The heart of the matter

The Heart Sutra is a Mahayana Buddhist sutra. Its Sanskrit name Prajnaparamita Hṛdaya literally translates to “Heart of the Perfection of Transcendent Wisdom”.
This sutra basically says:
When a person has perfected his wisdom he can see that the five classes of common sense entities have no real existence.
The emptiness of thought objects and events
The wise person sees that:
– form and no-form are two sides of the same coin, there cannot be one without the other. So with feelings, perceptions, impulses and consciousness.
– these entities, being non-existent, cannot be created or destroyed, cannot be pure or impure, cannot increase or decrease.

The following entities do not exist of themselves, but rather are creations of the unenlightened mind:
– forms, feelings, perceptions, impulses and consciousness
– sense organs, bodies and minds
– objects sensed or thought
– ignorance and the extinction of ignorance
– old age and death and the extinction of old age and death
– suffering, accumulation, annihilation
– the path to enlightenment
– attainment of perfection and non-attainment of perfection

The enlightened state:
After the perfection of wisdom the mind has no hindrances or obstacles and therefore has no fear. Having gone beyond troublesome thoughts the mind is at peace.

The essence of wisdom:
In the past, present and future it is the same, the person who perfects his wisdom finds peace of mind.

Open to all:
It is open to all people to perfect their wisdom and to transcend suffering. All that is required is going beyond common sense. The catch phrase for this is “gone beyond”.

So while this sutta may be from the Mahayana tradition, I see it as very much the same message as we see in the Theravada tradition and also in Christianity. The heart, the wisdom that goes beyond thinking or feeling. This is a lesson in love, compassion and genuine equanimity.
And personally, I find more and more that it is my judgement of good and bad, desirable or repulsive, that prohibits the heart from being fully open. Desire is only the flip-side of aversion, and as long as there is one there is the other. I see this duality as the illusion that prevents my enlightenment, and engaging in a life that is entirely of the heart.

Each day we all have an opportunity to gain clarity and wisdom. But so long as we choose to separate this from that, good from bad, like from dislike, we will live in samsara and face the fires in our minds.

May you be well, happy and peaceful.