteshvara/Kwan Yin.
In this, the most famous of all extra-canonical works, compassion (as embodied by Lord Avalokiteshvara, who is later transformed into the Buddhist Goddess of Compassion Guanyin or Kwan Yin) gives him Shariputra that.
Northern Asia as a whole borrowed a great deal from Buddhism and made it its own. So much so that people often confuse other Asian traditions -- such as Taoism, Shinto, Bon, animism, and so on -- with the Buddha-Dharma.
Readers may be shocked at these revelations. After all, Mahayana is the only kind of "Buddhism" most have ever heard of in various cultures: Zen, Vajrayana, Pureland, Ch'an, Mithraism, and even Messianic Christianity.
Some sutras are art
|"Sleeping Peasants" 1919 by Pablo Picasso|
“Empty yourself of everything. Let the mind become still. The 10,000 things rise and fall while the [empty process that refers to itself as] Self watches their return.
“They grow and flourish and then return to the source. Returning to the source is stillness, which is the way of nature. The way of nature is unchanging. Knowing constancy is insight. Not knowing constancy leads to disaster. Knowing constancy, the mind is open. With an open mind, you will be openhearted. Being openhearted, you will act royally. Being royal, you will attain the divine. Being divine, you will be at one with the Tao. Being at one with the Tao is eternal. And though the body dies, the Tao will never pass away” (The Tao Te Ching).
- Dalai Lama on the Heart Sutra (shambhalasun.com)