The Great Wisdom Heart Sutra is from the Wisdom Sutras, a group of sutras explaining the void or emptiness. The Heart Sutra is the short summary, the summary of the Wisdom Sutras, translated from the Sanskrit. The Great Wisdom Heart Sutra is about the void. The void (or emptiness) comes from the word SUNYATA. The void refers to no ego/self, void of ego/self. Void of a center or a core. Things are impermanent. Things are always changing.

The text begins,

Avalokitesvara Bodhisattva deeply practicing the PRAJNAPARAMITA, saw that the five skandhas were empty, and overcame all suffering.

Avalokitesvara Bodhisattva is the Bodhisattva of compassion or mercy. A well-known figure in Buddhism. Compassion, a Buddhist virtue. As we are also not separate from other people, we can know sympathy or compassion. In Buddhism and in reality, both difference and equality (sameness) exist together in the present. Each person knows that they are different from other people, and this is important. It is also important to know that we are also the same as other people. Also, we are not separate from other people. And so we can know compassion or sympathy, as we are the same as other people.

'Deeply practicing the PRAJNAPARAMITA.' The word "prajnaparamita" means wisdom to cross over to the other shore. Cross over to the other shore of NIRVANA. Nirvana refers to a quiet condition. Nirvana is a little different from the idea of a heaven. Deeply practicing refers to our practice. Quiet practice and practice in activity.

'Saw that the five skandhas were all empty.' The five skandhas refers to all things. The first of the five skandhas refers to form, or matter. The other skandhas are perception, conception (ideas), volition (will), and consciousness. Once again form, perception, conception, volition, and consciousness. Avalokitesvara Bodhisattva practicing, saw that all things (the five skandhas) were void. Without ego-self, non-substantial, and impermanent. Seeing that all things were void, void of ego-self, and impermanent. Avalokitesvara Bodhisattva was saved. Or liberated from suffering. This means that not being unreasonably attached to things, there is some relief from suffering.

The text,

SATRIPUTRA, form is not different from emptiness, and emptiness does not differ from form. Form is emptiness, and emptiness is form. The same is true for perception, conception, volition, and consciousness.

SARIPUTRA is the disciple of Shakyamuni Buddha. 'Form is not different from emptiness, and emptiness does not differ from form. Form is emptiness and emptiness is form.' The void or emptiness refers to things as-they-are. The void does not refer to nothingness, or a barren desert, or to NIHILISM, denying all existence. This is not the void. The void or emptiness refers to all things as-they-are. Tables, chairs, our feelings, our ideas. Things as-they-are. And things are always changing. Things are impermanent. And things are without ego/self. The important point for us is that we should not become unreasonably attached to things, or unreasonably carried away by things. The same as Avalokitesvara Bodhisattva, we can also be liberated from suffering if we wisely practice. Living wisely in the present, in the Buddhist Way, we can be liberated from suffering. We can surely know some well-being in life. These words are saying, practice wisely, live wisely. Live with wisdom, and don't be carried away unreasonably by things, or by feelings, or by ideas, or by will, or by consciousness. Like this human beings can attain liberation. Not being carried away unreasonably. And do not get lost in emptiness.

Form is emptiness. Emptiness is form. Things in life also are important. Our food, clothing, housing, medicine, and various possessions are important to our well-being. Our ideas, our feelings, our will, are also important. For this reason, wisely living, or wisely practicing in the Middle Way like Avalokitesvara Bodhisattva is necessary for us.

The text,

All dharmas are forms of emptiness, not born, not destroyed, not defiled, not pure, not increasing, not decreasing.

All dharmas, the "dharma" here means things. All things have their existence in the present. Without ego/self, and impermanent, or changing. Things are just what they are. Tables, chairs, books, pens, our feelings, our ideas, and our will. Just as-they-are. These things as-they-are, are 'not born, not destroyed, not defiled, not pure, not increasing, not decreasing.' Things existing in the present, exist apart from these ideas (or duality) of born, destroyed, defiled, pure, increasing, decreasing. Things in the present have their reality or existence apart from these ideas. The important point for us is to practice wisely in the present. Then we can live wisely with all things, in the Middle Way. Without being unreasonably carried away by things, we can know well-being in life. For followers of the Way, we have the good fortune to meet with Buddhism. And we can practice and live in the Middle Way, where form and emptiness are not different. Some people not knowing the Way, and being attached, cause themselves much suffering. For example, nowadays, some people may be carried away by emptiness and ignorance, and use illegal drugs. Causing themselves many hardships. Other people may become carried away by greed or anger, as we often see reported in the newspapers. Or carried away by speeding automobiles, causing themselves and others, much suffering. However, followers of the Way are able to recognize that things are non-substantial and impermanent. And so we can practice in the way of wisdom, the same as Avalokitesvara Bodhisattva, and attain liberation.

The text,

Therefore, in emptiness there is no form, no perception, conception, volition, or consciousness. No eye, ear, nose, tongue, body, or mind. No sight, sound, smell, taste, touch, or dharma. No realm of sight… no realm of consciousness.

Once again, these words are spoken by a person who has attained liberation. These words are spoken from the result, by a person who has attained enlightenment. And these words are spoken for our benefit. These words are about things as-they-are. These words are about not being unreasonably attached.

'Therefore in emptiness (void), there is no form, perception, conception, volition or consciousness.' In emptiness refers to the present condition. For example, when we are drinking some good tea, or when we are eating some delicious food. At that time, we are not aware of form, perception, conception, volition, or consciousness. We are one with drinking tea. We are one with eating delicious food. And so there is just the drinking. Just the eating. Juts things as-they-are.

'No eye, ear, nose, tongue, body, or mind.' This means there is just the functioning. There is only the functioning of the senses. Functioning as-it-is. For example, when we are eating food or drinking tea. At this time, our tongue does not get in between, or cause obstruction to delicious food or to delicious tea. And so it is for the eye, ear, nose, tongue, body, and mind. There is only the functioning.

'No sight, sound, smell, taste, touch, or dharma.' These words mean that things we see, things we hear, things we smell, things we taste, things we feel, and thoughts, they do not stick or remain. With the natural functioning nothing sticks or remains. In Buddhism we often use the example of a mirror. A mirror reflects all objects, however, nothing remains in the mirror itself. There is only the functioning of the mirror. And for us, many things arise in consciousness, however, nothing sticks or remains. And so for human beings, we practice meditation, quiet practice, and practice in activity. And we can be liberated from unreasonable attachments which cause us hardships or sufferings in life. Overcoming all suffering is possible. Like Avalokitesvara Bodhisattva, once we practice, and we can attain liberation from unreasonable attachments. And emptiness or the void does not mean nothingness or a barren desert. Delicious tea is delicious. Delicious food is delicious. It is things just as-they-are.

'No realm of sight... No realm of consciousness.' No realm of sight refers to seeing as-it-is. The functioning of the eye is to see. However, things that we see do not stick in the eye. Things do not remain in the eye. And so it is with the realm of sound, smell, taste, touch, and consciousness. Things do not remain. In the natural functioning of the senses, things do not remain or stick. And so there is liberation.

The words of the Great Wisdom Heart Sutra have been recorded for our benefit. In order that we may know liberation. And if a person feels that perhaps some attachments still exist. Then we may practice. Our quiet practice and practice in activity. If we practice, surely, we can attain the same liberation as Avalokitesvara Bodhisattva, and overcome suffering. Here we will end today's talk. The first half of the Great Wisdom Heart Sutra explanation.

And I should explain that Buddhism and the Great Wisdom Heart Sutra, is a matter of reality. It is a matter of showing things as-they-are. It is not something created or different. As I often mention, I am hoping that with everyone's co-operation, Buddhism will spread and continue onward here. Happily, fortunately, there are many, many people here. And there is abundance, and relative peace. There are many opportunities here. And as Buddhism and the Way become known, many people, and young people will be influenced. Young people growing up and going to school may know of the Middle Way which benefits their lives, for well-being. And so they will know clearly that some mistaken habits such as the use of illegal drugs should be avoided. And that doing one's best, and following the Way, each person can know some well-being in life.