By Mu Soeng

Shape is vacancy; vacancy is form.

This is the daring and fascinating statement of the center Sutra, a textual content of seminal significance to the Buddhist culture made much more attention-grabbing by way of its deep resonance with the slicing edges of quantum physics and cognitive technology. In spare and approachable language, the guts of the Universe deftly explores this gem of worldwide spiritual literature from quite a few perspectives--historical, non secular, linguistic, and scientific--each helping interdependently light up the opposite.

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Additional info for The Heart of the Universe: Exploring the Heart Sutra

Sample text

In a certain sense this theory is akin to the Newtonian particle theory in physics. Early Mahayana thinkers attacked this notion and accused the Abhidharmists of being attached to a subtle notion of “self ” in the dharmas, of being substantialists, and thus unable to truly understand the Buddha’s teachings. These Mahayana thinkers buttressed their arguments with new developments in linguistics and mathematics at the time. Panini (ca. fourth century BCE), the great founder of Sanskrit grammar, had introduced the concept of zero which became a lynchpin of applying mathematics to linguistics.

C. Chang, the noted Buddhist scholar, has remarked, 44 ✦ The Heart of the Universe Zero itself contains nothing, yet it cannot be held to be absolutely or nihilistically void. As a mathematical concept and symbol, zero has a great many functions and utilities, without which it would be practically impossible to execute business and scientific activities in this modern age. ” you would be hard pressed to give an appropriate reply. Zero is both nothing and the possibility of everything. It is definitely not something nihilistically empty, rather it is dynamic and vital to all manifestations.

That transparency would be impossible if the self were to create itself and the other as two separate entities. Just as the self sees itself as a transitory phenomenon, so does it see each of the ten thousand things of the world; there is no separation in its perception-cognition, and hence there is an awakening to the nonseparation of self and the other. On close examination we find each of the aggregates to be a construction put into place by a nexus of causes and conditions. A construct, by definition, is not real in itself because it exists as an effect of causes and conditions.

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