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The Insight That Brings Us to the Other Shore



This week we began learning the Heart Sutra chant in anticipation of our upcoming 5 Mindfulness Trainings transmission ceremony. The Heart Sutra is central to both this ceremony and to our Plum Village Zen practice.


Thich Nhat Hanh retranslated the Heart Sutra in 2014 to correct an error that has led many students to misunderstand the sutra’s central message. He renamed the sutra ’The Insight That Brings Us To The Other Shore’ to emphasize that the sutra invites us to have such an insight for ourselves rather than get caught in intellectual dissection of its ungraspable language.


This sutra is practiced rather than understood. While it helps to be aware of its terms and context, it’s more important to allow the sutra to sink in through frequent listening and chanting. Chanting it repeatedly is like looking in a mirror: The sutra reflects and clarifies our growing understanding. 


We’ve posted a MP3 copy of the chant on our website the link is on the "Resources" page under "Chanting Resources." I suggest we each download it and begin listening frequently, allowing the chant to seep through our skin and into our hearts. We’ll begin integrating this chant into the life of The Anacortes Mindfulness Community so that this sutra’s wisdom can transform us collectively. 


The Insight That Brings Us To The Other Shore


Avalokiteshvara

while practicing deeply with

the Insight that Brings Us to the Other Shore,

suddenly discovered that

all of the five Skandhas are equally empty,

and with this realisation

he overcame all Ill-being.

“Listen Sariputra,

this Body itself is Emptiness

and Emptiness itself is this Body.

This Body is not other than Emptiness

and Emptiness is not other than this Body.

The same is true of Feelings,

Perceptions, Mental Formations,

and Consciousness.

“Listen Sariputra,

all phenomena bear the mark of Emptiness;

their true nature is the nature of

no Birth no Death,

no Being no Non-being,

no Defilement no Purity,

no Increasing no Decreasing.

“That is why in Emptiness,

Body, Feelings, Perceptions,

Mental Formations and Consciousness

are not separate self entities.

The Eighteen Realms of Phenomena

which are the six Sense Organs,

the six Sense Objects,

and the six Consciousnesses

are also not separate self entities.

The Twelve Links of Interdependent Arising

and their Extinction

are also not separate self entities.

Ill-being, the Causes of Ill-being,

the End of Ill-being, the Path,

insight and attainment,

are also not separate self entities.

Whoever can see this

no longer needs anything to attain.

Bodhisattvas who practice

the Insight that Brings Us to the Other Shore

see no more obstacles in their mind,

and because there

are no more obstacles in their mind,

they can overcome all fear,

destroy all wrong perceptions

and realize Perfect Nirvana.

“All Buddhas in the past, present and future

by practicing

the Insight that Brings Us to the Other Shore

are all capable of attaining

Authentic and Perfect Enlightenment.

“Therefore Sariputra,

it should be known that

the Insight that Brings Us to the Other Shore

is a Great Mantra,

the most illuminating mantra,

the highest mantra,

a mantra beyond compare,

the True Wisdom that has the power

to put an end to all kinds of suffering.

Therefore let us proclaim

a mantra to praise

the Insight that Brings Us to the Other Shore.

Gate, Gate, Paragate, Parasamgate, Bodhi Svaha!

Gate, Gate, Paragate, Parasamgate, Bodhi Svaha!

Gate, Gate, Paragate, Parasamgate, Bodhi Svaha!”

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