« No practice without Sutras | Main | The truth of our beliefs »

November 22, 2009


Feed You can follow this conversation by subscribing to the comment feed for this post.

If you believe 'The Heart Sutra' does not contradict the canon of the Buddha is it fair to say you are certain that it is not a Sutra and appear also to imply that it is 'Devaluing the canon'?

Under these circumstances and as many Buddhists believe that 'The Heart Sutra' is a sutra and do not become nihilists having heard, reflected and meditated upon it, wouldn't it be wiser to exclude this as a subject of debate?

I can’t see how this post would help Buddhism given the other choices of subject to discuss. I see the danger in a nihilistic interpretation but that is why I believe it is of vital importance to rely on qualified Buddhist teachers who are able to point out the 'Middle Way'.


My remarks were directed at those who basically ignore many important Sutras other than the Heart or Kalamas Sutta. I found it curious that the two just mentioned seem to be popular and only guessed the reason. I mentioned the provenance of the Heart as a curious side issue.

As for your last remark Buddhism by qualified teachers is not without its share problems which are too many to go into now. In light of this, we must always keep in mind the Four Reliances found in the Catu-pratiśaraṇa-sūtra.

As to the Heart Sutra.
The Heart sutra is a very small section of the lager Prajnya-paramita collection. This collection comes in different sizes. Over time it has been elaborated on or condensed, depending on the scribe.
The Prajnya-paramita-collection is a series of teachings on emptiness and probably the first collection of thoughts that can be styled Mahayana.
Both the Heart Sutra and the Diamond Sutra are part and parcel of the said Prajnya-paramita-collection. Hence both cannot be called "sutra" but should be understood as a condensation of the main topic of the main collection, just as the versified parts of other Mahayana sutras are condensations of the main text.

This is the way of things.

They come to you by merit and vanish by the same. In truth nothing comes and nothing goes. There is Mind Only.
The sutras are but an extension of Buddhas voice, echoing through time, reaching out to those filled with enough merit to recieve it. What happens next depends solely on virtue.

Once upon a time they were conveyed by mouth to the common (and light to the aryans), later and till this day they were available by letter and tomorrow in twenty years, by an AI processor based on quantum processing, presenting the Buddha before the viewer whom becomes a virtual participant in an epos long gone, at the feet of the great one, there and then tasting the words from the awakened.

For each generation the words of the Buddha finds a new way to reach the well merited. One cannot change this way, the way changes ones self.

Does 'the Heart Sutra' contradict the Buddha's Dharma?

If so can you explain the contradiction?

Do you believe that the 'Heart Sutra' contradicts the teachings of the Buddha and if so can you give an example?


No, of course not. I know what it is saying. But many modern Buddhists read it nihilistically, so are attracted to it; and making matters even worse won't let go of their "voidness" position. In addition, my remark about it not being a real Sutra is an issue Jan Nattier gave a great deal of attention to in a paper she published in the JIABS 15 (2), entitled: The Heart Sutra: A Chinese Apocryphal Text?

The comments to this entry are closed.

My Photo