Prologue—The Heart Sutra

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Heart of the Perfection of Noble Wisdom

Ārya Prajñāpāramitā Hŗdaya 

Prologue

Homage to the Holy Perfection of Wisdom! 

Thus have I heard. At one time The Lord was staying at Rajagriha on Vulture Peak Mountain together with a great host of monks and a great host of Bodhisattvas. At that time, the Lord was composed in the exalted concentration of Deepest Samadhis called Profound Illumination.

I have chosen the “long” version of the Heart Sutra; long in the sense that a prologue and epilogue are added which attests to the Transcendent Presence of the Tathagata. Usually it is the Lord Buddha who delivers the Dharma-teaching, but this time the Lord’s presence, while never undermined, is a secondary motif. The blessed Maha-Bodhisattva Avalokitesvara takes center stage in this sutra, and the shorter and more popular version begins with his introduction, signaling that he is to be the sutras leading propagator and spiritual guide. Vulture Peak Mountain is a common location wherein the Tathagata usually expounds the Buddhadharma, but this time the Lord Buddha is to be a spectator—though not a common one.

The Buddha’s Samadhis is like no other. It penetrates into the very Heart of Suchness and reveals the equipoise of emptiness. Essentially, the Lord’s Samadhis is the spiritual platform from which the Heart Sutra emanates—and this occurs within the Great Sambhogakayic Continuum, the very Visionary Spiritual Realm wherein the gathered monks and Bodhisattvas and Maha-Bodhisattvas are in mystic-union (through the Lord’s own one-pointedness of Mind) with the Profound Samadhis of the Tathagatas. In this sense they share in the Lord’s own Sambhogakayic Revelation. This is why I prefer this longer version of the Heart Sutra; without this singular-prologue the full import of the sutra is lost. Avalokitesvara just doesn’t appear as if out of nowhere to expound the Buddhadharma of Noble Wisdom, no he is part and parcel of the Blessed One’s own Sambhogakayic Vision. The entry into Noble Wisdom and its Exposition on the altar of inconceivable Sacred Emptiness would be a self-empty affair indeed, if not originating from the Absorption of Illuminative Dharmakayic Unborn Light within the Dharma-womb of the *Tathagatakaya* Itself.

*The perfected embodied supra-mindfulness of the Tathagatas

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