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The next lines of the Heart Sutra that I will be writing about in Part V are below:

            No eye, ear, nose, tongue, body, mind;

            No color, sound, smell, taste, touch, phenomena;

            No realm of sight

            No realm of consciousness;

            No ignorance  And no end to ignorance.

These lines begin the section where we think about reality and life and what we hold onto and how that idea of clinging to things and beliefs is filled with contradictions, falsehoods, challenges, and fears.  It can destroy relationships, jobs, and our health when we are unable to see life from different points of view.  I know because it happens to me daily and when I sit zazen it relieves me from this world of illusion as Shohaku Okumura writes about so beautifully in his book, Living by Vow, A Practical Introduction to Eight Essential Zen Chants and Texts writes:

Our picture of the world is our reality, but we should understand that it is distorted.  This is the meaning of emptiness.  Our mind is emptiness. Our sense organs are emptiness.  Things outside us are also emptiness. Everything is just illusion. The fact that we live with illusion is our reality.  When we really understand this and see how illusion is caused, we can see reality through the illusion. Whatever we see, whatever we grasp with our sense organs and consciousness is illusion.  When we see this we are released from attachment to our limited view, to what we have, to what we think we own.  We may not become completely free, but we become less restricted by our limitations.

. . .This letting go is prajna or wisdom. It means to become free of our picture of the world caused by our karma. In this way our view becomes a bit broader and deeper (page 175).[1]

If you are like me and want to have a deeper broader life of peace, joy, and love let us take the time each day to practice zazen (sitting or walking meditation).  Okumura goes on to write:

We keep practicing this zazen, sitting and letting go of thought, trying to see things in the most flexible way.  This doesn’t mean we negate our delusions.  We can never negate them; they are our life.  But so long as we fail to see that they are illusory and grasp them as reality, we cannot be free.  When we really see the emptiness of subject and object, we can be free from grasping, clinging, and greed (page 174-75).

So let us take Okumura’s sage advice this week and see if we can free ourselves from our illusions about people, places, and things and live a more productive, happy, healthy, and free existence.  In the big picture life is short, even if you live to 104.  So make the most of what you’ve got.  Make a difference in your life and that will make a difference in others’ lives as well.

Things to focus on this week:

1.  I will begin each day by sitting in quiet meditation.

2.  I will remind myself that doing this can help free me from grasping, clinging, and greed.

3.  I release my attachment today and every day from my limited view of life.

4.  Lastly, I will keep a journal of the opportunities that have been presented to me so I can keep track of my progress and my opportunities for growth.


[1] Okumura, S (2012) Living by Vow A Practical Introduction to Eight Essential Zen Chants and Text. Wisdom Publications: Somerville, MA

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