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August 14 , 2009

What am I?

The Heart Sutra for Everyone


How strange is the Prajnaparamita Hridaya! A Buddhist acolyte complained to his teacher, “I have an eye, ear, nose, tongue, body and mind, so why does the Prajnaparamita Hridaya say that I do not?” His teacher said, “I don’t know, I must send you to a Zen master; he will know.” A Zen master might well reply, “To answer that question you must first know what was your face before your parents were born!” or, “What are you?” The most familiar of all the sutras the Heart sutra is chanted regularly in Zen temples and monasteries, but for most it is opaque and impenetrable. Dr Albert Low uses his vast experience, coming from years of practice and teaching, to guide the reader through the difficult terrain of the Prajnaparamita Hridaya using non-technical language, many stories and references to the Zen koans. He encourages the reader to use the mind in a new, creative way. He shows that for all its strangeness the sutra has a vital message for anyone who has asked the question, “What am I?” “What meaning has my life?” “What happens after death?” or “Why must we suffer so?”

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