The Teaching that Opens the Heart and Liberates the Mind

What is the essential teaching of liberation? A daily reminder that bends the heart back to itself and reassures you that yes, you are whole, you are so much more than you can possibly think or believe. More than your repetitive thoughts, more than the fear that stops up your throat and chokes back your breath, more than the rapidly beating heart moments, more than all the shapes and bumps and scraps this body has endured. 

This more, a pregnant nothing, no-thing.

This more, a pregnant —everything.

If this is your universe, what will you do with it? 

This question can only be lived into, from your deepest compassion and wisdom.

The monastics at Great Vow are engaged in a three month creative practice period Making or Unmaking the Heart Sutra.

Here is a challenge, Write the Heart Sutra. Your own version. One that is meaningful to you.

What is the Heart of your Wisdom? The essence of this path? What is a liberation that comes from love?

It is said the most simple and concise renderings of the Heart Sutra is the syllable A!

Here is one of my working versions.

One who is able to give and receive unconditional love and compassion, sits deep in the womb of the heart—in the heart’s unknowing, practicing openness, love and seeing through all delusions and obstacles, all constructs and demarcations.

Oh practitioners of the way, my heart friends: Listen!

What ever you think you are, is empty, fluid, spacious, openness

What ever you believe me to be, equally empty, fluid, spacious, open

All you feel, see, perceive, sense, conceptualize, know, think, are aware of

Is also like this—empty, fluid, spacious, open

In fact even awareness itself is empty, fluid, spacious, open!

Wow what a mysterious situation we have! 

The nature of reality is open, fluid, spacious—un-knowing

It is blameless, playful, spontaneous, forgiving and creative

There is no hate, no war, no peace, no open, no closed, no living, no dying

There is no self, no other, no me, no you

No world, no universe, no cosmos

No extinctions, no global catastrophes, no destruction

No conservation, no steadiness, no prevention

Anything you can think, is unlimited, boundless, ever-changing

This field of self and other

Of ecology and interconnection

Of shared humanity

Can not be defined!

All solutions, all agreements, all knowledge

Is evolving, is open, is fluid

May we rejoice in this unfixed, spacious, spontaneous nature!

May we celebrate the unbounded!

May we trust the evolution of all knowledge as the compassionate revelation of this precious life!

As we train in the open ness of the great mystery, as we trust in true reality!

We can sing this ancient mantra, may we not get caught on either side of a duality, but persistently, meticulously continue to deepen our trust, to expand our vision, to transcend and include. Compassion is our way. Oh Wisdom beyond wisdom!


Kisei Amy Costenbader, Sensei