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This Week’s Quotation: 

Form is no other than emptiness; emptiness no other than form. Form is exactly emptiness; emptiness is exactly form. Sensation, conception, discrimination, and consciousness are also like this.    

~ An excerpt from an English translation of the Buddhist Heart Sutra

Emptiness

Terri McCartney
Soul Care Facilitator

Buddhists regard sutras as records of the oral teachings of Gautama Buddha. The Heart Sutra is among the classic Buddhist scriptures. The Sanskrit term for Heart Sutra is Prajñāpāramitāhṛdaya, which means “The Heart of the Perfection of Wisdom Sutra.” 

As demonstrated in the excerpt, the central theme of the Heart Sutra is emptiness. Buddhism teaches that emptiness is just a word that points to the fact that no matter what we say or think about something, it does not fully or correctly capture the wholeness of that something. This is because our mind is conditioned to think in a polarized fashion. Yet, when we consider the emptiness of things, it encourages us out of the box of good and bad and right and wrong thinking. The Heart Sutra deconstructs our unquestioned ideas and unexamined beliefs and encourages a reorientation of our thinking and way of perceiving and experiencing reality. 

Ultimately, the Heart Sutra is an invitation to free our minds. When our thoughts aren’t clinging or pushing away at things, we are truly free. Then our mind becomes like a cloudless sky—remarkable in its empty beauty, a blank canvas ready to be filled by the Divine mind.

The Heart Sutra completes with Gate, Gate, Paragate, Parasamgate, Bodhi Svaha! In English, this is generally interpreted to mean Gone, gone, entirely beyond (thought, identification, time), Awakened! So be it!


Mindful Explorations:

Are you comfortable sitting with emptiness? Are you aware when your mind becomes preoccupied with something? Do any of those preoccupations focus on past or future or represent either a clinging to or a pushing away? Without judgment, just observe how often your mind is either clinging to or pushing away. Do you notice any difference in your energy and well-being when your mind is arguing with whatever life has placed before you?  

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