A Story Inspired by the Heart Sutra, Part 6 (Final)

By Desmond Yeoh SC

BuddhaWhile Avalokitesvara was silently contemplating about Emptiness, the elder monk Sariputra walked by and noticed with his psychic eye that Avalokistesvara was radiating a brilliant white light. He intuitively knew that Avalokistesvara had just discovered a profound truth.

Sariputra serenely approached and sat beside Avalokistesvara who acknowledged him with a radiant smile which reached his eyes. The elder monk smiled back and said, “Brother, I see that you have made an important discovery. Would you please share it with me?”.

The words spontaneously flowed from Avalokitesvara as if he was in a trance, “Brother Sariputra, form is emptiness and the very emptiness is form; emptiness does not differ from form, form does not differ from emptiness, whatever is emptiness, that is form, the same is true of feelings, perceptions, mental formations, and consciousness”.

“Sariputra, all things are marked with emptiness; they are not produced or destroyed, not defiled or pure, not decreasing or increasing”.

“Therefore, Sariputra, in emptiness there is no form nor feeling, nor perception, nor mental formations, nor consciousness; No eye, ear, nose, tongue, body, mind; No forms, sounds, smells, tastes, sensations or objects of the mind; No sight-organ element, and so forth, until we come to No mind-consciousness element”.

“In emptiness, there is no ignorance, no elimination of ignorance, and so forth, until we come to no old-age and death, no elimination of old-age and death. There is no suffering, no origination, no cessation of suffering and no path towards the cessation of suffering”.

“There is no understanding, no attainment and no non-attainment”.

“Therefore, Brother Sariputra, because there is nothing to attain, a Bodhisattva, through reliance on the perfect understanding of emptiness, dwells without delusion. In the absence of deluded thoughts, he is free from fear and suffering, and in the end he attains to full enlightenment”.

“All those who appear as Buddhas in the past, present and future periods have attained the right and perfect Enlightenment through reliance on the perfect understanding of emptiness, the Prajnaparamita”.

“Therefore one should know the Prajnaparamita as the great mantra, the mantra of great knowledge, the excellent mantra, the unequalled mantra and the mantra which removes all kinds of suffering. By the prajnaparamita has this mantra been delivered. The mantra is thus declared : Gate Gate Paragate Parasamgate Bodhi Svaha”.

Avalokitesvara then came out from his trance. Sariputra had a radiant smile on his face. He too was glowing. Both of them then realised at the same time that the Buddha had been standing nearby all this time and immediately prostrated to the Buddha. The Buddha then praised Avalokitesvara, “Excellent! Excellent! Everything that you have said is true and free from error. You have understood the truth of emptiness. Today, all the Buddhas are rejoicing. Avalokitesvara, please share this insight during our gathering this evening”.

A Story Inspired by the Heart Sutra, Part 5

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