The Heart Attack Sutra: A New Commentary on the Heart Sutra

Overview

The radical message of the Heart Sū tra, one of Buddhism's most famous texts, is a sweeping attack on everything we hold most dear: our troubles, the world as we know it, even the teachings of the Buddha himself. Several of the Buddha's followers are said to have suffered heart attacks and died when they first heard its assertion of the basic groundlessness of our existence—hence the title of this book. Overcoming fear, the Buddha teaches, is not to be accomplished by shutting down or building walls around ...

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Overview

The radical message of the Heart Sū tra, one of Buddhism's most famous texts, is a sweeping attack on everything we hold most dear: our troubles, the world as we know it, even the teachings of the Buddha himself. Several of the Buddha's followers are said to have suffered heart attacks and died when they first heard its assertion of the basic groundlessness of our existence—hence the title of this book. Overcoming fear, the Buddha teaches, is not to be accomplished by shutting down or building walls around oneself, but instead by opening up to understand the illusory nature of everything we fear—including ourselves. In this book of teachings, Karl Brunnhölzl guides practitioners through this 'crazy' sutra to the wisdom and compassion that lie at its core.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"With lively humor and deep scholarly knowledge, Mitra Karl Brunnhölzl brilliantly unpacks the profundity of the Heart S ū tra here for modern readers. In practical and accessible ways, he invites us to join the great practitioners of India and Tibet in contemplating the Heart Sūtra's wisdom. We are fortunate to have teachers of Karl's acumen among the growing body of inspiring Western Buddhist teachers."—Dzogchen Ponlop author of Rebel Buddha and Mind Beyond Death

"When the Buddha revealed the Prajñaparamita sutras, teaches Karl Brunnhölzl, the arhats in attendance were so shocked by what they were hearing that they died on the spot. The Heart Attack Sutra seeks to preserve this same spiritual shock for Western minds (but perhaps without the grim consequences that Buddha’s earlier students had to face!) by presenting and commenting in detail on the Heart Sutra, arguably the most well-known sutra in the Mahayana tradition."—Mandala Magazine

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781559393911
  • Publisher: Shambhala Publications, Inc.
  • Publication date: 4/16/2012
  • Pages: 160
  • Sales rank: 779,580
  • Product dimensions: 5.50 (w) x 8.49 (h) x 0.49 (d)

Meet the Author

Karl Brunnhölzl, MD, was trained as a physician and also studied Tibetology. He received his systematic training in Tibetan language and Buddhist philosophy and practice at the Marpa Institute for Translators, founded by Khenpo Tsultrim Gyamtso Rinpoche. Since 1989 he has been a translator and interpreter from Tibetan and English. He is presently involved with the Nitartha Institute as a teacher and translator.

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Table of Contents

Introduction 7

The Craziness of the Heart Sutra 7

Emptiness Means Letting Go 12

Grounded in Groundlessness 12

Emptiness, Dependent Origination, and Quantum Physics 15

The Buddha's Three Cycles of Teaching 16

Expressing the Inexpressible 16

The Teachings as Scriptures and Realization 20

Prajñaparamita-Perfect Wisdom Gone Beyond 22

The Flaming Sword of Prajña-Sharp, Illuminating, and Compassionate Inquisitiveness 25

Lady Prajñaparamita-Intuition Embracing Intellect 30

Prajñaparamita as Ground, Path, and Fruition 35

The Prajñaparamita Sutras 36

Complicated Simplicity 39

Prajñaparamita as a Buddhist Heresy 42

Groundless Paths 44

Dirt, Soap, and Water 48

The Undoing of Doing 51

The Commentary on the Heart Sutra 57

The Stage and the Main Actors 57

The Title 60

Transcendent Wisdom Lady Full of Qualities 60

The Heart of the Mother of All Buddhas 65

The Prologue 66

The Excellent Time 67

The Excellent Teacher 68

The Excellent Place 71

The Excellent Retinue 72

The Excellent Teaching 74

Avalokitésvara-Emptiness with a Heart of Compassion 77

Compassion in Action 81

Not Seeing the World as We Know It 83

The Main Part of the Sutra 87

Sariputra's Innocent Question 87

Avalokitesvara's Not So Innocent Short Answer 90

The Fourfold Profound Emptiness 100

Are Form and Emptiness Two Things? 102

The Middle Way without a Middle 106

All Elements of Our Body and Mind Are Like Space 117

The Eightfold Profundity 118

The Three Doors to Liberation 131

More Ways of Slicing the Cake of Illusory Phenomena 132

Even Dependent Origination Is Emptiness 139

The Demise of the Four Noble Truths 141

No Hope in Prajñaparamita Either 144

The Transparent Vajra of Fearlessness 148

Arriving at Dwelling Nowhere 154

The Mantra-The Final Leap off the Cliff 158

The Buddha's Applause 165

The Epilogue 168

A Meditation on Prajñaparamita and the Heart Sutra 169

The Sutra of the Heart of the Glorious Lady Prajñaparamita 173

Selected Bibliography 175

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