I am currently reading Essence of Heart Sutra: The Dalai Lama’s Heart of Wisdom Teachings translated and edited by Geshe Thupten Jinpa, in response to my sister’s Buddhist teacher recommending that I recite the Heart Sutra on a daily basis. No problem. This is what she sent me.
And also this reference link.
Don’t get me wrong, my sister also offered to really explain it to me the next time we had a Skype date but I sort of forgot all about it. However, past Xenia had the brilliant idea of ordering the Dalai Lama’s teachings of the Heart Sutra from the library so present Xenia was was more than happy when she saw this little book sitting on Holds shelf at the library waiting for her to read it. I have yet to reach the point where the text addresses the Heart Sutra directly, as the first part of the book discusses Buddhist philosophy on a general level, but I am quite enjoying this refresher.
However, what stopped me cold in my tracks was reading this in the first few sentences of the first chapter
In my own case, the major portion of my life is already gone. But, although I am a lazy practitioner of Buddhism, I can see that each year there is some progress in my life. Above all, I try to be a genuine follower of Buddha Shakyamuni and a good Buddhist monk. [emphasis added]
Ummm? This is the Dalai Lama calling himself “a lazy practitioner of Buddhism”! I … I just don’t know what to do with this information. If he is considered “lazy” what hope do any of us have? But maybe this is just the super-modesty that comes from being a monk. Let’s go with that.
I will leave you with a passage out of the book that has stood out so far
As the eighth-century Indian philosopher Chandrakirti points out in this Guide to the Middle Way, we first grasp a sense of self, and then we extend that grasping on to others. First you have a sense of “I,” then you grasp at things as “mine.” By looking into our own minds, we can see that the stronger our grasping is, the more forcefully it generates negative and destructive emotions. There is a very intimate causal connection between our grasping at a sense of self and the arising of destructive emotions within us. As long as we remain under the dominion of this erroneous belief, we have no room for lasting joy – this is what it means to be imprisoned in the cycle of existence. Suffering is nothing but existence enslaved to ignorance.