The Heart Sutra (a paraphrase)

Seminary student Karl Kanbergs recently did a lovely paraphrase of the Heart Sutra as part of his seminary project:

The heart is a spiritual warrior, steadfast. 

The head sways with the breeze.

Listen! With compassion the heart explains, while practicing wisdom — 

and seeing the world, of suffering free:

Flower petals drop, one by one. 

Is the flower the petal, the stem, the color or center?

Form — a visible shape, a thing as it is, is empty of a separate self. 

Yet the non-separate parts make a flower, if but for a little while. 

The shape, the color, the texture, the fragrance: form is emptiness and emptiness form. 

The Buddha held a flower.  Smile! 

Your world, oh you who sways in the breeze, — your, feelings, perceptions, thought-memory and consciousness  are also like this. The flower is not just a separate thing. Where does the flower live if  not in your feelings, perceptions and thought-memories?   You are the flower and vice versa.

Swaying so hard up in a tree, hold on! The past rides on a rusted renegade train;  the future

is a mad orange fool. From white hot to stone cold, take a wild ride to the far side of emptiness. It neither comes, nor goes, is neither perfect or imperfect, and does not get smaller nor bigger. 

No attachment, no self, no hiding, no seeking — known like the clear sky. 

The clouds travelling by, gently dance on your eyes.

Wind whistles past the bark of the cypress  tree.

Scent of the ocean and taste of salt spray.  Body feels wetness

Were you by the seashore or were those things inside you?

“Your”  eye, ear, nose, tongue, body and mind depict a picture. 

Where is the paint, brush, canvas and painter?

We are chasing mirages, as there is nothing that can be truly held or grasped. 

If you know you can’t touch it or grasp it or have it, that “it” will lose its grip and you will be relieved of the sparkling hell– no birth nor death.   Imagine being free of concepts and not clinging to a thing.  See those old spiritual warriors, bodhisattvas.  If they conjure up things, they conjure up causes and conditions, conceive of paths, knowledge and attainment, not to mention write volumes of scripture. But how can there be words, a path, knowledge or attainment when there is no dust on the mirror? Emptiness is just a metaphor. 

There is no need to reason or try to acquire,  as both existence and non-existence are part of the mire. All bodhisattvas rely on the transcendental wisdom known as prajna paramita.  Whatever they believed in was just another flavor of delusion, but accepting all things and conditions, with nothing to grasp and ease in ones vision, there is no fear in leaving  behind the world of illusion, thus  Nirvana.   No” I,” “me” or “mine. ” This is saving others and open compassion. 

Stand on the border, look across to the other side. Edge a little closer to the holy mystery. All buddhas are beyond space and time and emanate from  prajna paramita and as such are the state of unconditional enlightenment itself. 

Know the prajana paramita as your real mother, who won’t let you suffer. When words lose their meaning there will still be a name.  Chant the mother of all mantras and be one with it: “Gate, Gate, Paragate, Parasamgate, Bodhi Svaha.”  (Gone, Gone, gone over, completely gone over, to the other side. So be it!}

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