Thread: Heart Sutra
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Old 04-27-2007, 11:15 PM   #18
Erick Mead
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Re: Heart Sutra

Fred Little wrote: View Post
Actually, I think the difference is that Buddhism is empirical in its mode of doctrinal development, while Abrahamism is merely revelatory. That is a different question than that you address above.
-- And a dualism that I did not posit ...

Fred Little wrote: View Post
To oversimplify, as we are both doing here, the core of that dispute turns on the question of whether or not this type of understanding is in accord with the third of the "four seals" that determine whether a teaching is Buddhist or not, to wit:

All phenomena are empty, all phenomena are without inherent existence.
Empty is a mighty big word -- containing all things and no-thing and boundless room for more besides. " 'Vanity of vanities, all is vanity,' saith the Preacher..." Phenomena may be without inherent existence . Noumena is; it has inherent existence beyond all category, which is the basic point.

Fred Little wrote: View Post
Our current disagreement on these points notwithstanding, ...
To disagree requires there to be a real difference, which, for the sake of our pleasant conversation I will gladly indulge you.

Fred Little wrote: View Post
I commend your efforts to find what is good and useful, as well as your efforts to establish some areas of deep consonace between very different approaches, not least because it can't help but lead you in the right direction in time. And what's a kalpa or two among friends?
We are not so far. The grace of the Lord is indeed, both rich and subtle, abounding in patience and compassion for those who persevere in faith, hope and love.

What does that mean, exactly? Faith is not a reference to phenomena, of this or that tenet of belief or confession, but of innate knowledge (to borrow the Neo-Confucian term) of the noumenal Subject. As the Cloud of Unknowing suggests, it is known only through acting to remove and negate the very phenomena of perception that cloud its true Face: "Be still, and know that I AM God." That is faith, even though it cannot ever be known as phenomena are perceived, else it is but a mistaken phenomenon.

As faith is the assurance of things not seen (phenomena) Hope is the assurance of providence in the purity of existing, unclouded by the veil of past and future concern, which have either ceased to be or have not yet been, and in either event have no existence now. Hope is the assertion of this moment in itself as completely sufficient to itself.

Love, though, love is the mysterium tremendum. The height, the depth, the teeming seas and the empty places. We cannot earn it, command it, or make it. It is beyond us utterly to obtain. It is a grace freely given and Love lies only in our power to give it to others , never to ourselves else we make Self an object which is perversion of sense. Love requires that we give away freely the only real thing we possess, our inmost selves. And then we are truly gone, gone in awakening and born to new life.

"Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God. That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. Do not marvel that I said to you, `You must be born anew.' The wind blows where it wills, and you hear the sound of it, but you do not know whence it comes or whither it goes; so it is with every one who is born of the Spirit." John 3:8.

"Gone, gone, gone beyond, gone utterly beyond: Awaken! Praise!"
Maha-vidya mantra, Heart Sutra.

BTW, if you have the occasion to read Martin Palmer's "Jesus Sutras" you should. It contains several fully translated primary sources of the evangelization of China in the 7-9th centuries. It is not directly on point with the Heart Sutra, but it is a fascinating view of the process of Christianity coming to terms with Buddhism and the serious moral problems of karma and rebirth on more or less equal terms during the T'ang. Thus, it shows a somewhat different view of the correspondences that exist between the teachings than was appreciated from the later and typically very parochial approach. The same cannot be said of St. Francis Xavier, who came initially preaching God in terms of the "Dainichi" to Japan. It was some time before it was entirely clear to the Japanese that Christianty was not just a novel mikkyo.


Erick Mead
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