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Essence of the Heart Sutra

The 5 Aspects of existence:


Form, Feeling, Perception, Mental Formation and Consciousness

Among more than countless beings in this world, only a handful of them are "enli
ghtened ones" who have understood the ultimate truth in life. We refer to each o
f them as ''Buddha''. Let's presume that the world they live in as ''The Other S
hore''
Most of the rest of all sentient beings mistake the real essence of life and liv
e in distorted illusions of this world. Let's call their world ''This Shore''. P
eople who live on This Shore are preoccupied with the subjective ego-self. At an
y space and time they happen to be in, they hold onto their sense of ego-self li
ke a needle falling into a bucket of water not willing to dissolve into the wate
r of space and time. As long as the ego-self, "I", exists, discriminations in th
is space and time exist, such as good vs. bad, high status vs. low status. As lo
ng as the ego-self exists there is ''they''. Through a person's own senses, eyes
, ears, nose, tongue, body, mind, information is received from the external worl
d. Sight, sound, smell, taste touch and all other phenomena these information en
ter a person's inner world. After the information is transferred to the cortex o
f the brain, it is stored in the information center, and then compared and contr
asted. New information is compared with existing information and the ego-self's
ever-changing emotional values are added to analyze, deduce and reason. And fina
lly, it comes to the decision to act. Therefore, these inner responses and decis
ion-making processes produce their results. This inner world is ever-changing in
response to external stimuli and is referred to as sensations, perceptions, dec
isions and awareness. All of the external world including the self's own physica
l body which is outside of the inner mind is referred to as the material world.
The external material world and the sensations, perceptions, decisions and aware
ness of the inner world are referred to as ''the five aspects of existence''. Al
l living beings exist in the relative world of ego-self and objects. Therefore,
there is the contrast of big vs. small, Beauty vs. ugliness. The mind distinguis
hes fortune from misfortune.
When people live with this attitude of separating ego-self from time and place
we refer this phenomenon as living in the ''REALM OF FORM''

Emptiness

The enlightened ones who live spiritually on The Other Shore have a different at
titude
toward their lives in this world. Whatever place they happened to live in they d
issolve themselves into that space without any ego involvement. Whatever time th
ey happened to live in they dissolve into that time without any ego involvement
as well.

"A nice hot day. Perfect for sun bathing". When an enlightened one observes flow
ers,
"I am the flower. I am the fragrance". When an enlightened one listens to the ra
in,
"I am the rain. I am the sound of the rain". When an enlightened one gets born
grows old, gets sick and dies. "I am birth! I am aging! I am sickness! I am deat
h!"
An enlightened one lets go of the ego and sincerely embraces all changes in the
external world. And mindfully appreciates any moment of space and time.
An enlightened one's attitude toward living in this world is like a grain of sal
t
dissolving into a bucket of water. A grain of salt dissolves into water as count
less molecules. Although the ego-self disappears every part of the water is salt
y. In the water bucket of space and time, there is no more ego-self to be found.
Instead, it has dissolved into one with the entirety of space and time. An enli
ghtened one is like endless light that fills up all space. Like an endless lifespan that lasts throughout all time. We refer to this attitude of high conscious
ness in living as: Emptiness!

Form and Emptiness

If the world is like a big meadow and everyone is a blade of grass. If you consi
der yourself to be a tiny blade of grass, you are living in the ''Realm of Form'
' on This Shore. "I am a tiny blade of grass!" If you consider yourself to be on
e with the meadow, then you are living in the ''Realm of Emptiness'' on The Othe
r Shore. "I am the meadow!" If the world is like a vast ocean and everyone is a
drop of water. If you consider yourself to be a drop of water, you are living in
the "Realm of Form".
"I am one drop of water in a vast ocean." If you consider yourself to be one wit
h the vast ocean then you are living in the "Realm of Emptiness". "I am the vast
ocean!"
The so-called This Shore and The Other Shore are as a matter of fact in the same
physical space and time. "How boring..."."How serene..." The only difference li
es in the mindset (This Shore or The Other Shore) adopted by those living in any
particular space and time. And thus the quality of life between them differ sig
nificantly.
"How noisy..."."What a delightful sound!" Therefore, the Buddha Shakyamuni says
:
"Form is not different from Emptiness." "Emptiness is not different from form."
"Form is Emptiness and Emptiness is Form." A human being in any space and time
should be like a grain of salt dissolved in a bucket of water. The moment a grai
n of salt lands into a bucket of water, there is ego-self and there is water. "I
am a grain of salt!" After it dissolves into the water, there is no more pure s
alt or pure water.

Ego disappears as self dissolves into every part of that particular space and ti
me.
Every part of the water has me. I am one with the water. Dissolve the ego-self i
nto a bucket of water. You therefore possess the entire bucket of water. Dissolv
e the ego-self into the space and time you happen to be in and you possess the e
ntire space and time. Most people are always carrying the burden of the past and
anticipating the future while missing life at the present moment. Be a person w
ho dissolves into the present moment. Do not be a slave who carries the burden o
f the past and anticipates the future. Be like a boat that flows in time and spa
ce. Wherever the water flows to, the boat will there at the same place too where
ver the boat is at, the body will be there at the same place too wherever the bo
dy is, the mind will be there at that place too

The path of enlightenment

This Chinese character (?) represents " Space" (Up and down and in all direction
s).
It is inclusive of everything from the nearest to the furthest away and thus, th
ere is no end or boundary. This Chinese character (?) represents ''the beginning
less of time to the present moment". It comprises time from the first beginning
to the last ending inclusive of all time periods. And thus, there is no starting
point and no ending point in time. When Bodhisattva Avalokiteshvara utilized a
selfless mindset to obtain the most perfect and profound wisdom, he realized tha
t everything in the universe is of one essence and nothing can truly exist indep
endently. The external material world and one's inner sensations, perceptions, d
ecisions and awareness all flow and change constantly in space and time. One sho
uld dissolve the ego of self into the unity of space and time. The concept and p
ractice of being part of the universal whole is defined as ''Emptiness'' When on
e understands and appreciates that everything is empty and puts this into practi
ce, by completely allowing oneself to immerse into the realm of emptiness. There
after, there is no more hardship and misfortune as both are sufferings generated
by the distorted viewpoint of the ego-self. Buddha Shakyamuni said to his disci
ple Sariputra: "Sariputra, we often see external entities as completely independ
ent and separated from us. In reality, all objects are one with the same ultimat
e essence and this essence is inseparable from any entities. Nothing can be inde
pendent of this ultimate essence. And this includes your body and mind, as well
as sensations are all part of this essence. This ultimate essence of the univers
e is referred to as "emptiness". All entities you see may be referred to as form
. As a result, Emptiness and Form are not different. Form is Emptiness, and Empt
iness is Form. Both are not different from each other. This is also the case for
all our sensations, perceptions, decisions and awareness. They are all included
in the essence of emptiness. Sariputra, all of your observations and opinions o
riginate from the point of view of the ego-self!" Phenomena such as Birth and De
ath, Beauty and Ugliness, Abundance and Scarcity are all generated from one's in
dividual point of view!
Thus, if you are able to see the world without any particular viewpoint or pre-e
xisting attitudes. When I observe a flower, I am mindful of the flower. When I o
bserve a butterfly I am mindful of the butterfly at any time. You can dissolve t
he ego-self into that particular time. At any space, you can dissolve the ego-se
lf into that space. When I am in the water, I am mindful of the water. When I am
with a school of fish, I am mindful of these fishes. Transform the ego-self int
o countless molecules and dissolve into any space and time you happen to be in.

All this time there is no more separated ego-self and no more separated universe
phenomena, space and time. This is like a grain of salt dissolved into a bucket
of water. Although the grain of salt has disappeared, Every part of the water i
s now a bit salty. No more pure salt and no more pure water. They became one com
plete whole. As such, there are no more activities of the ego-self. No more use
of the six senses to view the external world from an ego-self. And thus one will
not have all of the distorted information obtained from the senses. No attempt
to understand ''death'' from the standpoint of ''life'', no illusion of ''presen
ce'' from the standpoint of ''absence''. Without distorted viewpoints, there wil
l be no more discrimination. There will be no such thing as ''causes'' and there
fore no such thing as the cultivation of seeds (causes). There will be no such t
hing as ''result'' and therefore, no such concerns of 'harvesting the fruit (res
ults) .The meaning of life is found in completely dissolving into the process of
living and no longer focusing on any specific goals in mind. With such an under
standing, one will no longer be troubled by the problems of aging and death.

(1) Understanding what Suffering is


(2) Discovering the Origin of Suffering
(3) Arriving at the Cessation of Suffering
(4) Practicing the Path to the End of Suffering."

These are the Four Noble Truths. When we understand the true nature of existence
which is an ever-changing and endless cycle of life and death and when we disso
lve into this process of existence there are no more problems of birth, aging, s
ickness and death and no more Four Noble Truths. This principle appears profound
. However, there is nothing profound about it. This principle clearly lies in fr
ont of everyone's eyes. It is just that most beings are ignorant of it. One who
practices this principle would appear to have a lot to gain. But what is there t
o be gained? This principle basically exists the as way it is. It is just that m
ost people don't know how to use it.
The enlightened ones have realized these principles and clearly see everything a
s they truly are. The enlightened mind is therefore freed and no longer influenc
ed by distorted points of view After letting go of one's ego-self and the sense
of discrimination, one no longer possesses fear, desire and fantasy. and no long
er lives a life influenced by a distorted point of view. Because an enlightened
one knows that all distortions of existence are generated from an ego's selfish
viewpoint. Therefore, an enlightened one's mind is like the water in a lake whic
h gradually settles down from muddiness to complete clarity and serenity. This i
s what is meant by "The Other Shore". All enlightened ones from the past, presen
t, and future follow this kind of wisdom to reach from This Shore of worldly lif
e to The Other Shore of highest consciousness. Cleansing oneself of all distorte
d attitudes and illusions means fully reaching The Other Shore. Therefore, we sh
ould know that such utmost and perfect wisdom is a method of ultimate illuminati
on, A method of supreme excellence and an outstanding method without comparisons
! This approach can alleviate all suffering and free one from delusions generate
d from distorted viewpoints. This method is realistic and practical. Everybody c
an adopt it to reach The Other Shore.