97. Avalokiteśvara

The Heart Sutra is the distillation of the vast Prajñāpāramitā sutras.

The version we chant divides into 2: an initial statement, then a long monologue by Avalokiteśvara, the Bodhisattva of Compassion.

The initial statement is:

The bodhisattva of compassion, practising Zazen actualises the emptiness of the five skandas and thus relieves all suffering.

This is a mythical rendering of our experience as we sit. The critical thing is that it isn’t a person sitting, and that emptiness is something felt, not a statement about the nature of reality Thus, we can say that emptiness, compassion, no-self and suffering relieved are all facets of Zazen.

This is a very different practice from one concerned with gain, or change.