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Old 01-21-2005, 10:15 PM   #1
Thomas Ambrose
 
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Heart Sutra

Hello, I am not sure if this has much to do with Aikido, but I have noticed that Zen and Aikido are often shared interests by many people, so I figured I would ask this here...

Recently, while doing Zazen at my dojo, the Heart Sutra was chanted. I am interested in learning more about it, especially the timing and pronounciation of chanting it. So does anybody knows where I can find an audio file of the Heart Sutra. I have found text files online of it in Kanji and "English" spellings of the words in Japanese, but so far the only thing remotely close to a sound file has been the Heart Sutra mixed in with some techno-music.

Anyway, if anyone has any suggestions, I would greatly appreciate it! Thanks!
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Old 01-22-2005, 09:22 AM   #2
Fred Little
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Re: Heart Sutra

Quote:
Thomas Ambrose wrote:
Hello, I am not sure if this has much to do with Aikido, but I have noticed that Zen and Aikido are often shared interests by many people, so I figured I would ask this here...

Recently, while doing Zazen at my dojo, the Heart Sutra was chanted. I am interested in learning more about it, especially the timing and pronounciation of chanting it. So does anybody knows where I can find an audio file of the Heart Sutra. I have found text files online of it in Kanji and "English" spellings of the words in Japanese, but so far the only thing remotely close to a sound file has been the Heart Sutra mixed in with some techno-music.

Anyway, if anyone has any suggestions, I would greatly appreciate it! Thanks!
The timing and pronunciation varies from country to country, language to language, tradition to tradition, and lineage to lineage.

The text used throughout East Asia is written in Chinese characters, used in some places to represent the sound of the "original" Sanskrit (for example "Maka Hannya Haramita" for "Mahaprajnaparamita" and the closing mantra of the sutra.), and used in other places to translate the words of the original into Chinese.

From there, the transliteration of Chinese in either Korean or Japanese produces variations of pronunciation. I've got several taped versions which range from the equivalent of a leisurely ramble down a country road to a breakneck sprint.

So, with the Heart Sutra, as with aikido -- video or audio tape may be a helpful reference, but it's no substitute for direct instruction in the methods used in your place of training.

That said, here are some links I hope you find useful, though neither leads to a functioning audio file in Japanese:

http://members.ozemail.com.au/~mooncharts/heartsutra/

http://dir.nodeworks.com/Society/Rel...s/Heart_Sutra/

Best regards,

Fred Little
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Old 03-01-2007, 10:47 AM   #3
ReggieT
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Re: Heart Sutra

Thomas,
Here is a link to the heart sutra in English. You can navigate from the heart sutra to the rest of this site. The prajnaparamita section has commentaries on the heart sutra, as well as longer teachings and sutras on prajnaparamita. This is one of the best buddhist text sites I have seen in terms of simplicity, navigability, and organization. The deep study of the Heart Sutra could make for a lifetime of study. Enjoy. I agree with Fred that nothing can take the place of direct instruction. However, it is definintely worth your time to study commentaries to help amend your mind-soil. Many Blessings, Much love
Reggie
http://www.empty-universe.com/prajna...heartsutra.htm
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Old 03-01-2007, 12:34 PM   #4
gdandscompserv
 
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Re: Heart Sutra

I think I'm gonna go to Aikido-Ai’s annual Memorial Weekend Retreat at Mt. Baldy. It looks like a lot of fun. Anybody else gone and what did you think about it?
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Old 03-01-2007, 01:15 PM   #5
Mike Galante
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Cool Re: Heart Sutra

Quote:
Thomas Ambrose wrote: View Post
Hello, I am not sure if this has much to do with Aikido, but I have noticed that Zen and Aikido are often shared interests by many people, so I figured I would ask this here...

Recently, while doing Zazen at my dojo, the Heart Sutra was chanted. I am interested in learning more about it, especially the timing and pronounciation of chanting it.

Anyway, if anyone has any suggestions, I would greatly appreciate it! Thanks!
Hi Tom, I agree with Fred and Reggie, a teacher is best.
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Old 03-01-2007, 01:44 PM   #6
SeiserL
 
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Re: Heart Sutra

Quote:
Ricky Wood wrote: View Post
I think I'm gonna go to Aikido-Ai's annual Memorial Weekend Retreat at Mt. Baldy. It looks like a lot of fun.
Give my best to McGgouirk Sensei and his people. He is one of my favorites and they are some of the best to make you feel welcomed.

I always told him I would attend if he didn't do it on my wife's birthday. Even a Zen lunatic isn't that crazy.

Empty the mind, you will be filled.

Lynn Seiser PhD
Yondan Aikido & FMA/JKD
We do not rise to the level of our expectations, but fall to the level of our training. Train well. KWATZ!
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Old 04-26-2007, 10:08 AM   #7
ReggieT
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Re: Heart Sutra

"Hello, I am not sure if this has much to do with Aikido, but I have noticed that Zen and Aikido are often shared interests by many people, so I figured I would ask this here...

Recently, while doing Zazen at my dojo, the Heart Sutra was chanted"

In terms of having something to do with Aikido: One of Stevens Sensei's books said that O Sensei chanted the heart sutra every day. I believe it was Secrets of Aikido that said this. Besides that, the Heart Sutra is considered by many to be the heart of all sutras. It is the heart essence, the distillation of all the prajnaparamita (transcendent wisdom) sutras. Transcendent wisdom is one of the two wings of enlightenment, the other being Bodhiccita, or infinite love. Further, one gives birth to the other, they cross cultivate, and the realization of the deepest truths of the heart sutra, i.e. transcendent wisdom, will automatically awaken infinite love because they are impossible to separate. In terms of Aikido, on a philosophical point, that is what it is a all about. We cultivate a non violent art. At the highest level, we lose our self grasping and generate a concern for the attacker. We wish that that attacker may attain realization, rather than percieve that persona as a threat to be destroyed. We try to help that attacker to the other side, to awakening, while protecting life. This is both Bodhicitta and Transcendent wisdom. I am not yet there, but at this point, I believe this is correct view. We'll see how my outlook develops over the years. Thank you all. Many blessings, Much love, May you attain supreme awakening and fullest realization of infinite peace.
Reggie
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Old 04-26-2007, 10:30 AM   #8
Mike Galante
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Talking Re: Heart Sutra

Quote:
Reggie Townley wrote: View Post
"Hello, I am not sure if this has much to do with Aikido, but I have noticed that Zen and Aikido are often shared interests by many people, so I figured I would ask this here...

Recently, while doing Zazen at my dojo, the Heart Sutra was chanted"

In terms of having something to do with Aikido: One of Stevens Sensei's books said that O Sensei chanted the heart sutra every day. I believe it was Secrets of Aikido that said this. Besides that, the Heart Sutra is considered by many to be the heart of all sutras. It is the heart essence, the distillation of all the prajnaparamita (transcendent wisdom) sutras. Transcendent wisdom is one of the two wings of enlightenment, the other being Bodhiccita, or infinite love. Further, one gives birth to the other, they cross cultivate, and the realization of the deepest truths of the heart sutra, i.e. transcendent wisdom, will automatically awaken infinite love because they are impossible to separate. In terms of Aikido, on a philosophical point, that is what it is a all about. We cultivate a non violent art. At the highest level, we lose our self grasping and generate a concern for the attacker. We wish that that attacker may attain realization, rather than percieve that persona as a threat to be destroyed. We try to help that attacker to the other side, to awakening, while protecting life. This is both Bodhicitta and Transcendent wisdom. I am not yet there, but at this point, I believe this is correct view. We'll see how my outlook develops over the years. Thank you all. Many blessings, Much love, May you attain supreme awakening and fullest realization of infinite peace.
Reggie
You must be a fine fellow Reggie, keep up the love talk at the dojo, the martial artists might catch on! I know that it seems that since it is really a deep truth and wisdom, that people cannot really resisit it, esp since it was the masters main point of departure from the main stream of MA.
Look me up if you are ever out this way, we can train together.
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Old 04-26-2007, 03:29 PM   #9
Erick Mead
 
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Re: Heart Sutra

Quote:
Reggie Townley wrote: View Post
In terms of having something to do with Aikido: One of Stevens Sensei's books said that O Sensei chanted the heart sutra every day. I believe it was Secrets of Aikido that said this. Besides that, the Heart Sutra is considered by many to be the heart of all sutras. It is the heart essence, the distillation of all the prajnaparamita (transcendent wisdom) sutras. Transcendent wisdom is one of the two wings of enlightenment, the other being Bodhiccita, or infinite love. Further, one gives birth to the other, they cross cultivate, and the realization of the deepest truths of the heart sutra, i.e. transcendent wisdom, will automatically awaken infinite love because they are impossible to separate. In terms of Aikido, on a philosophical point, that is what it is a all about. We cultivate a non violent art. At the highest level, we lose our self grasping and generate a concern for the attacker. We wish that that attacker may attain realization, rather than percieve that persona as a threat to be destroyed. We try to help that attacker to the other side, to awakening, while protecting life. This is both Bodhicitta and Transcendent wisdom. I am not yet there, but at this point, I believe this is correct view. We'll see how my outlook develops over the years. Thank you all. Many blessings, Much love, May you attain supreme awakening and fullest realization of infinite peace.
Reggie
If you have not already, you should take the opportunity to read Aelred Graham's Zen Catholicism. It very much tracks the theme laid here in parallels of Buddhist teaching to very orthodox Christian theology. His exploration of the concepts from the standpoint of traditional revealed faith may aid in explaining or bridging any cultural misunderstandings or possible discomfort among any of your students who are so inclined.

"God is love, and he who abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him" (1 Jn 4:16).

Holy Wisdom is identified as the Logos, the Divine Word, a concept that predated Christianity, and this Hellenic concept made have had some influence in pre-Christian times over the development of esoteric Buddhism as it melded with Hellenic culture in central asia, and also, in Christian times, as it melded with Chinese culture further east.

Oriental orthodox Christianity passed over the Silk Road at the same time as the doctrines that were brought to Japan as mikkyo -- Shingon ("true word") and Tendai forms of Vajrayana Buddhism. Shingon may have influenced the concepts of kotodama ("word spirit") at the same time as the Kojiki (the primary Shinto text used by O Sensei) was being assembled into its present form. Shingon was then being introduced to Japan by Kobaidashi (Kukai).

In any event, O Sensei was early schooled in Shingon mikikyo, and later developed his own understanding and system of kotodama. He explicitly identified his root "word spirit" both with the doctrine of Logos in Christian teaching, and also with the chief Kami Ame no Minakanushi, of the Shinto creation Trinity described in the Kojiki.

In Christian teaching, Christ Jesus is simultaneously the incarnation of Holy Wisdom and the embodiment of the Love of God. Union with Him may be similarly attained through either path of approach -- reason or love, which always complement one another.

For a fascinating direct Christian parallel to the Heart Sutra:
http://www.frimmin.com/faith/mysticalheart.html
Quote:
Pseudo-Dionysius (St. Denys the Areopagite) wrote:
So this is what we say. The Cause of all is above all and is not inexistent, lifeless, speechless, mindless. It is not a material body, and hence has neither shape nor form, quality, quantity, or weight. It is not in any place and can neither be seen nor be touched. It is neither perceived nor is it perceptible. It suffers neither disorder nor disturbance and is overwhelmed by no earthly passion. It is not powerless and subject to the disturbances cause by sense perception. It endures no deprivation of light. It passes through no change, decay, division, loss, no ebb and flow, nothing of which the sense may be aware. None of all this can either be identified with it nor attributed to it.

Again, as we climb higher we say this. It is not soul or mind, nor does it possess imagination, conviction, speech, or understanding. Nor is it speech per se, understanding per se. it cannot be spoken of and it cannot be grasped by understanding. It is not number or order, greatness or smallness, equality or inequality, similarity or dissimilarity. It is not immovable, moving or at rest. It has no power, it is not power, nor is it light. It does not live nor is it life. It is not a substance, nor is it eternity or time. It cannot be grasped by the understanding since it is neither one nor oneness, divinity nor goodness. Nor is it a spirit, in the sense in which we understand that term. It is not sonship or fatherhood and it is nothing known to us or to any other being. It falls neither within the predicate of nonbeing nor of being. Existing beings do not know it as it actually is and it does not know them as they are. There is no speaking of it, nor name nor knowledge of it. Darkness and light, error and truth—it is none of these. It is beyond assertion and denial. We make assertions and denials of what is next to it, but never of it, for it is both beyond every assertion, being the perfect and unique cause of all things, and, by virtue its preeminently simple and absolute nature, free of every limitation, beyond every limitation; it is also beyond every denial.
Quote:
The Heart Sutra wrote:
. . Avalokiteshvara Bodhisattva
when practicing deeply the Prajna Paramita [the perfection of wisdom]
perceived that all five skandhas are empty
and was saved from all suffering and distress.
Shariputra, form does not differ from emptiness [the indescribability of divine Reality]; emptiness does not differ from form.
That which is form is emptiness;
that which is emptiness, form.
The same is true of feelings, perceptions, impulses, consciousness.
Shariputra, all dharmas [phenomena] are marked with emptiness;
they do not appear nor disappear,
are not tainted or pure, do not increase or decrease.
Therefore in emptiness, no form, no feelings, perceptions, impulses, consciousness; no eyes, no ears, no nose, no tongue, no body, no mind;
no color, no sound, no smell, no taste, no touch, no object of mind;
no realm of eyes and so forth until no realm of mind-consciousness;
no ignorance and also no extinction of it, and so forth until no old age and death and also no extinction of them;
no suffering, no origination, no stopping, no path;
no cognition, also no attainment.
With nothing to attain
the bodhisattva depends on Prajna Paramita
and his mind is no hindrance.
Without any hindrance no fears exist;
far apart from every inverted view he dwells in nirvana [Reality].
In the three worlds all buddhas depend on Prajna Paramita
and attain anuttara-samyak-sambodhi [complete and perfect enlightenment].
Therefore know the Prajna Paramita is the great transcendent mantra,
is the great bright mantra,
is the utmost mantra,
is the supreme mantra,
which is able to relieve all suffering
and is true, not false.
So proclaim the Prajna Paramita mantra, proclaim the mantra that says:

Gaté, gaté paragaté, parasamgaté! Bodhi! Svaha!
[Gone, gone, completely gone, all completely gone in awakening, Hallelujah!]
The love of God and the God of love has most recently been laid out in orthodox terms in Pope Benedict's teaching. While he is the head of the Catholic Church, there is little in his encyclical Deus Caritas est ("God is Love) that cannot be embraced by any Christian believer. http://www.vatican.va/holy_father/be...as-est_en.html It makes a good companion to the Heart Sutra in considering Buddhist teaching of self-negation in comparison with orthodox Christian ideas on self-donation as the practice of the via negativa given above.

This site may be of interest, generally.
http://www.frimmin.com/faith/index.html

And more specifically : http://www.frimmin.com/faith/lotuscross.html

My favorite parallel quote is this:

Quote:
Dhammapada 1:3-5 wrote:
"He was angry with me, he attacked me, he defeated me, he robbed me"—those who dwell on such thoughts will never be free from hatred.
"He was angry with me, he attacked me, he defeated me, he robbed me"—those who do not dwell on such thoughts will surely be free from hatred.
For hatred can never put an end to hatred. Love alone can. This is an unalterable law.
Quote:
St. Luke 6:27-28, 32, 35 wrote:
Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who treat you badly. . . . If you love those who love you, what thanks can you expect? Even sinners love those who love them. . . . Instead, love your enemies and do good, and lend without any hope of return. . . . You will be sons of the Most High, for he himself is kind to the ungrateful and the wicked. —

Last edited by Erick Mead : 04-26-2007 at 03:44 PM.

Cordially,

Erick Mead
一隻狗可久里馬房但他也不是馬的.
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Old 04-26-2007, 09:10 PM   #10
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Re: Heart Sutra

Nice post, Erick. I never knew of anyone before Aquinas using the idea of an un-caused cause, i mean, I didn't realize he was not the first canonized individual. Aside from those crazy greek thinkers. (hah, could you imagine the flame wars they must have had back in their own forae?)

The one time I went looking into the idea, it brought me to a secular discussion of the idea, and all I can recall is the position that an uncaused cause would necessarily have to exist with 100% objectivity. So, this means that it would exist outside the realm of its effect, but not inside of it. The effect, namely us and everything around us, would exist within the realm of this uncaused cause.

One downside, a pessimist might say, is that for this cause to be 100% objective with relation to us means complete ambivalence, no love or hate, but primarily no love, so what is the use? The upside would spring from the idea that
Quote:
Reggie wrote:
... transcendent wisdom, will automatically awaken infinite love
and I mean that complete objectivity would necessarily be transcendant wisdom.
Quote:
Erick wrote:
The Cause of all is above all
The above is what triggered the memory.

The "what is north of the north-pole?" question is this: what if the idea generally considered a supreme existence, uncaused in our universe, happens to have a long chain of cause an effect preceeding it, and ultimately to its own uncaused cause?

Yea, that's where my brain starts gasping for air.

michael.

on a simpler note, while i've not attended mass in ages, I am still fond of the prayer of St. Francis of Assisi (clickety-click).

Last edited by MikeLogan : 04-26-2007 at 09:12 PM.

If way to the better there be, it exacts a full look at the worst.

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Old 04-26-2007, 10:26 PM   #11
Erick Mead
 
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Re: Heart Sutra

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Mike Logan wrote: View Post
Nice post, Erick. I never knew of anyone before Aquinas using the idea of an un-caused cause, ...

One downside, a pessimist might say, is that for this cause to be 100% objective with relation to us means complete ambivalence, no love or hate, but primarily no love, so what is the use? The upside would spring from the idea that and I mean that complete objectivity would necessarily be transcendant wisdom. The above is what triggered the memory.
So many of today's moral problems that are, in part, encompassed in what the Heart Sutra addresses, are the results of misplaced objectivity, in the sense of treating persons as objects and not subjects in their own right. Science has taught us that the material universe exists in unity of objectivity. In both traditions, persons are treated as participants in a unity of subjectivity, related to but ultimately lying beyond the ephemera of objects and their manifold affects.

Quote:
Mike Logan wrote: View Post
The "what is north of the north-pole?" question is this:
Well, it depends. If you follow the prior trajectory, and simply do not go "south," you either depart the surface of the sphere at the tangent, or else if you follow the field lines you descend into the fiery center and end up at the South Pole.

Quote:
Mike Logan wrote: View Post
...what if the idea generally considered a supreme existence, uncaused in our universe, happens to have a long chain of cause an effect preceeding it, and ultimately to its own uncaused cause?
Infinite regress is, itself, an indication that the problem has no rational solution. That is not to say that the answer is unreasonable, but merely the answer is not to be understood by means of reason ... I think the Fathers indicated that the only modes of response are either despair or faith, and that choice is always before us.

I would note that no one has collected from Pascal yet.

Since Prof. Heisenberg observed much the same to hold true within the objective universe, and we seem to manage that fundamental uncertainty well enough, why should the realm of subjectivity be any different?

Cordially,

Erick Mead
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Old 04-26-2007, 10:58 PM   #12
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Re: Heart Sutra

I am replying now because I plan to be at a seminar most of the weekend.
Quote:
Erick Mead wrote:
Since Prof. Heisenberg observed much the same to hold true within the objective universe, and we seem to manage that fundamental uncertainty well enough, why should the realm of subjectivity be any different?
Would you expand on this? Heisenberg could not observe an object without subjecting the object to a change of some sort. He could not make objective observations, because his act of observing created what he observed.

I'm just missing a connection here to your statements on (a) the objective universe, (b) realm of subjectivity, and (c) how it relates back to the original topic. Is it to say that people should not be held to objective standards because they can perceive, and that ability is to perceive is subjectively hampered by their frames of reference? Though, we fail to perceive when we hold people to standards of objectivity, instead of allowing for the inherently subjective nature of their perception?

michael.

If way to the better there be, it exacts a full look at the worst.

- Thomas Hardy
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Old 04-27-2007, 02:45 AM   #13
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Re: Heart Sutra

I found a rather interesting (to me) discussion of the Heart Sutra's origin in China rather than India.

http://www.indiana.edu/~rcapub/v21n1/p23.html

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Old 04-27-2007, 09:34 AM   #14
Fred Little
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Re: Heart Sutra

Quote:
Erick Mead wrote: View Post
Infinite regress is, itself, an indication that the problem has no rational solution. That is not to say that the answer is unreasonable, but merely the answer is not to be understood by means of reason ... I think the Fathers indicated that the only modes of response are either despair or faith, and that choice is always before us.
"Despair and faith," as expressed in the Abrahamic traditions correspond fairly closely to "nihilism and eternalism" in the Mahayana tradition, with the key difference that both are considered extreme views to be avoided with all due diligence in the Buddhist tradition.

Best,

FL
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Old 04-27-2007, 10:19 AM   #15
Erick Mead
 
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Re: Heart Sutra

Quote:
Mike Logan wrote: View Post
I am replying now because I plan to be at a seminar most of the weekend.
Would you expand on this? Heisenberg could not observe an object without subjecting the object to a change of some sort. He could not make objective observations, because his act of observing created what he observed.

I'm just missing a connection here to your statements on (a) the objective universe, (b) realm of subjectivity, and (c) how it relates back to the original topic. Is it to say that people should not be held to objective standards because they can perceive, and that ability is to perceive is subjectively hampered by their frames of reference? Though, we fail to perceive when we hold people to standards of objectivity, instead of allowing for the inherently subjective nature of their perception?
Both the Pseudo-Dionysus and the Heart Sutra speak to that which is beyond objective characterization, and is fundamentally real in ways that are more thorough and less contingent than the "objective" aspects, characters or skhandas of reality as it is perceived. This realization has been confirmed by our studies of objective aspects of reality and the limitations of observation in objective terms, and by the spectacular failure of such rigorous projects on the conceptual theory of knowledge as Russell and Whitehead's Principia.

I see Heisenberg's principle, in epistemological terms, as a special case of Goedel's mathematical proof on incompleteness. Classical theory predicted that the two systems of knowledge about the position and momentum of the object were inherently coupled by the thing itself (object). On this assumption, one should be capable of "walking in" estimates of both quantities in recursive succession to any arbitrary degree of refinement. It turns out that physical theory of knowledge was also spectacularly wrong, and those systems are inversely divergent in terms of their coupling to the object.

Reality is different. The system of knowledge of momentum and the system of knowledge of position are both incomplete, as Goedel proved. Increasing degrees of refinement of one represent increasing degrees of uncertainty as to the other. But neither alone can completely define the state of the system, without recourse to some meta-system of rules outside of both realms of knowing.

In other words, the knowledge of certain position and certain momentum cannot be made within objective rules, but only within the process of subjective observation. The Absolute of reality and the connection (musubi) of diverging objects is thus not found in the Object or objectivity, but in a fundamentally and indispensably present Subject -- "I AM."

Subjectivity, of a universal and complete nature, is thus seen as the root of being and reality rather than objectivity. Not the objective little "me," but the great, unseen but all-seeing subjective "I." "I AM" is the root of observation, and that observation is necessary and indispensable to coupling of divergent objects, Subjectivity assumes a fundamental character, and objectivity an incidental character. The proof of Bell's paradox and our increasing knowledge of quantum entanglement increasingly shows this. Bishop Berkeley's theological answer to the observer problem has more teeth than may once have been assumed.

Two great commandments are given in the revealed faith and follow from this consideration directly, as does bodhicitta and universal loving-kindness from the Heart Sutra. Christ summarized them:

Love God with all your heart, mind and soul
Love your neighbor as yourself.

Christ says in giving them that the second is "like unto the first." On this perspective, the form of connection he gives between them actually echoes Genesis -- where man is made in the "image and likeness of God."

These are seen to be both recursive and reflective of one another as referring to the very same ground of Being, simply from different objective and contingent aspects. We are in God, and God in us. To put it into the mode of budo from a biblical understanding:

"For whether we live, we live unto the Lord; and whether we die, we die unto the Lord: whether we live therefore, or die, we are the Lord's." Roman's 14:8.

Or if you prefer, from the Mahaparinirvana Sutra:

Quote:
The Tathagata-dhatu (Buddha-nature) is the intrinsic nature of beings. Therefore, it cannot be killed by having its life severed. If it could be killed, then the life-force (jivaka) could be annihilated; but it is not possible for the life-force to be annihilated. In this instance, the life-force refers to the Tathagatagarbha. That Dhatu [immanent Buddha Element, Buddha Principle] cannot be destroyed, killed or annihilated.
Quote:
[On the Dharma of Buddha-nature] 'It is unborn, unarisen, unabiding, not perishing, without beginning, without end, uncompounded and immeasurable. It provides a dwelling for those who are homeless, a refuge for those without a refuge, light for those without light, it enables those who have not reached the far shore to reach it, it is unimpeded fragrance for places without fragrance; it displays what cannot be seen; it is unwavering / imperturbable, it does not change; it is not long, it is not short. Although it is utterly divorced from happiness , it is the ultimate, subtle bliss of security....It is the ultimate dwelling-place of countless beings; it extinguishes all the fires of Samsara; it is the abode where the Buddhas disport themselves; it is Eternal and Unchanging ' This is how a Bodhisattva recollects Dharma.
Atheists will say this is all neurological illusion. But then, so is all of perceived reality from that solipsistic perspective, and therefore atheism, and atheists, are both neurological illusions, too.

Cordially,

Erick Mead
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Old 04-27-2007, 11:11 AM   #16
Erick Mead
 
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Re: Heart Sutra

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Fred Little wrote: View Post
"Despair and faith," as expressed in the Abrahamic traditions correspond fairly closely to "nihilism and eternalism" in the Mahayana tradition, with the key difference that both are considered extreme views to be avoided with all due diligence in the Buddhist tradition.
Actually, I would differ with your parallel on these. As I understand them from Buddhist tradition, nihilism would hold that the self is ultimately eliminated and of no enduring reality and thus karmic action has no "real" reference to it. This is usually illustrated in the life of Gautama Buddha by his early hedonism and embracing of all attachments. "Nothing matters anyway, so..."

Eternalism would hold that the self (small "s") is eternal and therefore karma is not active on anything but its transient aspects, hence karmic action is equally transient and not of "real" consequence. This is usually illustrated in the ascetic period of Gautama Buddha's life, where he attempted to deny all attachments in search of the eternal.

True doctrine would hold instead that the Tathagata is real beyond attachmane or non attachment, (Nagarjuna's Middle Way), apart from all appearances or non-appearances, and is neither eternal in arising or not arising, nor contingent in its existence or non-existence. It is beyond all affirmation or denial. It simply Is: Thus.

Karma and sin are clearly related doctrines, but with different perspectives on the contingent nature of self and reality, and its operative risks of awareness and intention, illustrated by your comment. The dangers of nihilism and eternalism in Buddhism are a loss of awareness of what is Absolute and real, and thus both are paths to obscuring illusions (maya).

The Abrahamic faiths posit a fallen nature in need of redeeming and inherently unworthy of it. We call this nature "sin." "Despair" in this setting leads to the destruction of life, either from the processes of hedonistic exhaustion, brutalizing sadism or the erotic surrender to extinction (love of death). This is something all too evident in recent events.

"Faith" in contrast leads to life's fulfillment -- "that you may have life in more abundance." Love, the greatest commandment, gives rise to faith; and faith gives rise to hope. Hope leads from death into life.

The inverse process is that the realization of the transient nature of things leads to despair, and despair leads to despite, and despite leads to extinction -- from life into death.

The difference is that where Buddhism posits a problem of cyclical dialectic to resolve successive aspects of perceived duality (or sudden global synthesis), Christianity particularly, and the Abrahamic faiths, generall,y posit a process of linear, historically contingent physical and moral development conditioned by physical and moral entropy, with the ever-present possibility of a non-linear and non-contingent interruption not conditioned by that process, or any process.

I find these two perspectives non-dual.

Cordially,

Erick Mead
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Old 04-27-2007, 01:53 PM   #17
Fred Little
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Re: Heart Sutra

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Erick Mead wrote: View Post
Actually, I would differ with your parallel on these. As I understand them from Buddhist tradition, nihilism would hold that the self is ultimately eliminated and of no enduring reality and thus karmic action has no "real" reference to it. This is usually illustrated in the life of Gautama Buddha by his early hedonism and embracing of all attachments. "Nothing matters anyway, so..."

Eternalism would hold that the self (small "s") is eternal and therefore karma is not active on anything but its transient aspects, hence karmic action is equally transient and not of "real" consequence. This is usually illustrated in the ascetic period of Gautama Buddha's life, where he attempted to deny all attachments in search of the eternal.
The reduction of the issues of nihilism and eternalism to mere human self-nature, human conduct and attendant human subjectivity is, however tempting, mistaken. These fundamental extremes also pertain to the so-called "absolute," to their own operation, and everything between.

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Erick Mead wrote: View Post
True doctrine would hold instead that the Tathagata is real beyond attachmane or non attachment, (Nagarjuna's Middle Way), apart from all appearances or non-appearances, and is neither eternal in arising or not arising, nor contingent in its existence or non-existence. It is beyond all affirmation or denial. It simply Is: Thus.
However else the words above might strike me, the use of the word "instead" implies a substitution to resolve a contradiction, when no contradiction has been demonstrated, or substitution been shown to be needed.

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Erick Mead wrote: View Post
The dangers of nihilism and eternalism in Buddhism are a loss of awareness of what is Absolute and real, and thus both are paths to obscuring illusions (maya).
Certainly these are among the dangers, but they are not the only dangers. Assertion of an Absolute, except for limited use as a device or skillful means, is another grave danger.

Quote:
Erick Mead wrote: View Post
The difference is that where Buddhism posits a problem of cyclical dialectic to resolve successive aspects of perceived duality (or sudden global synthesis), Christianity particularly, and the Abrahamic faiths, generall,y posit a process of linear, historically contingent physical and moral development conditioned by physical and moral entropy, with the ever-present possibility of a non-linear and non-contingent interruption not conditioned by that process, or any process.

I find these two perspectives non-dual.
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.

I would certainly agree regarding the non-dualism of the two perspectives outlined above: given a long enough cycle, the probability of a short segment being perceived as a line approaches 100%.

More broadly, the position you are pressing is very close to crypto-atmanic and crypto-brahmanic tendencies that can be found in some streams of esoteric buddhist thought, and my larger point is that there is a lively dispute within the tradition about whether these views are, properly speaking, buddhist. At best, they are widely viewed as doctrines which mislead when employed by any but the most skillful hands.

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.

Our current disagreement on these points notwithstanding, 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?

Best,

FL
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Old 04-27-2007, 11:15 PM   #18
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Re: Heart Sutra

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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 ...

Quote:
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.

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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.

Quote:
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.

Cordially,

Erick Mead
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Old 05-07-2007, 08:39 AM   #19
jennifer paige smith
 
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Re: Heart Sutra

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Reggie Townley wrote: View Post
"Hello, I am not sure if this has much to do with Aikido, but I have noticed that Zen and Aikido are often shared interests by many people, so I figured I would ask this here...

Recently, while doing Zazen at my dojo, the Heart Sutra was chanted"

In terms of having something to do with Aikido: One of Stevens Sensei's books said that O Sensei chanted the heart sutra every day. I believe it was Secrets of Aikido that said this. Besides that, the Heart Sutra is considered by many to be the heart of all sutras. It is the heart essence, the distillation of all the prajnaparamita (transcendent wisdom) sutras. Transcendent wisdom is one of the two wings of enlightenment, the other being Bodhiccita, or infinite love. Further, one gives birth to the other, they cross cultivate, and the realization of the deepest truths of the heart sutra, i.e. transcendent wisdom, will automatically awaken infinite love because they are impossible to separate. In terms of Aikido, on a philosophical point, that is what it is a all about. We cultivate a non violent art. At the highest level, we lose our self grasping and generate a concern for the attacker. We wish that that attacker may attain realization, rather than percieve that persona as a threat to be destroyed. We try to help that attacker to the other side, to awakening, while protecting life. This is both Bodhicitta and Transcendent wisdom. I am not yet there, but at this point, I believe this is correct view. We'll see how my outlook develops over the years. Thank you all. Many blessings, Much love, May you attain supreme awakening and fullest realization of infinite peace.
Reggie
Ultimately we loose the distintion of attacker and self. There is no enemy, there is no other, there is no self (there is no spoon).
The phrase 'keep your friends close and you enemies closer' is not just a strategy for war, it is a strategy for life. So that we may blend so closely with others energy as to absorb and become one. No self. No enemy.

The Heart Sutra is a chant that is almost sung. The person from whom you learn will influence your flux and tone, you will find your own sound in there soon enough.

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